There are times when even that which is most important to us in our lives can feel devoid of meaning.
I know for me, starting, and then continuing a job remotely has been an immense challenge.
So I suppose this is a reminder, if nothing else, to myself:
The amount of effort you put into a task determines the value.
I think in most cases, it’s not even so important what you’re doing, so much as how.
Most people who are successful, whatever you take that to mean, are in my mind successful not because they did the right thing (very few people can ever tell what that is anyways), but because they did what they were doing the right way. Do that long enough, and eventually you’re going to wind up doing the right thing, and doing it in the right way. There’s very little, if any control, over whether what we are doing is the right thing to do. To a degree, we can tell what the wrong things are, and thus choose something that seems pretty close to our interests. However, what makes x more right than y? Wouldn’t z be better?
However, we have full control over how we do whichever x y or z we’ve come to.
That being said – even though I feel like I am well aware of this, I find myself inevitably searching for new and better whats and running from the hows.
The path to happiness lies in the latter though, or at least in letting the hows guide you to new whats.
The Problem With Blogs
The problem with blogs is often that one writes them with the expectation that people will read them.
And even worse, sometimes with the goal of more readership.
This is counter to the notion of journaling – writing for the process of writing itself.
Of course it’s not always so black and white, but there is a lot to be said for what the act of writing and what it brings you in and of itself.
A recent podcast episode (Tim Ferris Show) I was listening to with Richard Koch mentioned this. When asked about what tricks, tips, methods he has to keeping track of how and what he’s doing, he mentioned that while he doesn’t do the usual therapy or ultra health route, he employs two methods. 1. Bike Rides in the morning. 2. Taking a journal and writing reflections at a nearby pond; also journaling when waking up at night.
With both of these, he is pointing out something I’ve always been fascinated with – the natural, organic flow of your mind and heart should they be given the right environment.
To tie things together – it’s not about thinking the right thought and writing the right word – but providing your mind with the right environment for it to naturally work things out for you, in the midst of all its subconscious and unconscious processes.
So for whatever reason, this is what I’ve been reflecting on the last month.
I feel like I’ve lost my self discipline. And I’d been trying to regain it by force, but not through nurturing it, not through trusting my mind to work through things.
But really, perhaps I just stopped doing all of the things that allow the creative, motivational, happiness, whatever other juices, to flow.
Perhaps that’s all you really need to do. Recognize that which gets you in your flow. Puts you in your element.
They’re not the easy things necessarily.
But nothing that’s worth having comes easy.
And conversely, joy is not manifested through force of will.
So let’s bring it back.
It’s all about how, not what.
The tricky part is in determining the right (subjective) way of doing things.
While the answer to this is obviously dependent on the person, their personality and preferences, the way of building habits around those is often impossible without involving other people in the process.
Surround yourself with people that encourage you to keep the habits that are really good for you, and spend less time with the people that bring out your less healthy or productive tendencies.
One of the best ways to do this is to collaborate.
Over the 6 months I’ve been in unexpected isolation at home in the States, I’ve gone from letting go of just about every hobby, to slowly building them back up again as I see fit.
Every time I’ve met hardship in my life this has been my process, and it always leads to a new chapter of life.
During this time, I’ve started doing weekly talks with my friend about religion and philosophy, which has bolstered not only my feeling of connection and closeness, but my study of those topics which have been so central to my life. We pretty much alternate discussing the western and eastern spheres, my area of expertise being the latter.
Though I’ve been studying programming on my own the last two months, I’m going to dive into freecodecamp with my brother from this week on, and I can’t wait. Discipline and joy lead to the best kind of success.
Something else that has become a core part of my life is running every day, for joy and for challenge. I make sure I do this every day (discipline) but the distance that really feels good so as not to push it, and to make sure I’m running because I enjoy it, not for the numbers.
Areas I’m still struggling with are: sleep schedule, time management with free time and with productive time, balance of current projects and exploring prospects for the future, maintaining a steady flow of video/photo production while stuck in one place.
If there’s something you’re struggling with, identify it. Then create a discussion with someone. Often just this process is enough to get it at the forefront of your subconscious, and the process will carry on naturally from there.
For the trickier (and often productive) areas, maintain that balance of discipline and joy, of structure and freedom. In the isolated world, this is the hardest thing at all.
But in the end, even though we are all on our own right now, we all really are in this together, and are all interconnected and there for each other.