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The Journey Within

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Posted

Love that work as a jealous lady analogy. As for your internet usage, have you considered using Stayfocusd? Its a chrome app that blocks certain websites (examples are youtube, and social media) after spending some time on them. I reccomend it if you browse the web more than you would like to admit, but considering your work acheived that may not be the case. The truth is no matter how productive and successful we as humans are, there's always a part of us that wishes to embrace lazyness. As for your relationship life, have you considered taking this "certain single lady" out for lunch, or spending more time with her? I know that's a lot to ask for since your time in a day is very limeted but, if you see her (is she in your dance sessions?) try to speak to her more. I know the timing may not be right, but also take into consideration, what is a good time to begin with. Hope that helps, I'm no ladies man, I just know how to communicate with people. Honestly though, it would appear you are superior in giving advice :). Best of luck for the next day.

@TheBroMoe Thanks for the advice man, and I hope that analogy helps you as much as it has helped me, haha. I do have StayFocusd, and you are probably right that I should use it more. The reason I don't is that I know that if I don't have the drive to stay focused on my own, my productivity levels will dip either way and I'll find some other way to distract myself. I think an external aid can help with building good habits without expending one's precious willpower, so this is definitely something I should consider more seriously.

As for the lady, I did meet her through our mutual love of dance, which has been a great way for us to get to know each other. I'm completely with you in the philosophy of, "if you think there's a good chance your feelings are mutual, just go out there and ask her on a friggin' date!" I met with her after we went out dancing one night in June and I told her how I felt, but I also expressed that I cared about our friendship first and foremost. She definitely saw potential between us, but wanted to wait because she's still figuring out a lot more of the details in her own life philosophy, and she also wants to find  more emotional stability within herself before getting into anything serious. A very important positive is that our friendship has grown even stronger because of this talk (as emotionally honesty usually does, especially when everyone is mature about it), but it also means that the ball is in her court. On account of this, I choose to do something that I've needed to do anyway for a long time: working on becoming emotionally independent. In any relationship, whether romantic or platonic, I would like to be in control of my own happiness and fulfillment. For this specific example this means that whether we just stay friends or choose to move further, I will be completely content with myself and will just be grateful for having known her and everyone else that I have crossed paths with in my life. Easier said than done though, but now is as good a time to work on that outlook as any.

As for your advice, don't cut yourself short, you give fantastic advice! You have a unique perspective that no one else has, and that's valuable. Any (subjectively, haha) good advice I give comes from my unique perspective, frequently forged through mistakes I have made, or from what others have taught me. Thanks for your comment and encouragement.

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Posted

Day 20

Every semester at my college (including summer) is scheduled so that there is a three day weekend after the first week of school. This is a great strategy, because it gives students an extra cushion to prepare after getting their initial workload. To the best of my memory, not counting my first semester of freshman year, I have squandered all of these three day weekends on video games or gaming related videos. My goal for this weekend is to break that trend and do something productive instead, and we'll find out on Monday night whether I succeeded.

Not the best start this morning, since I slept in to help my sickness, and sleeping in almost always leads to a slow start. It wasn't until later in the day that I hit my stride. At around noon I knew I needed to start reading my textbooks and getting ahead for the coming week. I didn't come even close to the goals I set for the day, but I have a decent start. At the very least, I'm glad I didn't relapse because it was very tempting to on a lazy Saturday morning. Looking at the day in retrospect, reading my Invertebrate Zoology textbook has been much more entertaining than relapsing would have been, because the moment-to-moment satisfaction is about the same and this method doesn't come with any guilt at the end of the day. I can remember day after day of failure in the past, so it's good to have a day where I can look back and be satisfied. I have better expectations for tomorrow, and definitely no sleeping in.

 

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Posted

Day 21

3 weeks in. Today was slow as well. Finished the Invertebrate stuff and started on Genetics. I think being on campus really does help with productivity, because I don't have too much to show for a full day. At the very least I resisted the cravings again, but abstaining from a negative is far from a positive. The time I got the most done was when I got really passionate about just getting work done and let that be my driving force. On that note, I think I'll put in a little more studying before I go to bed.

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Posted

The time I got the most done was when I got really passionate about just getting work done and let that be my driving force.

This! 

