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The Journey Within


Pierce
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@Reno F That's a long story. Short version is that the negatives of doing ballroom were rapidly starting to outweigh the positives near the end of the semester. The good news is that I have a friend starting up a Latin dancing club next semester, so I plan on transitioning over to that.

 

As for today, I better start over the count again, I screwed up. No excuses. I'm just tired of it. Replacing addiction with the work I need to get done in school and outside of it is probably the most important aspect towards better my life right now, and the one that I fail on day after day. It feels like it's an unwinnable task; I'm certain it is winnable though. I've quit playing video games. Sure there are temptations occasionally, but I've quit them. If I can do that, why do I say that it's so impossible. If it's this important to me, then it's very possible. I'm done with being a screw-up, I'm ready to start doing things right. Those are just words right now, but I hope to see them become a reality.

How I can do better: I have a lot of free, unstructured time on the weekend that I need to plan out. Right after I'm finished with this post I want to plan out tomorrow, and make it a realistic plan. I also need to disassociate bad habits with the places where I try to get work done. If I'm going to do a relaxing or (in the worst case scenario) time-wasting activity I need to do it somewhere other than at my desk. Lastly, I need to have relaxing, non-internet related activities to turn to for breaks. I get burnt out if I just trying to put my nose to the grind stone without doing something easier when my mind resists. Far, far better to read a book than relapse, even if I'm putting my work aside.

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. I also need to disassociate bad habits with the places where I try to get work done. If I'm going to do a relaxing or (in the worst case scenario) time-wasting activity I need to do it somewhere other than at my desk. Lastly, I need to have relaxing, non-internet related activities to turn to for breaks. 

Hey Pierce, I support you! :)

What gaming-alternative activities most inspire you?

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@Pierce I have made it a goal to read one journal a day!

DING, DING, DING!  You are today's grand prize winner!  I have read your journal! :D   

  winner_md_clr.thumb.gif.8dc3b3c12b4dded1 

Man you are wicked hard on yourself! :(

Just a suggestion....  On your timer it would be helpful to me if you put that time is currently for not watching Youtube Videos about gaming.  What might be good for you and your readers is to also include a timer for your amount of time away from gaming...

You have had some wonderful successes!

I love to dance.  Salsa, Meringa, Combia (spelling) lol   I have to admit those are my favorite. :)  I think it would be fun to learn how to Tango!

Just a thought have you tried keeping track of how many hours a day you beat yourself up?  I bet you could save about 10 hours a day not doing that!

Oh have you tried this book? Like Water for Chocolate Just a good read. :D

Also, I think a big lure that games have for me is the social aspect.  Seems almost every activity other than dancing or journaling here that you have chosen is solitary...   Might be something there.

Edited by dandielionous
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@Jaydarian I appreciate the support! When I'm at home I read (mainly non-fiction, but some fiction). On campus I hang out with friends and frequently go out dancing on the weekend. As you can tell, I currently don't have a lot of non-gaming hobbies, but I'm trying to cultivate the few I have.

@dandielionous Thanks for reading my journals! I know it can be pretty scattered at times, especially since I was writing as thoughts came into my head. The timer idea is great and I'll start with this journal.

As for being hard on myself, I love hearing other perspectives, but I find myself not being strict enough. It's embarrassing to admit this, but I failed two courses this semester due to my habit of being on the internet instead of studying. By keeping myself held to a high standard of accountability I hope to overcome my fear of the discomfort that studying brings and start succeeding in college. So far this strategy has allowed me to quit gaming for as long as I have on this streak. I do try to avoid beating myself up, and the vast majority of the time have a very optimistic attitude, but I do get discouraged sometimes by all the times I mess up. I try to learn from my mistakes and move on when that happens. Anyway, feel free to post suggestions if you have a better method in mind than what I have been using, your opinion is valued here.

Lastly, the bit about social activity is also worth speaking on. I don't have a car and am limited to meeting friends when I'm on campus or when they pick me up, so I don't have too many options. As for actually having friends, this is also difficult to mention, but I don't have too many solid ones which is why I'm quite often solitary. That's part of my journey right now, learning to trust and open up to others after all of the friends that I've lost over the years. Dancing has been my primary way of overcoming that, and I'm excited to learn the three styles you mentioned above in my friend's Latin dancing club. I just came from a ballroom club and can tell you that Tango is definitely all it's cracked up to be, though I personally enjoyed Rumba even more. Also, thanks for the book recommendation :) .

