I tend to cover up the time left and distance on the ellyptical with a towel while just focusing on my music. It makes the run go by much faster and I always reach the end. As each moment passes, my focus and attention are on my speed and intensity, and not the time remaining. Yesterday I had an epiphany about this mindset. This is much like life. I think a lot of us get overwhelmed by the enormity of the goals that lie down the road. It’s easy to dream about the completion of these goals. But often I have found that the more I have focused on the completion of a goal, the less time and effort I put into reaching it. My mind has a false understanding of the actual progress made as it only thinks about the final steps. It thinks that it can do less work because it has already made so much progress when in reality, not much has been accomplished. The powerful mindset to maintain is one that is not only focused on a goal, but one that focuses on maintaining an active push on always moving forward.
It truly is amazing how quick time can be when not under constant watch. Yet even a month after my last post, people continue to view my blog. For inspiring me to keep this blog alive, I thank you.
So what’s a speed bump? At first, I see a small hill on the road that slows you down. They can tend to get annoying – especially when you want to be going fast. A negative connotation usually accompanies the word.
“I want to go fast, but this speed bump forces me to drive slower.”
In most conversations, speed bumps are mentioned as fleeting moments of extremely reduced productivity. An undesirable single event that hinders progress. And that’s that. Speed bumps are merely a hindrance.
A speed-bump on my path towards infinite bliss has not only led me to allow my vision to become clouded, but also I have fallen behind on the flow of blog posts. My internal mental compass, however, is still pointing in the upward direction towards growth. The speed-bump is a result of internal resistance to the next realized step on my path. This step is the internalization and solidification of my set of values.
This coming Friday, I plan to complete that process. Afterwords, the upcoming posts will dive deeper into the discussion of values as well as diving into what occurred during this speed-bump.
In the first book that I read, one of the important lessons was realizing private victories before public victories. I began this blog prematurely; I was discussing the possibility of reaching happiness instead of the steps I am taking to get there. A friend told me he wants to see what I did to make a better a life, not just what I think will work. Because of this I have been focusing on actual methods of self-improvement. After reading the book “Make Today Count” by John C Maxwell, I’ve come up with a daily code. Here is my daily code.
Having goals are an essential aspect of life. There is nothing profound in that statement. Whether it’s setting tasks to accomplish for that day or that week, they help people focus their responsibility and accomplish that which they wish to accomplish. However, let’s look a bit deeper than looking at trying to get an A in Physics or an attempt to lose 15 pounds before Summer. Look at the goal to master an instrument, to get in shape, to ace not just one course, but all your courses each year. A goal to better your life. These are not impossible goals in the literal sense. No laws of physics need to be broken nor extraordinary feats of talent be harnessed to reach these goals. With long-term consistent effort these goals are possible to reach for.
Absolute maximum potential. Strip everything away from The Project and those three words are what remain. To the core, The Project, is my journey of maximizing my experience on this earth. I already dabbled in the path of lethargy and apathy. To do nothing is easy. To do nothing is painful. To do wholly nothing is not simply self suicide but a pure waste of life. Writing this right now, I am alive. I am living. You, the reader, are alive as well. There is nothing to argue or discuss over. These are facts. Stop, Breathe. Look up, then look around. Who controlled those actions?
You did. This is your life. You can choose to sit or to stand. I can suggest for you to look up and look around but the neural impulses to do so come from your mind. In this moment you have the power of choice. Society, environment, family are all external entities that fail to have explicit control of your mind.
To conceptualize the idea of an absolute maximum potential, look at the timeline of all that has ever been and all that will be.
At one point on this timeline, you were born. Let’s call this Point A. Assuming only those living can be reading this, then there must be a point in the future when you will die. Call it Point C. All that lies between these points is your existence. This moment where you are breathing, reading, and existing is Point B. On the timeline, the track between A and B mark your past. Whether you choose to look or not, that line is visible for you to see; there to analyze and to understand. Although it is there, it is merely a stream of knowledge and facts from transpired events. It is up to us to decide whether to empower our past or to release ourselves from it. Point B is truly the only moment that matters as it is the only moment we can ever experience. In Eckhard Tolle’s book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, he discusses the importance and consequences of truly living in the moment.
