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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 21, 2018

I think we do teens and young adults a real disservice when we say they have to pick a job, pick a career, pick an academic pursuit because it's super important and what do you want to do for the rest of your life?

That model may have worked if you graduated in 1958 but not if you're fucking interesting. Not if you have any dreams. Not if you have any ambition.

It's better to understand that you need to pick something to study in college because it'll determine what you can do well for the next three or four years, and if that something will lead to something else you can do well for three or four years after that so much the better. My father-in-law is an organic chemist. He's done blood chemistry and blood testing products his entire career and I've got his 1973 thesis sitting on my shelf. My father did engineering, then did biology, then taught physics and mechanics in Brazil, then was a radiation tech for an air force hospital, then did environmental monitoring, then did information security, then did IT, then did GIS for like SWAT teams and shit.

And both of them look on me and my wife with envy.

Don't be lazy, but don't be afraid of figuring out what makes sense now because the future is gonna mess with ya. The better you can roll with the punches the longer you get to keep playing.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Don't be lazy

That's the part I'm wrestling with.

Remember how I was exciting about NaNoWriMo, and you told me that it sucks, and then you told me what real writing's about? (Your writing, but whatever) I wanted to write then. I wanted to make it work.

I'll make uni work. I'll drag it till eleventh hour, I'll cry as I type out the thesis, but I'll make it work. What the fuck do I do in the meantime, with the things I care about?

kleinbl00  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Find the small victories and add them up.

Winning by inches is still winning. So long as you end up vaguely more ahead every afternoon than you were that morning, you can look back six months later and see how far you've come. The trick is to not fixate on the horizon.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you. It will serve me well to keep that in mind.

Now — just to find a way to keep it there.

kleinbl00  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  


Write one every night of stuff you want to get done in the morning. Ryan Holiday suggests an index card and a sharpie - then you aren't tempted to write too much.

Start the morning by looking at the index card. Take it with you if you have to, but check off the boxes as you go.

End of the day, look at your index card. If the task was important, put it on the new index card. If it's not, forget it. Move on. Don't let it drag you down.

But keep the index cards.

Look at them every month and recognize that you did all that.

veen  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I’ve actually started a mini journal in a similar vein. At the beginning of the (work) day, I ask myself what two things matter today. Then, at the end of the day, I write down two things that contributed to making the day great, as well as the stuff that is on my mind.

Despite it only taking a minute or two, it is surprisingly effective at getting me in the right mindset for the day and being happier with how the day went.


FirebrandRoaring  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Or, with a Geordie accent:

    in a similar veen

tee hee hee

I can see how that works. Making only two things your focus makes things that much clearer.

Devac  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

For 'not a programmer' you seem to have a good handle on hierarchical heaps and queues. ;)

kleinbl00  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

People with macular degeneration can still get around, even though they have a blind spot obscuring 90% of their view.

rezzeJ  ·  483 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's easy to feel compelled to do work when there's an external force binding you to it (even if your reluctant). However, finding that drive becomes harder when the only person you're responsible to is yourself, even for the things your passionate about.

I was in a somewhat similar position to you. I finished with academia and found that, even though I loved music and had spent years studying it, I could never convince myself to do the work. I would just waste my free time in the usual ways.

What worked for me is a slow but steady commitment to building self discipline. So at first I committed to doing just 10 minutes a day. Then once that became easy, I raised it to 30 minutes, then to an hour, and so on. Gradually, the urge to work became habituated. Hard work is still hard, of course, but the act of dedicating time to it became a natural feeling. This process is made easier if you have a schedule.

I started this whole process around July 2016. In January of this year, I tracked 91 hours of my free time that were put towards productive pursuits.

You can't just wait for true inspiration, motivation, or whatever name you wish to give to it. It does not inherently exist at a base level. If you think of it coming and going as it pleases, you will sink into apathy and inaction. It is born from the work you do on a daily basis and is perpetuated through dedication to your goals.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  480 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, I took my time before reading what you said. I'm glad I did: after what kb and veen said, this sunk in better.

First of all, I'm so glad that you found what works for you. I'm always happy to hear that other people make good of their time on this planet. It's inspiring, too. I hope you keep sharing your progress: it helps people like me feel better about my chances.

I have a question, though. Have you ever felt, after you first, second or N-th 10 minutes were up, that you could just do more? If you did, did it feel, next day, like you can't mount that mountain anymore because you're not up for X times more than what you've initially set for yourself?

That's what always gets me with things like this: I come by a decent measured progress schedule, stick to it for a while (the most I've managed was three weeks, after which the mountain failure feeling set in) and fail when the next obstacle seems insurmountable, even though I've managed so far.

Or, do you ever feel overwhelmed by the responsibility or the perceived pressure of "having to" do something to continue the chain of habitual action?

rezzeJ  ·  477 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I probably did a bit of a disservice by focusing so heavily on time. Simply committing to putting in the hours is a good motivator when you're looking to get the ball rolling, but it shouldn't be used as a singular measure of success.

I've had plenty of days in which I've barely done half of my 'quota'. That could be seen as a failure when looked at in isolation. But when widening my perspective and considering what I've actually achieved, I'm generally satisfied. And really, it's only when you're not satisfied with what you're achieving that you need to question whether you're trying hard enough.

It goes back to what kb and veen said, in that you need to recognise your victories and successes as well. If don't, you'll risk focusing on the wrong things and burning out.

I like what Leonard Cohen said:

    [Writing] begins with an appetite to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt. It begins with that kind of appetite.

That's what I think about. Have I achieved something today? Have I redeemed it from being wasted? If I have, great! Keep grinding. If I haven't, what can be done to change that?

Putting in more time is the usually the answer to that question. And that action will be accompanied by victories to recognise.