Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stop Whining & Start Moving

Mothers! Sometimes they just love you too much! After all the craziness I've been through lately all I really want is to actually start living, but my mom has other plans. She is already on the lookout for a bride! Something tells me that this story isn't going to end with "....and they lived happily ever after."

There was a time when I was on top of the world. I had everything. Literally. Long story short now I am the biggest loser in the world. No kidding. No job, no money, no friends, no family, no facebook account. If I dropped dead right now it wouldn't make a darned difference except maybe make the world so much better for it. I know it sounds depressing but unfortunately its also very true. Yeah I have thought about suicide. Start all over again maybe, if it works like that. But ask anyone who has put some serious thought into killing herself and you will realize that it isn't as easy as it seems, unless you have access to cyanide or something. How did it all get like this? Where did it all go so wrong? And of course the cliched "Why me?" It all started with wrong choices. Make a few major ones and your life quickly  spirals into a shithole that you wouldn't want your worst enemies in. How could I have been so stupid? So blind? So fuckin shortsighted? What can I do now? I have hit rock-bottom. I cannot realistically embarrass myself any further, I have already managed to do that to the max. There is only one way to go from here. Forward.

Anybody who knows me, consider me an eternal optimist. Looking back so far at this post I don't think there's a shred of positivity in there. Sometimes the smallest most inconspicuous things can get you low.

“We can affect people around us so much with our moods. A depressed person can make a room gloomy and a sweet nature can cause the lion to lie down with the lamb.” -Polly Horvath

A new research shows that the best and the worst experiences in people's lives do not involve individual accomplishments, but that it is the interaction with others that makes them important. This is the first study of its kind that underlines the importance of social connections for people's happiness and fulfillment. “Most of us spend much of our time and effort focused on individual achievements such as work, hobbies and schooling, however this research suggests that the events that end up being most important in our lives, the events that bring us the most happiness and also carry the potential for the most pain, are social events -- moments of connecting to others and feeling their connections to us,” says co-author Shira Gabriel, PhD, associate professor of psychology at University of Buffalo.

Real life Sean Parker vs. the reel one
I was a perfectly fine individual just a couple of weeks ago. Yes I was the same guy who has been a 'gentleman of elegant leisure' for the past few months, but at least I knew what I was doing and where I was going. People always talk about being a man's man, an alpha male and all that. Everyone wants to be a Tyler Durden or a Don Draper or a Mark Zuckerberg. People who have seen 'The Social Network' are all praises for Mark Zuckerberg's ingeniousness and ruthlessness. Movies, books and popular culture in general seem to be telling us that those are the characteristics that give you an edge in today's world. Eduardo Saverin is considered to be a big loser while Sean Parker is the coolest guy on the planet. But is it really so? Nobody says it better than Tyler Durden himself :

" Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off...

...We're consumers. We are bi-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear...

...You are not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

People are so conditioned in this way of thinking that most of what is written here might be considered bohemian. So what happened in the last few weeks that transformed a cheerful, optimistic chap into this screw-it-all suicidal hippie? One word - parents. My break from my career got them so worked up that they decided that an intervention is the only way to put me back on the materialistic path of success. Hey don't get me wrong, I love my iPad, Xbox and my VW just like anyobody else. It's just that I have my way of getting where I want to, I am here as much for the journey as I am for the destination. I love my life and what I am but my family thinks otherwise. They think that I am the biggest loser and junkie since Lindsay Lohan.

So what can I do about it? I can try in vain to get them to see my point of view, but come on, after more than a century of combined life experience they are not going to start taking lessons from some know-it-all yuppy with an almost overdrawn bank account. One of my best friend works at Google, pretty much top of the food chain you could say. So when I committed career suicide she tried to get me back on track by quoting stuff she learned in her six-sigma & project management  trainings, stuff like milestones, 5 Whys, Cost-benefit analysis, SWOT analysis and blah blah. After patiently listening to my friends 2 hour long motivational speech, I asked her what her milestones & goals were like and surprise, she didn't have any. Yeah, she did have a fair idea of what she wanted to do and what her dreams were but she never wrote them down or planned her daily routine around them. Hell she didn't even think in her wildest imaginations that she would end up in Google, in fact she doesn't even remember the exact details of sending a resume there.

So whats the takeaway? For one, the entire motivational industry is highly highly over-rated. Each person has her way of dealing with things. Look around, observe, read, listen, absorb and let your mind do the processing. You will be amazed at how many times our minds actually give us the right directions especially when you don't set rules on it. What I can do is stop bitching about it and move forward. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I don't know about most people, but for me things never work out the way I predict it. And that's a problem. I need to stop planning too far ahead. Especially a person like me who has severe symptoms of ADHD. After years of conditioning by motivational books on planning ahead, setting goals, being in control every step of the way and all that shit, it doesn't really work like that. All I need to do is remember that. The trick is to ride the wave. Almost like surfing. Your thoughts might be confused or muddled, in that case think hard about whatever it is that's getting you stuck, then forget about it. Your mind has the amazing power to fish out relevant info from your memory & experience and use all resources on hand. It will work in the background and BAM!! suddenly the solution just seems so obvious to you.

Just make sure that at least 99% of the time your mind is in peak working condition, and by that I mean don't fuck it up with unnecessary shit. Now what is 'unnecessary shit' is totally dependent on the individual. No kidding. Some people might have peak performance when they have coffee, for some it might not work. Few of us need to have 8 meals a day, some work just fine on 2, maybe even 1. Loads of us have somehow experienced pot in some way or other and can handle it, but a few of us can't. I am one amongst that few. For the majority it might seem hilarious but the fact is that weed is like heroin or crystal meth to 10% of the population. I for one am a totally different person when I am on it, and trust me it doesn't make me a better person in any way. Don't get me wrong, I love the high and immediate reduction of mental chatter, but it also makes me dependent on it. it makes me forget about everything else I need to be doing. Every other buddy that I have smoked up with seems to have no such effect at all, they just carry on with their normal lives just fine. Oh yeah, except for one friend of mine, the guy who introduced me to the whole cannabis culture. He committed suicide when he was 22 for the lamest of reasons. So there you have it, it's not the same for all. Don't be fooled by all the info out on the web or the comments left on messageboards, they can be very misleading about so called non-addictive & addictive properties. If kids can kill themselves just by gaming, then you can be pretty sure that the same rules don't apply to everybody. Each one needs to find her own thresholds and talents and do the best with what they have.