Motivation

I didn’t publish any posts this weekend.

Instead, I chose to immerse myself in moments.

I think I won’t publish from now on between Friday and Sunday.

I need these moments.

Because these moments allow me to immerse myself in myself so that the writing during the weekdays can be better.

They allow me to live a better life.

They allow me to explore.

And discover the things that need changing.

I wanted to write daily, but it’s simply unsustainable with the amount of work I have to do.

For that, I am sorry.

But the writing will be better this way.

And (I think) it’s only for now.

 

 

Success comes from talent, luck, and grit. You can’t control talent. But with enough grit, you might make your own luck. So keep at it if you think you’ve got a shot. And remember, sometimes the best things come when you least expect them.

41vGBwZh0-L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_In college, I had the privilege of becoming an honors student in my department. Perhaps the greatest reward this offered was the opportunity to take a doctoral-level course. We studied Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America for four months.

My most affecting experience in that class was when I uttered the following sentence:

“I believe in doubt.”

It remains striking to this day because I was soon laughed and scoffed at. I was told, “You can’t believe in doubt!”

But you can; I know, because I do.

Here’s why: a quote in an old book called Morals and Dogma. It’s a tough read and a bit out there for most. But this quote is so important:

Doubt, the essential preliminary of all improvement and discovery. Knowledge is always imperfect … discovery multiplies doubt and doubt leads on to new discovery. The boast of science is not so much its manifested results, as its admitted imperfection and capacity of unlimited progress. The true religious philosophy of an imperfect being is not a system of creed, but, as Socrates thought, an infinite search or approximation. Finality is but another name for bewilderment or defeat.

We don’t know. And usually, the more we know, the more we feel like we don’t know.

As we get older, some of us get set in our ways. We grow prideful and start to say to ourselves, “I have amassed so much knowledge and experience, how could I not be right?”

But in reality, we probably got it wrong about a lot of things.

It’s absurd to think we’ve got the answers. The human race is so young, and the age of information has just begun.

So don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers yet; you probably never will, my friend.

And that’s okay because that uncertainty is how we progress.

 

enormoussmallness5

An illustration from Enormous Smallness, a biography about E.E. Cummings, an inspiring hoper

I’m stressed
Overworked and just a mess
I like to practice mental rest
Mindfulness to soothe distress
I’d like to write, read many books, and plan for tests

And plan for papers

And plan for work

And plan for plans so I can practice mental rest

But I’m upset
I’d like to explore and play and swim and joke and snort
And cuddle in a pillow fort

But I’m pressed for time
There’s much to do
Seriousness about hullabaloo

People in charge have decided that funs too fun
And, “Well, there’s a time for that”
It’s set for seven; haven’t you looked?
It’s there within our discipline book

You’re grown now, after all
If you’re to succeed, you must learn to settle with less
What’s all this with creative work, sincerity, and imagination?

Don’t you know the worlds at war?
Our nation’s facing several disgraces
Don’t you know there are czars and greed?
Don’t you know you there are drunks in bars and poverty,
Anxiety, and people in the streets with no food to eat?
Responsibility means you must pursue industry

Adults show up, despite disease
You’ve committed; our society requires you to be
Tired and buttoned-down – to the tee
Speaking of, have you practiced your golf swing?
You’ll need to if you will compete most effectively

Be grateful, it once was worse
Children had to work and didn’t learn
And hours lasted and smoke would burn in city streets

You see: the world is unkind
People lie and care for their lives
They forget they’re kids inside
And choose to hide behind a role that they decide

It’s confusing, I know; I feel it too

And what are we to do?

There’s a secret thing
I’m so happy to share with you:
Don’t listen to those authorities

It’s scary, I know, but success just needs faith and hope

Don’t sacrifice who you are inside
To be a part of something that makes people mope

Hear your heart and help your friends
You might need to plan now and then

But it’s okay to take the time for jokes and snorts and pillow forts

And live your life
Don’t give it up; just keep focus
Practice your passion and commit some time
You might fail but eventually you’ll notice

You’ve built a life you love
And the dreams people told you to believe were true
They were just a bit tough
There’s no right answer
So don’t worry, keep going, and do what’s right for you

Sorry for posting so late in the day, friends. I hope I haven’t lost your trust much.

