How to haul ass when you feel like you can’t anymore
..in a society that thinks that it’s the best yet?
Everyone faces adversity and resistance. But there are times when we feel like we just can’t anymore. At times like these, we feel like taking a break from life, running away or giving it up altogether. This feeling is all too common to me since I have felt it daily for pretty much my whole time here on earth. Personally, I really thought that something was wrong with me because I couldn’t really notice anyone scuffling with the same issues.
But interestingly, I know better now. I know that it’s becoming a trend for people to work hard towards achieving something, only to not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour. I know that Analysis Paralysis is a thing and I am meeting more people that I can relate to.
I know that this feeling could be over-arousal (for Highly Sensitive People), anxiety, burnout or even depression. But they all have one thing in common; they are all part of being human. However, it’s quite unfortunate that we live in an increasingly fast, crowded, loud and overwhelming world where walking away from everything for a bit is not entirely possible. Probably even more unfortunate is the fact that we live in an obnoxious world where needing some time for ourselves is perceived as “weakness”.
So for those of us out there that feel like this on a daily basis or occasionally as a result of dealing with adversity, I have good news (keep reading).
While I’m at it, this could also be golden for those that don’t consider themselves “weak”, but still can’t wait to leave work at the end of a day where they chugged mug after mug of coffee. Or those that are barely approachable on Mondays because the tension is so present that one can cut the air with it. There is no reward for those that don’t show “weakness”. In fact, you’re just lying to yourself by not acknowledging that this is normal and pretty much human nature.
Look, there’s no doubt that things are hectic and most of the time even chaotic. Believe what you want — you could have the “you-snooze-you-lose mentality” for all I care. But if you had strong observation skills, you’d see that we are not supposed to live like this from the start till the end of our lives. We simply cannot keep up with keeping ourselves sane with just the short-term “happiness” that distractions and materialistic things bring with them. Slowly but surely these become the norm by which we live our lives, and we become empty shells of ourselves.
The good news is more like a secret…
Other people will probably advise you to reward yourself and do things you like or enjoy. But the problem is that rewarding yourself is not aiding you, neither your predicament in the long run. What’s actually happening is that you are digging a deeper hole with all your struggles. There’s nothing wrong with doing things you like, but keep those at hand for when you’re looking for that quick fix of dopamine.
If you actually want to deal with this gloomy feeling better, you need things that stimulate and train your focusing ability, not mindless things that do the opposite.
I for one grew up certain that technology was the answer. Aside from school I taught myself how to program, landed jobs, worked for a bit only to realise that that wasn’t it. Not only did I feel like I was lying to myself while I was severely out of balance (and in desperate need of a Digital Detox), but I felt like I was contributing to the whole scheme. I wrote about feeling like an imposter here.
At the moment of writing, I still don’t know what it is supposed to be, but I have managed to deal with the noise of distraction better by applying Minimalism and Stoicism to my life. I’m well aware that “minimalism” is overused nowadays. And I assure you that you won’t be getting rid of your furniture and possessions. But do stick with me as I explain how I combined these two to alter my approach to life. More on Stoicism in a future article.
All of us are in denial
I believe that the best approach to attempting change is acknowledgement. Our society thinks that it’s the best yet, however, we are beyond superficial, severely out of touch and balance, and burnt-out. We need to stop living in denial and make sense of this mess we are in. In doing so we can tackle the “weakness and laziness” stigma head-on.
I encourage you to challenge your current knowledge and beliefs. Sit quietly by yourself occasionally and start observing what’s happening around you and the reasons why you think they are happening. As an observer, I was able to figure out that the problem exists because we lack compassion for one another. We don’t care about others and ignore problems until they present themselves at our doorsteps (where they most of the time catch us off guard). One can argue that our lack of compassion is human nature. But does it have to be that way?
One thing is for sure though, it’s fairly easy for us humans to get obsessed with worldly things, and the more of it we have, the better. We live as if there’s a race to be won, yet there’s no price, neither a finish line. This desire to have more than sufficient of something is driven by our ego and we just let our greediness consume us.
Over the years our obsession with productivity and success has increased as well. We see people achieving things left and right. We want it too and we want it right now. We feel entitled to their hard work and become upset when we “fail” (as if that’s not supposed to happen to us). We are dead-set on the outcome — it needs to be perfect, flawless and taking as little time and effort as possible. But we don’t want to give the process any attention. And as a result, it almost feels like the more obsessed we are, the more we actually consume and the more we distance ourselves from actually getting shit done.
Some might find the rat-race fulfilling and maybe even an added value, but to me, it has no sense as I try to conserve my energy for things less banal.
We are in denial and this illusion only reinforces the aforementioned stigma.
We are blinded by distractions
Unlike popular belief, growing up a loner didn’t mean voluntarily isolating myself because I was “scared”, “weak” and “unable to deal with the world”. It meant knowing what drained me, knowing my limits and understanding that I get energy from being alone. So I really had a lot of trouble understanding people who needed to hang out with others to feel energised (which is the majority). Yup, I wasn’t popular and yup, I got bullied a lot.