125 Days w/o Gaming, 1 Day w/o YouTube

I'm back in the saddle. I read Dune most of this morning and have otherwise been doing lots of chores. Since I'm on break I don't have actual "studying", but I have a book on calculus I've been going through to try to build up that habit even during this time. I don't think I even read a page of it, even though I scheduled in the time for it last night. I'm thinking the core of my problems may not be video games/the internet, but maybe it has to do with why I am so adverse to studying. I honestly don't understand it, because I genuinely do enjoy many of these subject. I think it's a case of hedonia: wanting a short-term reward instead of focusing on a long-term goal.

I was texting a friend last night and she was concerned at how few short-term goals I have to look forward to. She sensed that I wasn't happy in life, and while this isn't always the case, that's frequently true. I'm just tired of screwing up and tired of being on my own. The difference in perspective is that she and many other people I've spoken to believe the solution is to focus more on short term pleasures or by lowering my goals to more easily attainable things. That may make me happy for a time, but I've tried both of those and I'm ultimately unfulfilled. I told her that true happiness comes from within, something that one can have only through being at peace with himself/herself. That's the problem, I have trouble being at peace with myself when I'm stumbling on the path towards my goals. It's like the Devil's Snare in the first Harry Potter movie, where the key to freeing yourself from the plant comes from not struggling. I need to be at peace with myself first, and from there I can work towards accomplishing my goals. I need euthymia.

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true" - Anonymous.

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Thanks @Tatu92 and @dandielionous! Having you all to support me has really helped in getting here.

126 Days w/o Gaming, 2 Days w/o YouTube

Simple summary of the day: read a lot of Dune (and a little of the Calculus book), got a couple chores done, lifted weights, spoke with a few strangers while waiting and riding on the bus, and even helped someone find their stray dog, so I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. Also, reading fiction is definitely a good replacement activity for online entertainment, but I'm thinking that I need to branch out and make sure I'm going out and doing things with friends next semester.

On that note, it's been really bugging me that my friend was right when she sensed that I wasn't happy with this stage in my life. I have so many good things going for me. Yeah, my grades and lack of close friends are a problem, but I'm taking proactive steps towards preparing for next semester. Besides, happiness is an internal choice, not an external circumstance. The bottom line is that we choose whether we are going to be happy or not. I haven't been looking at the root of the problem. Thinking that quitting video games/youtube will help me reach my goals and be happy has it all backwards. Being happy will help me quit my bad habits, will allow me to get better grades, and will enable me to be a better friend. 

My focus for the next month is to choose to be more positive minded. My prediction is that I'll be consistent with my other goals (to reiterate: spend less time online, prepare for school more, and have more quality interactions with other people) if I am consistent in this focus.

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The bottom line is that we choose whether we are going to be happy or not. I haven't been looking at the root of the problem. Thinking that quitting video games/youtube will help me reach my goals and be happy has it all backwards. Being happy will help me quit my bad habits, will allow me to get better grades, and will enable me to be a better friend. 

Yep! Happiness is making the choice in the moment. No goal or destination will make you happy, because there will simply always be another goal or destination to achieve.

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@Cam Adair "Happiness is a journey, not a destination; happiness is to be found along the way not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it's too late. The time for happiness is today not tomorrow." - Paul Dunn

127 Days w/o Gaming, 3 Days w/o YouTube

I'm starting to get the hang of this studying thing, though my strategy is a bit unconventional, xD. I start studying Calculus until I get burnt out, then move on to some physics, then Anatomy, then repeat; if I get burnt out from all three I read Dune for a bit and then jump back into it. I was actually enjoying getting work done, rather than trying to sneak onto the internet on the first possible opportunity. Speaking of Dune, it was hard to set it down today and is where I spent most of my time. Books are easily superior to video games if you find the right one. I have yet to hear of a video game that can come even close to the world crafting of Frank Herbert or Tolkien.