I got caught up with living, and I completely forgot to write!

I want to share something a bit more personal with you: the things that I’m working on to be a better person right now. I’m sharing it because I’d like for you to know more about me. But if you find them inspiring, that’s great! I have a note pinned to the home screen of my Android phone to remind me regularly of the habits I’m trying to adjust.

All of them need work, but I can tell I’m getting better at them a little bit each and every day.

They are:

  • No social media (Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook) – This is one that I am not even close to ironing out, but it’s something worth striving for. And I can tell I’ve gotten much better.
  • Be patient, no frustration – There’s almost never any reason to get frustrated or angry. This is something I’ve nearly completed. I slip up once every three months or so. I quickly catch myself, though, and take a step back.
  • Talk little about yourself, be positive – I think a lot of folks have a tendency to talk about themselves or talk about negative things. They say what they don’t like and criticize others. Talking less about yourself makes you a more interesting person to others and being positive is just a good thing to do. It makes for a happier life.
  • No meat – I’m a vegetarian. I choose to not eat meat because it’s better for my health and the planet. Also, so many animals get treated poorly, and it’s hard to be a mindful consumer by avoiding purchasing from unethical farmers. But I do eat fish occasionally, particularly on days when I haven’t been able to get enough protein consumption.
  • Listen actively – This goes along with talking little about myself. So often we listen to respond. By keeping an open mind and avoiding asking ourselves what we’ll say next while someone is talking, we’re enabled to connect more deeply.
  • Be confident, don’t care – I have a tendency to care too much about what others think. I think the coolest people and the best leaders are folks who are just themselves.
  • Everyone is hungry for hope and encouragement – This isn’t a habit, but it’s in the note. I list it to have a regular reminder that, despite the cynicism I might feel sometimes about the world, everyone is just getting by and is imperfect. It also reminds me of the importance of creating art that feeds that need instead of contributes to the starvation.
  • Get feedback – Asking for feedback from people you trust can be tough. It might cause you to hear some uncomfortable things. But frequent feedback (particularly of the bold sort) is necessary to live a well informed, good life.
  • Meet people where they’re at – I have a tendency to go off the deep end with folks. While chatting with acquaintances I might start talking about intrinsic goals, dreams, and philosophy. I have to remind myself that a lot of people don’t like talking about that stuff, so before I get into a deep conversation, I should try to see where they’re at in their life.
  • Self-care – Enough said. My happiness needs to come before all else. I regularly ask myself, “What does a perfect day look like?” And I try to do the activities I describe in the response to that question as often as possible.

There are other parts of my life I’m working on besides what’s listed. For example, striving for creative and territorial thinking over competitive and hierarchical thinking; being more romantic, friendly, and kind; and taking myself less seriously.

I probably shouldn’t be doing so much, but for some reason, I’m not satisfied doing less.

 

Western Civilization

Western Civilizations, 2009 – Brian Dettmer

It’s all fun and games,
Until someone grows up
Then come the anxiety, neurosis,
Man’s rivalries
We crave love.
Escape the pain
Through video games, drugs, and the LA dynasty;
It starts to feel like it’s not enough.
Hype beasts and iconography give rise
To champagne idolatry
Try to stay tough.

Self-will and good books
Overcome our Byzantine ivory
Scared they won’t accept us.

Those authorities, so sure,
Standing upon divers of mighty degrees –
Lending credibility
Ego fuels the corrupt.
The devil’s a good effigy to enforce our morality
Muster the force to speak up.

Or bury our greed and deplete our license with lies
It’s fine. It’s all right.
True, most of us just get by,
Craving comfort and love.

Art serves to shine a light on humankind;
It can unite or divide, destroy or inspire
Hacks trade what’s right to serve their own devices

There’s a thin line between connection and good service
When you’ve ignored the voice in your heart
And live in comfort despite those hurting,
Ask yourself, “Was it worth it?”

It seems like we used to do a lot more talking about how the grass only seems greener on the other side.

Maybe it’s overplayed.

But social media has made it so easy to compare yourself to others that it’s worth regular reminders.

Your self-worth, social standing, and reputation is absolutely unrelated to the amount of likes you get.

Spend your mental energy cultivating meaningful relationships.

It’ll pay much greater dividends in the long-term.