As every moment is fleeting, Point B is continuously approaching Point C. Unlike how time, events, and history can be recorded and documented from A to B, there is no information other than mere prediction between B and C. It is impossible to discern how far away Point C is from the moment you are in now. 5 minutes, 5 years, 5 decades, it does not matter.
Now, in this moment, during this brief time you have the oppurtunity of live, ask yourself:
“Am I happy and satisfied with my life and how I am living?”.
Stop and think about everything from point A to where you now. Although the past is important for understanding how to handle future situations, Tolle describes how clinging to the past in place of embracing the present is the cause of much pain in peoples lives. Release yourself of your history and ask the above question. If you happen to be in a state where you are fully content with who you are and what you are doing, than I applaud you. I know many people, including myself who can not say the above statement every moment of every day. The entire purpose of this writing and discussion is to find the source of negativity in my life and understand how to release myself of it. So for those of us who haven’t reached the level of happiness that we so desire, let us ask this question:
“What is there in my life preventing my happiness?”
This is a biased question. It inherently assumes other conditions as the cause for the lack of happiness. It is not a unique concept and it is not my concept to realize that we have the power to understand how we let the world around us affect us. It is not my own thinking that realized we also have the power to control how the world around us affects us. Steven R. Covey discusses the importance of realization that we have the power to choose our response to situations in his novel, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Power Lessons in Personal Change.
I also understand how easy it is to put blame on the world. That guy cut you off as you were about to choose a parking spot. What a jerk! The professor gave way too much homework during finals week. I can’t believe him! Theres no challenge at being angry at the friend who failed to acknowledge something you did for them. A slice of cake to be pissed at the boss piling more and more work on you. Easy as pie to blame that which is out of your control with the responsibility of being accountable for that which you can control. And if you find yourself blaming a person or an event as the source of unhappiness, then ask this:
“Why does this have a hold over me?”.
“I don’t know. It just does. I can’t change it. Life isn’t fair. He needs to change. She needs to call me more. You all need to fix yourselves.”
The power to control the allocation of ones emotional dependancies is not something that can be changed instantaneously. It involves a long term process and shift from outward recognition to inward satisfaction. To not depend on what happens to us and instead focus on how we react to what happens to us. Its a shift from simply responding to outward stimuli to understanding and modifying the way in which we perceive that stimuli in such a manner that allows us to control our response. To control a response that falls in line with our inner goals and long term desires.
When our state of self is dependent on external factors other than an inner state of presence and consciousness, we subvert our control of our lives to those factors. What I am focusing on is understanding how these external factors have influenced on both my emotional states, self image and actions and how to regain control of my mind and my life (future post).
The crux of this notion of an absolute maximum potential is to understand that although what lies between Point B and Point C is fully unknown, we can make the choice to either better or selves or not to. I can choose to type this blog post or I can choose to watch television. I can choose to exercise or I can choose to eat pizza all day. We have the ability to choose to work towards a better self. To learn, to grow, to mature. Or we can enjoy fleeting pleasures and vices (future post).
Absolute maximum potential is an abstract concept that identifies the idea of a self where all our goals are met and achievements done. All things that we wish to know have been learned and all abilities we wish to master have been mastered. In a sense, reaching this stage is actually impossible as time is finite. The goal, however, is to see how close we can get to that standard as we approach is asymtotetically.
The purpose of The Project is to figure out what it takes to change my life from long term procrastinator to life long kick-assinator, make those changes, and then ultimately share the process with those who wish to make the same changes.
My next post will expand on what it means to work towards an absolute maximum potential in “3. Striving for an impossible goal. Is it worth it?“.
For those of you who may not know me, my name is Josh, and this is my first blog post. However, It will probably be a while for those reading this to not know who I am personally. Even more hopefully, a time when there won’t be a person who doesn’t know who I am.
Currently, I’m working on a project that I have creatively dubbed, The Project. In a sense, the goal of The Project is to consistently work towards reaching my absolute maximum potential while pushing those closest around me towards reaching there. Essentially, The Project is a dream.
The dream to figure out how not to miss the bliss.
I say dream, but no, its much more. To call it a dream is to call it a fantasy, a fight against the odds. The ultimate challenge. But why make it out to seem so dauntingly difficult? Its what I’ve done lately and the last few weeks has showed me the second side to dreaming. To perpetually dream of a better self is to never reach that better self. However, in realizing that in this moment I have the ability to improve and grow, I give myself the tools to be able to tackle those dreams.
