It’s been a tumultuous month for me. The past 14 months haven’t exactly been a riot, but it’s been great being a stay at home Dad, studying. And I think that on the home front and the study front, I’ve done pretty well. I have occasionally bitten off more than I could chew, but I’m still on top and that’s something.

Recently though, I find myself increasingly wanting to find some more normality with life. Days seem to roll into one another and I dislike the disparity between days that are so full and busy I can barely breath and others so debilitatingly boring that I end up not doing anything constructive at all. One of the major problems I have discovered with being home and self-paced is one of motivation, and this is something that has plagued me my whole life. I am a very passionate person, and I love to jump fully into things with my eyes open and irrespective of consequence, but to take this action independently is something I’ve always found incredibly difficult. After reflecting on this recently (in one of my dreary, semi-conscious state of minds, after another night of sleep deprivation) I have come to the conclusion that it might be Freudian in nature. Constantly trying to seek the appraisal of others, and perhaps from my parents.

Whatever the reason, it no longer matters. What matters is the future, and this is the attitude I am trying to embody for (at the very least) the rest of the year, specifically in respect to study and my weight-loss.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, my intellect is both my biggest asset and my biggest curse. Apparently I am smart enough to be able to luck my way through life, smart enough to ‘guess’ the answers to the things I need to know. However, I am also stupid enough to never actually apply these ‘smarts’ in any significant way. In many respects I think the frustration I have within myself for knowing that I am smart enough to succeed in virtually anything I want, but constantly failing to properly apply myself to achieve it; is a primary driver for my decision to finally obtain a university degree. I am sure a psychologist could provide us a number of insights as to what events in my childhood led to these behaviors, just as it would be very easy to simply call me lazy. In either case is, this main point is that I need to retrain my mind and body to be more disciplined. To try and change past behaviors and relearning how to think and to stop taking the path of least resistance; lest I actually have to work hard.

This goes for my weight-loss too. I think both my attitude to study and my attitude to weight-loss are a microcosm for a larger, unhealthy lifestyle. What’s more, is that I am able to create an environment for myself that supports my unhealthy attitudes. I’ve lost 25kgs in 8 months – and most people, especially those closest to me consider this to be a great success. But I know in my heart that I barely tried. The same is true of my studies. My academic transcripts scattered with one or two credits and a handful of distinctions and high distinctions. I know I could have tried harder.

But I’ve never been pushed before in my life by anyone. And unfortunately, I seem to resent anyone who ever does try to push me. I live a life of comfort, when I should be living a life of much greater success.

But how do I train this old dog new tricks?

1 thought on “Resolutions…

  1. Hey Ash, I feel ya. You will also find some frustration at rejoining Uni this late in that each school has a proscribed pathway and you will have to suffer through long hours of subjects that you already know, or can pick up very quickly. For me, this has promoted more laziness than it cured. Only now I get a few incremental steps closer to a ‘degree’/goal. Having the mind and ability you do, it will be hard to find something that actually demands “all” of you. Once found, it is also crucial to keep feeding your momentum with very focused attention to pace. We are an organism built on regular patterns. I think we have the same problem, which is a totally erratic process of accomplishment. It even becomes a bit of a sport.. “how long can I put off writing that paper before pulling some genius thing out of my ass at the last minute?” trouble is, that non-pattern promotes its own myth: “I actually perform better when leaving things to the last minute” – meaning we add encumbrances to spice up the transaction and actually stimulate some performance. Having a lot of inner power typically goes like this: find something to do, get engaged in the ‘zone’ without understanding the sequence of events that got you there, then work pell mell, depleting your reserves, producing brilliance, and then going into a ‘recovery phase’ all of which basically puts you onto a 36 hour day equivalent schedule.

    It is no surprise that many of the world’s wealthiest people dropped out of school. Passion is going to be your greatest motivator and lead you to places where you ‘have’ to solve problems, so dust off some dreams!

    A couple of valuable notes: the human body if it does not receive nutrition at a regular time produces stress hormones. Their presence stimulates fat production the next time food is available. Secret? Regular meals. Works wonders for the kid too. Meltdown at 3pm? Schedule a meal break at 1pm the next day added to your routine. Also, have a few raisins and sunflower seeds nearby whenever you are hungry, but regular meals work. Eating low glycemic index foods before exercise, increases fat burning longer afterwards than exercising on an empty stomach.
    All in all, it will feel a bit like becoming a ‘machine’, but you will be freed up to think more deeply about the things you are doing.

    Last note: you are not smarter than nature. watch your kid closely but don’t try to figure it out or presume to ‘guide’ a whole lot. offer opportunities like color and paper, do your own thing and watch what happens as their little mind goes into experimental mode.

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