Sooooo, Practice...what you preach, makes perfect...practice practice practice! Practice is defined as a custom or habit or something done repeatedly with the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency. In layman’s terms, practice is how you create a habit. The slippery slope here is that everything I do is a practice, ergo everything I do has the potential to become a habit. So what am I practicing?
I guess before delving into the what I do, the why should probably be pinpointed. Happiness, cloaked in comfort was my main objective. I’ve since learned that comfort is not happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I can be happy to be comfortable but because I’m comfortable doesn’t mean I’m happy. Happiness is subjective to a standard. Comfort is compromise, acceptable, good enough in lieu of the standard. Experiences have shown me that ‘it could be worse’ so ‘it’s not that bad’ quickly became the standard. The result was my efforts being channeled towards achieving comfort, tolerable.
So with comfort as a goal, I needed to identify potential causes of discomfort so I could avoid or prevent them. To name a few: expectation and failure, bills and work, people...to put it in a single word, life. Since I couldn’t avoid life and I have this goal of minimal inconvenience, I created a life of low, or should I say comfortable, demand and expectation. The problem with not being completely stupid and seeing and knowing people who were accomplishing things presented an undeniable truth: I could be doing more. With this knowledge ever present, it made downtime really uncomfortable and I had to find a way to not feel this.
Enter the practice of distraction.
“Bird’s of a feather flock together.” The people closest to me throughout this time of avoidance were similar to me in that we all were of above average intelligence with below average production. I don’t think misery loves company more than I believe that validation requires it. In other words, I don’t think people really want someone to actually share in their negative opinions of self more than they need someone around that they can see themselves in, appearing happy. That relativity is more than enough to forge a ‘friendship’ where the sparse and short-lived but never actionable mention of heightened productivity comes up in a conversation over beers and blunts...which is a rather seamless segue into the next distractic (distraction-tactic, c’mon that was pretty decent).
Drugs and alcohol slow down neuroelectrical activity in the frontal lobe of the brain where self-consciousness is supported. I’m not talking about alcoholic and addict level use, these are just the effects of these substances, period. Coupled with the feel good neurochemicals (i.e. dopamine and serotonin there’s like 4 more) produced from experiences, I’m not thinking about or judging myself for what I’m not doing because what I am doing feels good. That’s where the line between good to me and good for me gets blurred. I’m reading a book right now called Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal and in there they assessed the methods used to get out of our heads. Coffee, drugs/alcohol, gym, extreme sports, entertainment (tv/films), and the internet to name a few. All but the gym (because I already look so great, duh) I have used/done because they felt good and present normal all while distracting me from thinking about what I’m not doing. Distractivities (distraction-activities...better than the last one?)
I’m not suggesting that productivity isn’t happening in coffee shops across America. Nor am I saying that hanging with homies over beers, checking social media, hitting the gym, or watching TV are some sort of terribly bad things. What I am saying is that a very thin line separates whether or not these activities provide balance or foster imbalance; that line is intent. Because I didn’t want to be better or do more, my intent is clearly defined and then social, interactive, leisure, and entertainment norms became distraction practices.
I wrote Got Balance because while I was busting my ass to grow I forgot to make time for leisure. Leisure is necessary, as leisure, not as life . Complacency Kills and Satisfaction vs. Fulfillment were about the consequences of not trying and defining intent in effort. And What About Your Friends was about the people and the relationships I had and should entertain. When I’m asked what PI is about, my response is that it’s a blog about self-acceptance, self-awareness, and growth. As I see these things (or lack thereof) in myself I share them with you guys in hopes that you can relate. If not to the specific circumstance then the feelings and I hope it inspires change. At the very least, prompt assessment but optimally, encourage a paradoxically higher and deeper aim.
I know I’m better than I’ve been and capable of more than I’ve done. I want the most that this life has to offer and I believe that if you’re reading all of my gibberish that you probably want likewise. I am certainly not the answer but as I try and fail and try and succeed I hope that something I’ve done works for you.
“You are Your Habits” and habits are formed from practices and the value of the practice is determined by the intent. I need be clear of my intent, even if it were complacency, I need to understand what I’m living for and working towards. With a clear Deeper Yes (intent), a standard for practices will be defined.
What are you practicing?
I wrote this and then this popped up this morning: Our Habits Determine Our Future