The idea of The Project got its kindling back in summer. While doing simple work which let my mind wander, I looked 10 years in the future. Keeping my habits constant, I saw an extremely skilled gamer with plenty of online friends. I also saw someone who was chronically addicted to refreshing Facebook, a service which updates automatically. I saw someone who spent more time enjoying sitting and staring at a screen rather than walking and enjoying the world.
The Project’s goal is to avoid that future. This is where I catch myself make a mistake. I was about to write:
“Through The Project, I be more skilled musically, have a healthier body, and have an overall high level of happiness, etc.”
This thinking is highly flawed. I pinpoint success on an idea of a future in which was created by myself. How can I depend on The Project for guidance, or salvation, when I am the one who created it. Compiling the scarce success materials I’ve been reading along with this first entry, I can know see this truth for myself. I now see that in order to keep The Project alive, I will have to make a hard and conscience effort.
Explaining The Project to others is not enough. Thinking about The Project is not enough. Sharing The Project is not enough. The Project is a conceptual list of goals which I want to accomplish and documenting how I handle it. To give an example, the meta layer of The Project is the writing I’ve been doing about how I’m handling my challenges and deep thoughts and perspectives about any topic I care to discuss. I have written approximately 40,000 words since the first entry August 19th.
I was quite passionate about the writing. It was the crux of The Project. Yet, the last entry was October 29th. Its amazing how quickly our goals and dreams can slip away and seem like a moment of the past and not like the moment we’re in. I believe I know why this happened.
The main goal of the writing is to be a meta layer where I look at many of ideas and challenges I’m facing and how I respond, would respond, and where I stand on certain issues. A platform for me to continuously diverge on different topics and explore where my mind will go and what it will say.
The secondary goal of the writing is to share it with my family, friends, and whoever wants to read it. I love inspiring people and uplifting people over their sadness. I’ve been depressed before, and by definition, its not a very fun place to be. Even though I know without a doubt the depression I experienced is beyond minimal to that many have felt, I want to earn the authority and the knowledge through this writing process to be able to be a beacon of light in their lives.
In the last 3 months, I have those 40,000 words written yet this is my first blog post. I was achieving my main goal of the writing, but now I can see why the energy to write so much waned. I was failing my secondary goal. I shared snippets with few friends and they loved it and wanted more. However, to individually share different parts of the writing with many individuals would be a dauntingly unnecessary task. I didn’t want to deal with an e-mail list either.
I love the personal feedback from friends but most of the time was simply spent writing. I didn’t want to also spend it sharing. Some suggested I start a blog and well these were my main objections:
In the words of Joker: “If you’re good at something, don’t do it for free”. As much as I wanted to help others and myself, being an avid internet user, I cringed at the idea of posting my writing up there for free for all to see. This idea contradicts the ideas that I thought I had realized. That regardless of the monetary response to The Project, I had already gained so much. But to continue writing without sharing it to all who wanted to read it is doing not only a disservice to them but to myself.
You can not learn in solidarity. Through the response’s of the select individuals who choose to follow The Project I will be able to learn and grow much more than had I kept all of this writing to myself. I envisioned at one point having a finished book and to sell that. And if I wanted to have that, then to have a blog would be to simply give it away for free. This is a stark contradiction of where I know my inner morals should be. Through recent reading, I now see the value of having a blog.
I can now write what I want to write what I want while simultaneously reaching those who are interested in my journey of self growth.
I have plenty of topics yet to cover which I have wrote about in my writing but now I can take the bits and pieces I love the most, rework them, and share them to all of you.
The Project has a goal yet it has no goal. The goal of The Project is to find bliss. To not miss out on the greatest joys and satisfactions from life. Yet from my reading thus far, to find bliss is to understand that you already have it. How can The Project have a goal if by working on it continually realized that the goal is reached?
After four failed attempts to both answer the previous questions and conclude this blog post, I am just going to stop it here. On that note, I’ll leave you with this thought:
Happiness is not a future concept. Happiness is a realization of present satisfaction with all things that were, all things that are, and all things that might be.