Over time I went through different “phases” where I let people trick me into the quantity mentality. I noticed how much time, energy and effort useless conversations and mindlessly scrolling on Social Media sites took from me. I quit a few years ago and never looked back ever since.
One can argue that we are social animals and that we thrive in social situations. However, to what extent? There’s nothing wrong with being social, but socialising just for the sake of being social and adopting it artificially, isn’t really the best option either — it feels fake and forced. It feeds our need for attention, encourages comparing ourselves to others, and supports our desire to keep up with things we’d normally find irrelevant if presented to us elsewhere or in other forms.
We buy these conveniently lighter, thinner, faster devices with our hard-earned cash, thinking that we own them. But we couldn’t be more wrong. Most of us don’t (fully) understand the technology behind them or know a single thing about security, but who cares?
They bring with them vibrant colours, entertainment and they are capable enough to replace everything that has become “ordinary” to us over centuries. We let them consume our lives, therefore they own us. Let that sink in for a moment; hundreds, thousands of whatever currency you have in your country for something that eventually ends up owning you.
I’m not against these devices, as technology is still a passion of mine. But I find it terrifying that most people can’t even set aside time to read things anymore. The news comes in bite-size videos with some text. Or there are apps like Quartz Brief, that’s pretty much a bot sending us the news in messaging-form. Physical books became eBooks, then audiobooks, and nowadays, we can’t even be bothered anymore. We listen to summaries in Blinkist and consider that having read a book because not even speed-reading can keep up with our busy lives anymore.
Naturally, we are unknowingly addicted to clutter as well. Our phones have us convinced that we can multitask, but it’s just adding clutter to our minds because the unfinished task is still lurking about somewhere at the back of our heads.
Focus, select what you need, cancel out the noise and work on that, then move to the next. The point is to (re)gain focus by decluttering, not by distraction.
So, how to haul ass then?
So many people my age say that they don’t have time, but don’t have anything significant happening either. So many people don’t know what it’s like to meditate because apparently, it’s frightening. According to this source and a few others, Microsoft conducted a study a few years ago that says that we have an attention span of 8 seconds — shorter than a goldfish’s 9-second attention span.
It might sound crazy, and some of us are sceptical, based on the tests that were performed. However, it does help me understand Microsoft’s UI design choices better.
Regardless of what we believe, there’s an undeniable increase in the use of devices, and I notice this especially when commuting. How many people do you see mindlessly scrolling on their phones, switch between apps, then lock it when they realise that they don’t have anything else to do, and then seconds later unlock it and do the same again? If anything, that’s what I consider frightening.
In the past, I have been very distracted as well. I pretty much lived for my passion and as a result, I got sick. I was completely out of balance and two years later, as I’m sitting here writing this, I still have some worrisome symptoms of a “condition” doctors have yet to diagnose. I’d hate for people to go through what I went through.
So if the above resonated, try replacing some of your current (bad) habits with some that’ll benefit you in the long run.
Allow yourself to Unplug and be Mindful.
Eat when you eat, work when you work etc. Minimise distractions and avoid being in autopilot mode. Make it harder for yourself to open your favourite apps and when being productive use the
Greyscale Colour Filter as an
Accessibility Shortcut (I’m sure Android has a similar feature).
Allow yourself to be Grateful.
Being mindful allows us to see things we usually take for granted, beautifully. Be curious again, like you were as a kid and thank the Universe that you get to see them one more day.
Allow yourself to be by Yourself.
This may vary from people to people. Some may need to spend time by themselves less frequently compared to others. Some might need time once a year, while others need time a few times a day (it’s not a “weakness-thing” — this ignorant and closed-minded misconception has got to go).
It really depends on your preference and threshold, just don’t forget about yourself.
During this time you can do a variety of things — you can;
• Rest or meditate to tend to your own needs.
• Journal (manually) every single day to unclutter your mind.
• Do some exercises to strengthen the connection between your body and mind.
• Read a book to broaden your horizons and become more open-minded.
• Work your craft because that’s your real purpose here on earth.
Allow yourself to see the things you have the power to Control.
If you are going through hardship it’s wise to not just plan (my favourite tool is the Bullet Journal), but also premeditate things that can go wrong. In that way, you can sense things from afar and they don’t catch you off guard. But don’t be too worried about things going wrong. Life is about the process and about what you learn from it.
Notes to send you off
If you feel detached in some way, don’t wait for others to feel it too. Never question your body, never put it last. You don’t need permission from others, articles here on Medium or Inspirational videos on YouTube. You can take initiative and decide for yourself if you feel like you have had enough and that you want to improve the relationship you have with yourself.
I’m sure that you have it in you to ditch consuming and start producing. Not only do you owe it to the Universe and yourself, but you owe it to the rest of the world to overcome resistance and contribute your part as well. Don’t keep us waiting forever…
You made it to the end, congrats on your focusing ability. You are now ready to conquer the world!
Thanks for reading, have a nice day! 🖖
Source : Medium