I was encouraged to watch the TV series True Crime, which I was told was excellent. I watched the first couple episodes and found all sorts of things I didn't like about it, which made it easy for me to stop watching the show and write it off.
This happens to me for most TV shows, but it's not an accident. I've cultivated a strong inclination to dislike TV. Usually an optimist, I encourage myself to be very negative when it comes to "low-value" media. I love walking out of movies so much that I'm always looking for a reason to bolt within the first half-hour.
A few days ago I reached a place of disgust with myself. I thought-- "What are you doing? Is this all the effort you're willing to pour into your goals? Are you trying to be mediocre? It's time for a big change!"
That may sound like negative self-talk, but I've developed on purpose an inclination to have those sorts of moments. I see them as fire breaks. If I'm not performing at my best, or near my best, I want to have some level of exasperation towards myself.
The last plane flight before my breaking point had me doing a tiny bit of work and watching some documentaries on the in-flight system. On this one I've written three blog posts, done some planning, and worked on CruiseSheet.
In other words, these inclinations really serve me well. I've learned that it's hard to force people, including yourself, to make positive changes if you don't feel an emotion pushing change. So I brainwash myself a little bit create inclinations to make those emotions come more frequently.
Self-talk is so powerful because it's always happening. It's not trivially easy to control, but putting in the effort to do so seems to be well worth the time. It's sort of like programming your brain-- it can be a hassle at first, but once it gets running, it's all benefits.
This goes both ways-- both in creating new inclinations and in removing ones that don't serve you. Are you inclined to lose your temper? Get rid of that. Do you let yourself slide? Create an inclination to get fed up and take action. What are your inclinations? Which new ones would make your life better?
Photo is the throne at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. This is my second time in Russia and my first in St. Petersburg. Seems like a really cool city, and the historical grandeur stuff is insane.
I'm sitting in the Kansas City terminal, waiting for my next flight. The barbecue restaurant there serves shockingly large portions, which, combined with waking up early today, has me feeling sleepy.
I should work, I think. My eyes are half closed, though, and I can't imagine thinking through tough problems like the one waiting for me on Sett. I think about writing a blog post, but my past few days have been weak, so I want to be awake and do a good one. I think about doing some basic todo list stuff, but I'm already losing concentration after the first google search.
Okay, but if I'm not going to work, what am I going to do? The answer turns out to be downloading an episode of Restaurant Stakeout. I'm not proud to write that sentence.
I think I've seen about two episodes of that show. The first I saw at my aunt and uncle's house. Not knowing anything about the restaurant business, I found it really fascinating. Then I was on some red-eye flight and I saw an episode on the in-filght entertainment system.
I've been lagging behind in my blogging lately, and a lot of other things. I think it's because I've been too easy on myself.
I've noticed that my productivity and happiness are inversely correlated with the number of physical comforts I allow myself. It's ironic, but the more comforts I allow, the less happy I am in the long-run.
When I get in doldrums like this it always starts slowly. First I decide that it'll be okay to have fast food just this one time. Next I decide that I'll be just fine skipping my daily Spanish tapes just this once.
Eventually I've tumbled way off course and I find I spend my evenings watching TV and my work-days slacking.
I think at least for me the only way to live completely productively and happy is to never let up on myself. I am a powerful human being and I deserve to act like one.