A few days ago, I got six pieces of news ranging from good to exceptional, and one piece of bad news. Of the good news were well wishes, opportunities, advice, and connections from people I care about. The bad news was almost trivial and there isn't much I could do about it.
Today I was out for a run in the park when it started raining hard. It's rainy season in Vietnam, and it came down pouring. After a minute, I gave up trying to stay dry, and enjoyed my run in the rain. I was enjoying it, mostly having my mind turned off and enjoying the audio I was listening to - a really wonderful story called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by a guy named Og Mandino. Really a beautiful piece to listen to, read by its author 30 years after he wrote the book.
And yet, that damn bad news comes back to mind! What is this? I have so many opportunities I could think of, jump upon. I could create, produce, serve, connect, relax, enjoy, train - the whole world is open before me, and I think of trivial shit that I can't change.
I'm going to willpower this off of my mind. Being human is a strange thing.
"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here." -- Inscription on the Gates of Hell, Dante Alighieri's "Inferno"
The worthy detour? I think I've got a formula for "High Creative Mode"... just it's not particularly consistently effective yet, and it's playing a pretty high stakes game. On Day Seventeen, I made my first crack at applying it, and had an incredible day. I wrote a 5000-word piece, that after editing and getting the ending right, I think could be amazingly fantastic. Just writing it was a joy.
Following from that, I was walking on air for the rest of the day.
In Day Eighteen, I attempted the same thing, and fell short. This was maddening, and the whole day was aggravating. I think I've got a rough formula for High Creative Mode, but it doesn't produce 100% results. And when it fails, it's pretty ugly, at least so far.
I kept detailed notes on both days, much more fleshed out than usual. There's more stream-of-consciousness. They're... honestly, a little weird. You can evaluate for yourself:
Weightlifting doesn’t hurt that much.
I hear a lot of people talk about how hard they train and how difficult it is. I don’t perceive weightlifting as hard. When you walk into the gym, the work expected of you and the level of pain is quite predictable, and it can only be “so bad” in terms of load or volume. Compared to the martial arts study I underwent, weightlifting is like retirement. Consider walking into your school every day, knowing full well today might be the day you endure the worst pain of your life. Some days you’re the recipient of no pain, just movement and breathing. At other times you’re enduring protracted periods of sheer agony, and then some more for good measure. Most of the time, it’s somewhere in the middle, tending towards the pain end. I remember once I took two weeks off. After the first night back in training, I wasn’t able to lift my knife and fork at the dinner table. This wasn’t even a tough session. Weightlifting is good graft but it doesn’t hurt so bad.
Fixed length lifespan
A friend died recently. She was given 10 years max to live following a kidney transplant operation. She outlived this expectation by a fair amount. Being over 60 meant she was one of the outliers in terms of lifespan - so good that she was being studied by scientist in her final months. Imagine how having a fixed expiry date (which was accurate) alters your decision making process.
Imagine you’re in some Gattaca-inspired universe where everyone expires at a known time, regardless of how you live. What would your day look like? What life choices would you make? Would you still spend your time the way you currently do? Guess what! At the moment, unless you’re an outlier that date is somewhere around your 80th birthday - if you’re very lucky. Call it 100 if you’re an optimist but I think that’s pushing it given Jack LaLanne didn’t make it. A shiny fifty pence piece says your lifestyle isn’t as optimal as his was. If you’re making poor decisions, you’re likely trimming that number down.