The other thing I did today was meeting a friend for dinner. We spoke further on the topic of the transience of most friendships, "fair-weather friendships" she called them, and we came to a lot of good conclusions. Bottom line is, one cannot have the quantity or quality of one's friends be a major determining factor for his or her happiness (to continue yesterdays thoughts on the matter). I was happy today because I was satisfied both when on my own and with my friend. Even when there were snags in both situations, I was still at peace because the peace came from within Furthermore, having many friends is great, and having quality friends is incredibly important, but both will increase when one is grounded himself/herself. 

I want to end this post with a quote from one of my favorite people, "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." - Marcus Aurelius

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128 Days w/o Gaming, 4 Days w/o YouTube

I was on the road almost all of yesterday driving to visit relatives, so I'm going to retroactively post for the day to keep the chain going (Jerry Seinfeld's #1 advice: never break the chain). I had a lot of time to read and think since my parents drove most of the way. I'm still trying to maintain a positive attitude, because my number one detractor throughout my life has been my own mind. I don't know when that habit developed, or when it came back in force in the last few months, but I plan on stopping it here.

As I think about it, I believe a lot of it comes from a sense of entitlement. Entitlement to friends, success in school, easy success in the habits I build and the interests I pick up. Silly thinking. I let go of those expectations, and do continue to strive towards my goals, but enjoy the moment whether I am in adversity or clear waters. In fact, adversity makes me strong, and therefore the time I am in is something I should truly appreciate.

I overlook this all too often, but every moment is miraculous. Being alive, being surrounded by incredible senses, experiences, and people. It's in moments like these that I can see the folly of negative thoughts. We are surrounded by positivity and beauty, and we only need to be open enough to it to take it in. Maintaining that attitude will be the key to safeguarding my joy.

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129 Days w/o Gaming, 5 Days w/o YouTube

It's good to be away from home and with relatives. Talking with them has been great, and in my free time I've continued to read a lot. More and more I'm building the habit of reading, which is far more useful than anything electronic entertainment could provide. I'm actually learning things, increasing my knowledge and my perspective on the world. I'm also building a greater work ethic, and am slowly progressing towards the goals that were stalling out before I started on this detox.

Furthermore, I've been thinking more about what I said concerning happiness this morning. I found myself stalling out in my outlook this afternoon, feeling disconnected from humanity and very unhappy with myself. I chose to fully live in the moment and push the negative thoughts of the past and the worries of the future away. As I lived in the here and now I connected with the universe and was fully content. Nothing else matters other than making the fullest of the time I have now. The only way I can become the person I want to be is by putting one foot in front of another. To Pluto with the past.

Three quotes from Seneca to ponder: "A man is as miserable as he thinks he is." "True happiness is ... to enjoy the present, without anxious thought of the future." "If you wished to be loved, love."

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130 Days w/o Gaming, 6 Days w/o YouTube

I enjoyed the challenge of today, because my joy was put to the test multiple times. I don't want to be overly verbose here, but they involved being able to mitigate negativity both within and without. I am getting stronger in being able to defend myself against these attacks. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. My only wish is that I could get more of my work done, but that drive too may be an enemy if it is not tempered.

One more thing: I was thinking last night about how all too often I fall into the trap of trying to be the "nice guy" and give way too others expectations. Compassion is one of my three core values, but I've come to discover that I can do so much more towards that end by being authentic. I'm tired of trying to be what others want me to be. The best thing I can do for both myself and for the world is to become who I have set out to be. I have faced some setbacks in the past, and even today, trying to do that, but I know that this is the best path.

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131 Days w/o Gaming, 7 Days w/o YouTube

This trip to see relatives has definitely been a good idea. It's helped me reset from my bad habits and start developing a lot of good ones. My positive attitude is being rebuilt piece by piece, my ability to have mutually meaningful interactions with others is coming back, and I'm becoming more focused about school. Particularly on that last point, I'm excited about the challenge of next semester. I have a chance to learn the habit of excellence. I might of said this in a previous post, but here it is again: I've struggled with math since I was in middle school, and it's exciting to have a chance to prove to myself that I'm "just not good at math" is a false excuse, when I take Calculus I. I've been studying the history behind it and a lot of the terms, and it has been very interesting. As far as concepts go, even the beginning ones look like some ancient indecipherable language to me. Still, I feel a sense of urgency to change that before classes begin, and I wholeheartedly believe I will succeed in doing so. 

