Good Morning, World 🙂
You’re doing a great job. I know it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, but you really are. Life isn’t easy. Unexpected obstacles occur, and we don’t always handle them in the most productive way.
You showed up today, didn’t you? You’re still here, still trying, still putting your shoulder to the wheel. That counts for something.
As you may have supposed, I had a rough night last night. It is a breach of good taste to discuss one’s personal problems in a public forum, so I will refrain from chewing them over here.
Instead, I will think about just how fortunate I am to have the chance to overcome the challenge before me today, which is, as ever, as always, to focus.
It is tempting to throw up my hands and say “Fuck it, I’m taking today off” and not work on my outline, but I’m not going to do that because
No one feels perfect every day.
This is the attitude that separates the hobbyist from the professional: I don’t get to work on the projects at hand when I feel like it. I have to take a deep breath, center my thoughts, and focus my efforts on my long term goals, bit by bit, piece by piece. I must maintain my creative output, because goddamn it, creating is what I do.
This isn’t easy.
One of my many personality flaws is my incredible lack of focus. I have the attention span of a gnat. The world is an endlessly fascinating place with so many dazzling components to explore, and I feel like my brain is continually jolting from side to side like a bag of popcorn in the microwave.
We live in an amazing universe.
We are always a few clicks away from discovering something incredible, and it’s so easy to get swept up in something for minutes, hours, days… Weeks, months, years…
… On skills, discoveries, and imaginative peregrinations that will not yield results.
On top of this, I’m befuddled with post-argument jitters, anger, and sleeplessness. I have every excuse to take the day off, but I’m not going to. I would rather use today as an opportunity to make myself proud, rather than go to bed knowing that I shied away from my responsibilities as a writer, and once again found a reason not to achieve everything that I am capable of.
I hate wasted days. They are led weights on my shoulders. I’ve frittered away enough time with my inability to pursue my goals successfully, and if I can just keep at it, no matter how much it sucks sometimes, I will get somewhere.
You know what’s funny? For most of my life, I’ve been low in trait conscientiousness (if this sounds like gibberish, google the “Big five personality traits.”)
My inability to concentrate dashed my tendency toward perfectionism, and completely destroyed my ability to fulfill the micro-tasks that would eventually see my ambitions through.
I was good at cultivating my talent in whatever creative domain I applied myself to, but this is only because I have the tendency to become totally and completely obsessed with my interests to the neglect of everything else.
This is not conscientiousness. This is not dutifulness. This is not self-discipline, willpower, or an admirable work ethic.
But I’ve come a long way in learning how to become conscientious. Don’t believe me? Look at my bedroom. It’s been clean for over a year, I shit you not; it smells like the mint essential oil and lemon juice with which I mopped it, not fuzzy dishes and mold spores. I keep a daily to-do list. I use google calendar. I’ve even finished the first drafts of two books, and have another one on the way. I’m making progress, I’m getting somewhere, and while I’m not always consistent in my daily efforts, I’m getting steadily more consistent every day.
So that’s why I’m not taking today off.
I want to feel proud of myself.
I want to know that by the end of the day, I worked my ass off even when the only thing I wanted to do was binge-watch some youtube videos and sleep. I don’t just want to feel tired; I want to feel exhausted. I want to know that I bled my heart into this keyboard even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. In the words of the ultra endurance athlete David Goggins, who said, upon finishing a 207 mile marathon for two days straight, “Just let me sit back and enjoy this pain.”
I want to feel the pain of hard work, so that I may enjoy the pleasure of success.
Then I want to work some more.
Have a great Tuesday, guys.
Suffer for something.
P.S. Rest in Peace, victims of 911. We will never forget.