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On akrasia: starting at the bottom

sometimes need that zombie mode

Cui's Shortform

I woke up dreading having to do anything I set out for myself this morning. In fact, I really don’t want to do anything. My pain tolerance is really low. But anyways, I’m not exactly complaining, just stating. Thinking about it, I used to be able tp push through this feeling a lot when I was in high school—when I was most disciplined. I’m sure a lot of people feel like this quite often, or at least sometimes.

 

Anyways, my main goal today is just to feel more in harmony with what’s around me and everything that I’ve set out for myself to do. There’s challenges, there’s hardships, there’s desires, but there’s also ways to move more smoothly through things. I’m talking about ways to reduce my suffering. So much unnecessary pressure is added to tasks. You extrapolate the meaning of this task into the future and deep into the composition of your identity. Your hopes and dreams rest on this task, when in reality it’s not that deep. Wrestling with that kind of pressure constantly is exhausting—and anxiety inducing.

Cui's Shortform

I figure now is a good time for a longer reflection. I woke up quite late today, about 2.5 hours later than I had hoped to. But, it was only 9:18. Whenever I sleep this far past my alarm, I usually get jolted with a bout of anxiety—depression on the bad days. I’ll scramble to get to doing something productive, to make up for lost time. It’s usually not productive.

 

And so, today I’ve decided to do a long reflection. A very inspiring reflection. Something with some insight. There’s two types of productivity: linear growth and the bomb. I can’t bear to drudge through linear growth on a day like this (though I’m not in such a bad mood). So hopefully I can find a bomb and it will be fun.

 

My biggest fear--though I’m going to try and start thinking of it as a problem in need of a solution—is what I am going to do for my career. It’s haunted me for about 2 years now. And maybe, the fear is of not being successful. And success being defined as winning a comparison between myself and one of my peers—though maybe it could be generalized to anyone else below the Elon Musk level. Yes, it’s quite toxic and zero-sum and I need some time to change this viewpoint in my mind. Another fear I have is underachieving, And another fear is not enjoying my career. And another is not making much money. And another is not having status. And another is not being of service. Oh, a big one is wasting time and sub-optimal routes.

 

I have all these fears, fears of failure. And they probably play into a large portion of my struggles and suffering with this question. But, I just realized: I’ve already failed at all of these things. I already experience the pain of failure to some degree. And what does it matter. I have my life, my goals, my aspirations. Failure is *inevitable* on this endeavor. Letting fear consume you hampers your potential.

Cui's Shortform

Now it's time to sing the blues. How tough life can be. Life is tough. Nothing is perfect.  And our imagination of perfection. It just hurts us more.  When the going is good, it's easy to think it will last forever.  And we'll endlessly improve. It's easy to imagine beautiful, large goals. Ones we hope to accomplish. Studying for 4 hours, coding for 4 hours, never going to sleep. 

 

To accept that we have limitations, to recognize our limits.  What has worked before and what has not.  We are carbon.

Cui's Shortform

On properly enjoying life. What felt like such a huge issue to me. Like the determinant of the quality of my life. And so important to the progress of the world. My drive to be everything I could be. My misplaced Will-to-Power.

 

Now, I'm moving at my own pace. A much slower pace. It's a beauty to move at your own speed. To do what really works for you. 

 

Liquid can't be poured from an empty beaker.

 

Sometimes there are great paradoxes. The more you consume, the less satisfied you are. The harder you try, more backwards you go. Moving a little slower. Doing a little less. Feeling a bit smaller. 

 

A more natural way to live.

Meditations on Momentum

Micro-scale momentum. When fatigue sets in. After a valiant attempt, continuing to push through creates frustration and is unproductive. Do a task that you are making some kind of gains in. Do something that gets you excited. Sometimes I set timers to ensure I don't get sucked into the black-hole of white-knuckling, spiraling and suffering to disaster. 

 

Also most long-term approach to momentum and avoiding the downward spiral: be kind to yourself! Don't beat yourself up. Mistakes can be mistakes.

Cui's Shortform

Going about things a long, and not immediately progressing way in which you don't know if your actions are working. But you think this course of action is best for long-term progress. Establish tight feedback loops.

  • emotional stability checks (can I not be depressed for 1 week?)
  • track mood throughout the day (am I generally more happy?) 
  • impacts on short-term functioning (often short-term functioning isn't even much impacted at all!)
Cui's Shortform

Addiction to Miracles

 

Some addictions are obvious. Compulsions for the material are easier to spot. Rarely do people talk about the dark side of hope. Luring people back to that same gas station, for another chance at the lottery, just in hopes of that big payday. It's sinister and devious. A coping mechanism. You fall down for the 20th time. There's a warm place for you in the comfort of a fantastical dream. A vision of the future where everything is perfect for you. Heaven or hell? Perfect opioid. Free, discrete. It picks up your ego when it gets shattered. Reality gets tough, look away. Run away, retreat to your dreams. Lick your wounds with hope. Just notice you are doing it.

Cui's Shortform

The Fire that will Burn this House Down

The same looping thoughts and habits have kept me down for a year, put me in this current rock-bottom, and is the fire that will burn this house down. I guess it’s the question of what I should do with my life. It’s an indecision, a paralysis by optionality. It’s an outsized need for self-importance. An entitlement to rewards that take years of effort to earn. It’s wishful thinking that stretches expectations to the absurd.

Whenever I browse the internet and come across someone doing something interesting (writing, jobs, art, science), my mind immediately needs that to be my new identity. Where I make a career out of that very thing. Where I am exceptional at that very thing. Where I am BEST IN THE WORLD at that very thing. I’ve gone from Andy Warhol to Elon in 1 year.

And I want too many things. And I get disappointed so easily. And I quit anything once it gets difficult. Because why not, there’s a shiner object over there.

It’s a constant, “Maybe I should do this”, “But I HATE the idea of this aspect of it”, “What about this over here then”, “But I HATE that too”. And the cycle loops on.

This is going to kill me.

Cui's Shortform

I’ve fallen off the wagon. This is the most depressed I’ve been in a while.

 

I can’t work. I can’t grind. I can hardly function. I can’t even get out of this chair. I can’t feel my head. My heart feels tight. My left arm feels weak. I haven’t been this depressed in a while.

 

I am not any of these things. I am just experiencing the world.

 

Heaviness on the body. Time drags just a bit. White-noise drags just a bit. Doesn’t being sleepy feel really comfortable? Waves of it through the body. I can’t get much of anything done anymore. I’m collapsing and failing. scratch that.

 

This is what the mind is saying. What ever happened to those feelings of flow? I’m going cold.

 

Just a little bit more. I’m telling myself a story that I’m sad. I don’t know where to begin.

 

Everyone tells me I talk to generally. Let’s be specific. I want status. I want followers. I want respect. Sometimes I want to help the world. But here I am, a bum. Prestigious college and no idea what to do. Technical skills God knows where, but can’t communicate. *communication is lacking, see I’m being positive. How can I accept average? Looking at others pains me so much. But if I meditate on that feeling, I’ll accept and understand it better.

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