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam." I will either find a way or make one. -Hannibal

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Great to hear you're getting a lot from your visit. It sounds like you're getting more focused in the new environment. 

Also, I can relate to the nice-guy issue. I too am acutely aware of other people's needs, but often find that other's are not as acutely in tune to mine. I've noticed this pattern through out my dealings with people. 

Enjoy the rest of your holidays Pierce

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@dandielionous It is, but I will make calculus my friend. I've been trying to cling to my Calculus for The Utterly Confused book, which ironically still confuses more (and I chose it over Calculus for Dummies, which also ironically, was too advanced for me). I'm going to ace it though, because I'm enjoying the challenge.

@Tatu92 A really wise guy commented earlier in my journal (@tirEdOrange) that one can best help others when he primarily is focused on developing his own life, and then invites others into it. It's advice I try to remember. Enjoy your holiday too!

132 Days w/o Gaming, 8 Days w/o YouTube

Today was definitely a challenge to stay authentic and maintain my joy, with all of the politics of trying to please my relatives. On the flip side, it was incredible to be with them and focus on friends and family throughout the day. Likewise, I was a bit nervous when I remembered that the relatives I'm staying with tonight were big gamers and would have an unattended Xbox near my room. I'm staying vigilant, but my fears have been unfounded so far; I've mainly been speaking with my cousins about non-gaming hobbies they have, and one of them was teaching me a lot about how computer programming works. Vita bona est - Life is good.

 

Edited by Pierce
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Lingua Latina bona est :)

(Btw. shouldn't it be correct with the form "Vita bona est"? Just want to make sure :) )

You're overcoming your fear of relapse, that's seriously good and useful skill you should develop! :)

Greetings, Mad Pharmacist

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@hycniejsy Thanks for the support! As for the Latin, I was looking at the ole' declension charts last night after a long time of neglect, and you're absolutely right that bona is feminine. I've gotten very rusty.

133 Days w/o Gaming, 9 Days w/o YouTube

The mind is a battlefield. On the one side there are positive thoughts moving us towards our goals one step at a time, and on the other there are negative thoughts that are reminding us of haunting memories from the past or of daunting challenges in the future. Moving on from the past is a major theme as I am rebuilding my positive attitude. On the flip side, I was able to see just a positive attitude can achieve. I visited a cousin who is an incredibly talented electrician, and hearing about his work ethic and aptitude for math were incredibly inspiring. If he can have success in pursuing his dreams, so can I.

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Hello!

@hycniejsy Thanks for the support! As for the Latin, I was looking at the ole' declension charts last night after a long time of neglect, and you're absolutely right that bona is feminine. I've gotten very rusty.

Well, many things in Polish comes from Latin (we have 7 cases of noun and also 3 types for nouns/adjectives), so I have constant repetition! :)

133 Days w/o Gaming, 9 Days w/o YouTube

The mind is a battlefield. On the one side there are positive thoughts moving us towards our goals one step at a time, and on the other there are negative thoughts that are reminding us of haunting memories from the past or of daunting challenges in the future. Moving on from the past is a major theme as I am rebuilding my positive attitude. On the flip side, I was able to see just a positive attitude can achieve. I visited a cousin who is an incredibly talented electrician, and hearing about his work ethic and aptitude for math were incredibly inspiring. If he can have success in pursuing his dreams, so can I.

Not only mind is a battlefield. The whole life is.

You can think positive only if you choose it.

There are also little steps that can help you in that.

One of it (science proves it!) is to sit in front of the mirror and smile to yourself for 60 seconds during morning.

Try it for a month and tell me if it works! I do it for a long time so can you.

Greetings, Mad Pharmacist

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@hycniejsy Life is a battlefield. I'll have to try that tip about smiling; it seems very simple, yet powerful.

@Cam Adair I like that quote a lot. Build the positive and the negative will go away.

134 Days w/o Gaming, 10 Days w/o YouTube

Some of my other family arrived today, and it was a really great experience to take it easy and joke around with them. I've spent most of the day talking with relatives, and haven't gotten much reading or math done otherwise; that's been good though. I can't think of a more important task right now than to spend time with family. Everything else can wait, it'll work out, but it's time to embrace the present moment. In fact, it's always time to embrace the present moment, but in this time specifically the planners and goals need to be put away for a time.