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Posted

Day 22

Well, I broke the cycle of mismanaged weekends and got a decent start on my work. I wish I could feel more accomplished, but I didn't get nearly the amount of homework I wanted done. I don't have to be a complete downer, though, so I'll speak on the bright side. I did a lot of thinking as I rested over the weekend, and mapped out even more possibilities and ideas for my life. I feel pretty confident that Siddartha Guatama was right when he said that desire is the root of all suffering. Over the weekend I struggled against a lot of petty desires: eating foods that were garbage for the body, intaking media that was garbage for the mind, etc. Sure, I was far from perfect, but I further developed the skill of simply letting go and letting these distractions slide over me like water over a rock. Things that once appealed to me no longer do, giving way to allowing me to do what I need to. I can't be certain these are symptoms of the detox, but I do feel quite confident that they are.

I sail ever closer towards the goals I have set for myself, as the voices of the wailing sirens of vice grow fainter and fainter. I hope that even before these 90 days are up I can be untied from this mast and go about the real work before me. By all that is right, I wish to put forth every fiber in my being towards doing so.

P.S. congrats @Cam Adair for meeting your goal! I'm excited to hear about all of the good work you accomplish in Tanzania.

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Posted

Good Job focussing on the positives here. Perfectionism is a real obstacle if you want to improve actively at anything.

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Posted

P.S. congrats @Cam Adair for meeting your goal! I'm excited to hear about all of the good work you accomplish in Tanzania.

Thanks! Videos in Tanzania are going to be epic. B|

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Posted

Day 23

Pretty routine day; got some lunch with a friend, did some errands to prepare for volunteering at the hospital, and got a ton of studying done. It's funny how many things I have to be grateful for, and I have plenty of work to get done, but the thing that keeps me back the most is not being able to maintain positive emotions. Being able to be positive around others is much easier than being positive with myself. It's embarrassing to admit it out loud, but I struggle with feeling emotionally isolated a lot. I have more friends now that I am in college than I ever have had in any other stage in my life, but I don't confide in them about emotions and so I feel about the same as before. I used to use video games to drown away these feeling and let the numbness take over, but I don't have the option anymore, I have to face my problems head on. 

I've been thinking about why this is for a while now. Maybe its because I'm used to being the listening ear and not the other way around, or maybe its because I'm tired of people leaving when the friendship is no longer convenient and don't want to go through the pain of opening up again. These are excuses that honestly seem to be rooted in fear, and I need to face up to the truth and do something about it. I'm meeting with a  close friend tomorrow and I plan on opening up to him about this, even though I can tell it won't be easy. I'll also watch my self-talk and try to flip the negatives back to positives. Any other advice would be appreciated. It's good to be just be honest with the world about it.

"Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as be understood" -George Orwell, 1984

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Posted

Day 23

 It's embarrassing to admit it out loud, but I struggle with feeling emotionally isolated a lot.

Want to start off by saying, it was really strong of you to admit this! With that being said however, don't be embarrassed. Most people (typically ex gamers like you and I) are used to being isolated in their own thoughts. The big thing I invite you to try, is every time you look yourself in the mirror every day, take a deep breath, and try to compliment 5 different things about yourself, be it looks, talent, or personality. I'm guilty of low self esteem so this really does help. And I think being emotionally open with your close friends is a great first step. We all achieve different things in a day, and feeling good about it can inspire us to accomplish more, where as negativity promotes the contrary.  Final thing, cut yourself some slack. I guarantee that every day more good has happened than bad. Sure, we all have off days, we're not perfect, but if we all treated ourselves like shit for it, we wouldn't be able to function. Hope this helps! Have a good one.

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Posted

Great idea to talk with a friend abut htis. Beeing vulnerable is scary but worth it. A book about this Topic would be " Daring Greatly". It could be a useful read for you.

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Posted

@WorkInProgress Thanks! I found out that my local library system has this book, so it's definitely on the list for when I get through my next couple of books. Checking out some of the reviews on Amazons, it definitely seems worth-while.

@TheBroMoe On point advice, as I have come to expect from you, my friend. You are absolutely right that it is important to look oneself in the mirror and speak the truth (which is positivity). I work on self-talk a lot, but this will take it to a whole new level and I'm definitely going to start doing so starting tonight, thanks. I notice that we usually feel how we act, so by walking around campus standing up straight and taking the time to smile and look people in the eye as I passed them by, I felt much more content and self-assured today. I believe that ties in to what you were saying, and I highly recommend doing so if you haven't tried that method out yourself. Lastly, you are right that more improvement happens than negativity every day, and that's a great attitude to have.

Day 24

This post will mostly cover the answers I found from trying to tackle the problem I posed yesterday, since nothing very noteworthy happened today other than being very sore from getting back in the swing of weight lifting again. 

