I saw this thread on Hacker News - "Failed entrepreneur, broke, unemployed, now taking care of aging parents. Help." The guy there is in a big rut. Basically, a lot of things aren't going right for him and he was asking for input/advice. Here's a small section -
Concurrently, I had to move back home to a relatively inactive area - no tech scene, no innovators, no night life, no forward-thinking, no excitement. People here are content with 9-5 jobs and staying home at night (edit, removed: want their safe, comfortable, 9-5 jobs, and their must-see-TV at night). There is no ecosystem to help drive and create new things. Local city and business "leaders" I talk to about doing something politely nod their head in agreement but it never leads to anything.
Now, I understand where this guy is at. Not 100%, everyone's situation is a little bit different. But the general place, yup, I get it. So I wrote up this reply for him -
Okay, there's a lot of things going on here, but most of them are (gradually) improvable. But it would be difficult to improve until you own responsibility for all of it.
Your post has a lot of "XYZ bad thing is happening because of ZYX external thing." Well, you don't have much control over ZYX external thing.
So, the first recommendation I have for you is to stop making that link. Instead of "XYZ bad thing is happening because of..." stop yourself there and instead say, "XYZ bad thing is happening. What would I like to have happen instead? What actions can I take to get there?"
This won't happen instantly, but try to get thinking like that. It'll be a constant battle of sorts to shift your thinking there. Stop pegging your problems to the environment and start thinking about what you'd actually like instead and what action you can take. This goes from disempowering to empowering.
Second recommendation - work on improving fundamental areas in your life. Pick one or two little things in a week, and try to make them a bit better. Spend a little more time in nature, a little more time exercising, a little more time working on a creative project, a little less time aimlessly surfing the net or watching TV, a little more time sending emails and trying to correspond with people you respect (btw, I'm in Outer Mongolia, you want somewhere with no "scene"? Try here. But it's okay because I correspond with a couple dozen interesting people. How'd I get to doing that? Slowly, by dropping a line to interesting people I respect, and encouraging others to drop me a line.)
Anyways, there's lots of things going on in your life. I've been in a similar place at one time. In total, it can be overwhelming. But if you trend upwards in a fundamental area each week, pretty quickly your life starts looking a lot better.
1. Stop attributing problems to external things. Just say, "XYZ isn't what I want. What do I want? What action can I take that might get me closer to it?"
2. Improve fundamental stuff a little bit each week. Don't beat yourself up if you don't make massive progress, because massive progress is rare. It's also unnecessary. Just trend upwards - eat a little better, a little more time in nature, a little more time corresponding with people you like, a little more time creating things, a little less time on distraction whatever. If you make these regular incremental improvements, your life improves dramatically within not too long.
You're not alone here, many people have been where you're at and have gotten out of it. Lots of people are rooting for you. Good luck and godspeed. Take responsibility for everything and trend upwards gradually and you'll have a pretty good life pretty fast.
A few questions from a reader today -
I've been in a slump recently where I have gotten very little done, and i was trying to figure out how to stop it. I could clearly see I was slacking off, falling into a pattern (probably an old one) of using my time more or less pointlessly and getting only the essentials done (which i was greatful for). I was able to turn a good portion of the wasted time toward something productive, but the time itself I still consider a waste, things I was doing without an intension to use the experience.
So I have two question here. Whats the best way to pull yourself out of a slump, to re-engage yourself and bring yourself back up to the projected level of prductivity (or at least a realistic level) ?
Fundamentals. Fundamentals are the only way out of slumps. A little exercise, a little eating well, enough sleep, some time in nature or breathing, some time with people you like, setting goals at the beginning of the day for the day, starting work on those right away, and sleeping on a decent schedule.
That's the only way I've found. There's no magic. When in a rut, work on fundamentals to get out. While that's not always easy, that seems to be the only way. Also, celebrate the small victories. If you're off-track and doing things even a little right, have a little celebration.
Let's get something cleared up. I alone was responsible for the creation of justice4victims.org, and I alone took the decision to discontinue the service.
I apologize wholeheartedly to those which followed our progress, and particularly the 50,000 or so which interacted with us, and it was indeed a dreadful decision for me to have to make, particularly after all the hard work that went into creating it; I in no way want any of those people to think I turned my back on the cause or reneged on my mission. The reason was simple: the landscape has changed - the country has changed.When justice4victims.org was created we were angry! We were under a pathetic government which cared more about protecting care and justice professionals than ordinary people, a government which turned violent offending into affray and anti-social behaviour, which freed rapists and murderers to brutally offend again and again, whilst prosecuting decent people for protecting themselves against violent intruders. The country was in serious contrition, and justice4victims.org was called for, it was necessary, and it achieved a lot of followers.
But then, over the six years of justice4victims.org something changed - when all hope seemed lost, something truly confidence-inspiring happened: Britain saw sense, and voted out the bad seed. Now, after what seems a lifetime, we finally appear to have a government with its priorities in the right place, whose criminal justice policies actually seem to be on our side. Those 50,000 followers started to dwindle, people stopped desperately feeling that they needed the discourse ofjustice4victims.org, and started instead using its resources; although I didn't mind this, the hours upon hours of work going into running it could not really be justified as a student resource - nobody who worked on the project was being paid a single penny, and, quite frankly, we were pleased - optimism was growing. justice4victims.org was originally created to motivate people into action - quite radically. But that was a different lifetime - and, to my pleasure, I started to feel it was no longer relevant. After 6 years, I decided to give it up and move on with our life.
Now don't get me wrong - there is still much wrong with our country. Many social problems still presently overlooked. The current government, superheroes as they may be, does not have the fundamental answer to everything. BUT I DO!