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Hey, Pierce,

I noticed that you were a vet and that you've also stopped watching youtube, one of my goals too. I just started both about 5 days ago. I'm an 18 year old college student from NYC.

What are some of the best pieces of advice you've received to stop gaming? How have you stopped watching youtube?

Thanks.

Best,

Luxo

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Hey Luxo! I first off want to congratulate you for trying to quit both of those distractions so early on your college career (I'm guessing from your age that you're a freshman). You're off to a great start already, and I'm excited for you on the journey you've embarked on. I bet that in one year you're going to see tremendous results.

The best advice I've received on why I should quit gaming came from my Latin teacher in my sophomore year of high-school. He had just graduated from college, so he was fairly close to my age, and he had played a lot of video games as a kid. He overheard some of us talking about the subject and said something like this, "If you took all of the time you spent playing video games, and instead put it towards learning skills, you could go on more incredible adventures than your video games characters, but in real life. If you were to put all of that time into learning martial arts, marksmanship, survival training, etc. you would become more powerful than the character you play on the screen." When he said that, it instantly clicked. I saw the life he lived (he was just about the coolest teacher you could get), and I envisioned the life that could be for me, and I was sold. Yeah, I've fallen out of the saddle over and over and over, but remembering that is what keeps me getting up each time. The longer I remember my purpose, the longer I succeed.

YouTube has been much harder, because in the past I would go on YouTube to avoid relapsing into gaming if I had an intense craving to game. Now that I've quit gaming for so long I have a much better chance to peel back this layer of the onion of addictive behaviors. I wholeheartedly believe you can quit both at the same time though, and wish I had not used that as a crutch in the past (it's pretty close to being just as destructive as video games). I've been successful with YouTube by filling my free time with better activities. I study useful subjects, either for fun or for my classes next semester, and gain more enjoyment from them than other mindless media. For example, I've lately been having a lot of fun doing math problems on Khan Academy, because there is a sense of challenge and progress. I'm also trying to develop a case of what I jokingly refer to as, "pathological reading". If I have any down time at all I try to sink my nose into a book, preferably non-fiction, but there's no shame in fiction either. Lastly, it's true that you need a reward system, something to look forward to. I avoided this practice in the past, because I noticed that many people indulge a different bad habit (frequently food) as the reward. My choice is to go out and do something active and preferably social. This could be as simple as going to take a walk to as complex as going on a camping tip with friends. Having these things to look forward to definitely help, and the reminder you that YouTube is a silly waste of time.

Hope that helps and best of luck. Let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.

135 Days w/o Gaming, 11 Days w/o YouTube

What a surreal day. I feel like only a few hours worth of activities have occurred today, and yet the day is over already. Still, in the time that has passed it's been a good day.

I had a chance to see Rogue One with my cousins, but decided to skip. I went to the library and read books with my dad instead. Strange choice, I know, but I feel at peace with it. I rarely get to see my cousins, but spending that time in front of a screen didn't feel like the right way to honor time with them (and yet I am in front of a screen now; it's very easy to see my double-standard). I planned on taking them out dancing tonight, since they've never done that, but they both bailed as the time started approaching. That was a bit of a let down, especially since that meant that I wouldn't have a ride there and would need to stay home, but I quickly became at peace with it. I believe it is foolish to make one's own happiness dependent on the actions of others. What this scenario did do, was bring about was bad memories (or more accurately, I allowed my mind to bring them up). I haven't posted about this before, but it really hurt when I quit ballroom. It's long story why I left, but it was becoming a toxic environment. Leaving definitely felt like the right thing to do, but it hurt (and still does) to think of the loss of relationships that won't carry over into this next phase in my life. I'm trying to find a new social group to replace that one, since the last one really helped me to get out of my comfort zone and have lots of quality interactions with others. I'm hoping my friend's latin dancing club will be good fit, but I'll need to otherwise be on the lookout for other activities as a back up. On the bright side, I'm being more proactive about this challenge now that it is in the forefront of my mind, and have already been thinking of these activities.

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