I met with one of my friends for lunch, as planned, and after talking about various philosophical issues (as we usually do, which is why we are such good friends) I broached the topic of how he keeps from feeling lonely/isolated. Other than going to school and getting lunch with friends, he spends most of his time at his apartment. While there, he goes through dense books on history and philosophy at the speed that most people go through seasons of a television show, and does a lot of thinking. It's for this reason that I really can relate to him and value his friendship, because he dares to ask the questions that most people shy away from. 

His answer was simple: if you are alone because you dare to think for yourself and live a life that reflects the insights you gain, you should take that solitude as a badge of honor. In other words, he focuses on the positive rather than the negative. This reminds me very much of Walden, which was written by Henry David Thoreau as he lived by himself in the woods for over two years. In his book he talks about how company is only pleasurable when there are new and stimulating topics to talk about. Just as I once used gaming as a crutch, so too am I trying to use people as a crutch. Does this mean that I should stop hanging out with other people regularly and cease from being vulnerable with my friends? Absolutely not! It merely means that this is work that I must put in the work on myself if I want to make progress, and I would be at a complete standstill in this area if I had not quit video games, so for that much alone I am immensely grateful.

It seems those pesky Stoic and Zen philosophers are right yet again: the journey is not without, but within.

 

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Posted

It seems those pesky Stoic and Zen philosophers are right yet again: the journey is not without, but within.

Yep. And it's worth it.

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Posted

Day 25

It's surprising that it's this early in the semester and the days are already starting to blur; in some ways it's difficult for me to differentiate what happened today from the events of previous days. I got a good bit of chemistry homework done and thoroughly enjoyed all of my classes, even the daunting 8am organic chemistry lecture this morning. I also saw a guy I'd met a few times sitting alone at lunch, and decided to sit with him and ensure that I was social. He happened to playing some Warhammer series related game, and I didn't think anything too much of it. Over the course of the next hour he excitedly told me about it as I ate my lunch, and I was surprised at how uninterested I was. I enjoyed what he had to say (i.e. the lore and his mentality behind how he played it), but I was thoroughly disinterested in the game itself because I knew it was just a waste of time. I detail this interaction because it proves that video games have merely been merely an excuse to avoid both school and self-improvement work, and are far from being a passion of mine. Furthermore, when I told a different friend later that I was quitting for good this time, he responded by reminding me about how many times I had tried and failed in the past, and implied this wasn't going to any different. I just gave him a knowing smile and told him that I was certain I was done this time, and I meant it; I know I am, and I couldn't be happier.

Switching gears to a different topic: meditation and my study of philosophy and self-development have taught me to focus on my thought life. I noticed today that my mind has been focusing on really vain things when I leave it unchecked; it wanders to the girl I talked about a few posts ago, then it goes to areas where I want to improve my life such as my physique, worrying about grades, my social standing among my peers, etc. In other words, it focuses on what I don't have rather than what I do. What a complete waste of time, and an incredible drain of resources! I asked myself, "Would you be willing to give all of these ambitions up if that's what it took to succeed towards your most important goals?" As I said in my initial journal post, my dream is to be a doctor in countries where people don't have access to medical care. I frequently forget this, but when I waste time I am letting the people I want to help down. I cannot look myself and the mirror and know that I am willingly doing that, so I promised myself that I was willing to give up/do whatever it takes fulfill my two core values of seeking truth and living as compassionately as I possibly can. When my thoughts wander towards silly things my goal is to either redirect them towards worthy causes (envisioning myself studying hard to get good grades, or what it will be like to one day be fulfilling my dream of helping the poor) or practicing mindfulness and not thinking anything at all. Following through with that level of commitment will bring about profound reverberations in my life, and I am fully prepared to see that happen.

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Posted

Day 26

I'm posting this earlier than I usually do because I'm going out dancing late tonight and know I'll just want to go to bed when I get home. Noteworthy events of the day: I got one step closer towards wading through the bureaucracy to be able to volunteer at the local hospital, met with a few friends who were practicing ballroom at the rec center who taught me some new moves in Waltz and Rumba (and had a quick refresher in Tango), and I got the low-down on some excellent study resources for o-chem 2 from one of the aforementioned friends. Tomorrow and Sunday I'm going to need to hit the books really hard to be prepared for the slew of tests that are slowly drawing nearer, but tonight I'm just going to let loose and cut some carpet out on the dance floor (or in my case, a very slick hardwood floor, haha).

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Posted

Good to see you still working on your goals. Soon you will reach the 30days. Your are doing really great!

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