That’s what Ernest Hemingway said.
So that’s what I did. Here is an edited version of some ramblings and writings I did a while back whilst slightly inebriated; enjoy:
Yesterday I was reading a book that inspired me to think about self discipline. Essentially I think we all find it easy to slip into habitual situations that are perhaps not progressive to our characters, but so easy to inhabit.
At my old job I found it more alluring to come home, slouch on the couch, watch a movie, have a glass of wine and stay up late. It’s like ‘my time’ and the rest of my day felt like it had been someone else’s. This led me to feel frustrated that I didn’t have ‘my time’ throughout the day itself. Like annoyed that I had to do work for someone else. I obviously realised i was getting paid well and felt an immediate sense of guilt when I got angry at my situation. Like angry at working, using my precious time here on planet earth to fulfil someone else’s dreams and ambitions. And i felt guilty because i should be ecstatic that i had a good job in the economic climate we were in, and i certainly shouldn’t have been complaining. I don’t know about you, and I guess it kind of depends what you do for a living, but I don’t think I got masses of self worth from the job I was doing. A fantastic job in terms of it being a great experience in managing people, and managing myself within the constructs of the company, and sales techniques and social sales skills etc. but in terms of liberating, progressing and feeling good about myself; this was never at the magnitude at which it could have been. I felt like if a meteor came and dropped on my old job, and indeed its industry, and the whole thing was destroyed. The world would still spin.
I struggled to believe I was contributing to the world in a positive way. Because it wasn’t touching people’s lives in the way I wanted it to. I wasn’t able to help people in the way I wanted. It seemed epically superficial as an industry. A justification to our western society of gimmicks, fake, branding, power, money and trend. May I add that I really don’t want you to feel like I am belittling or chastising the people or habits of the people with whom I worked closely with. None of this should be taken personally. It is merely a reflection of the bigger society and industries within our world that to me feel ephemeral, transitional and not necessarily revolutionary to the growth of humanity.
However on the flip side of this, and after reading this book I started off talking about… I came to realise that actually yes; I am contributing to society, to humanity, to my environment, and that pretty much all my self worth at that time was centered around my job. My self discipline was not something that was determined by my job. It was and remains to this day entirely up to me how i construct my time and create my own self gratification.
My dad once told me that men get their self worth from the job they are in, and how successful they are, and in turn women get their self worth from their men. So if the man that you are with is not happy with his success or situation it does perhaps dent, affect and stem questioning of your own self worth. I don’t think that it is quite as literal as this anymore. I think in my generation and with regards to our evolutionary advances specifically to do with women in the workplace; I think it is quite common now for single women and even those in a relationship, to get kicks from the job they are in and to establish their own self worth. Never the less, there is definitely something to be said on the thriving of a relationship between a man and a woman based on the mans success and self worth.
The book started to talk about self gratification. And delaying self gratification. All linked with personal disciplines. An example it gives; a person works a 9-5 job. 2 hours of that job they really enjoy and the rest is mundane and a struggle to push through. As people we tend to want the best thing first. That person arrived at their job and spent the first two hours of their day doing what they enjoyed and feeling happy. The rest of the day dragged and sufficiently lowered the persons attitude and mood for the rest of that time, leaving them tired, fed up and not empowered by the end of their working day. Of course I realise that perhaps a lot of you are good at delaying self gratification. However it is something I have always struggled with. Like, why do today what you can do tomorrow. This concept mounds up in my head until I have a to do list as long as my arm and I actually feel miserable at the concept of attacking that list and getting round to things that actually have to be done.
If that person had arrived at work and then done their mundane hours first and foremost and then had the last two hours of their day to do what they loved and what made them happy and inspired, then perhaps the rest of their day would end on a high. They would be motivated to continue with this method of delaying self gratification throughout the rest of their evening. In my case I found it so easy to come home from work, make a cup of tea, sit in front of some latest tv series and just zone out. Completely putting off things that I actually need to do in order to superficially satisfy myself and that time. When in actuality, all that did was apply more stress and discomfort as the mountain of actual things I had to get done grew up all around me.
I think delaying self gratification is all well and good in theory. But much harder to do in reality. There are so many things we put off; correspondence with friends, seeing friends, washing, ironing, exercise, homework, paperwork, finances etc in order to make ourselves feel temporarily better. When in fact if we had delayed self gratification from the moment we awoke, then perhaps there is no end to what we can achieve in a day. We take each day for granted so much. But it is so precious, and each day should be treated like the next is in question. A bit of a cliche, and a sobering and scary thought. But I think if we could all do the things we need to do before doing the things we want to do then the evolution of humanity would become this ridiculously empowering progressive thing.
To summarise with regard to my previous job. I always have struggled with what direction I am supposed to take. On one side of me I am pretty logical and I realise and want success within my chosen profession/career. I realise that having been on the first rung of the ladder, I could most likely successfully keep climbing up the corporate ladder until I was on some crazy salary, but living a lifestyle in which I have become accustomed because of my incredibly fortunate upbringing.
On the other side of me I want to see the world, help people, meet people, engage with people, talk with people, philosophise with people and work on projects that not only make me happy but genuinely affect and change people’s lives, specifically those lives that have been less fortunate than my own. It’s almost like a sense of guilt for the relative ease in which I grew up with a loving family and was provided for with no bother or real hardship.
So after 2 and a half years in my old job, as much as from time to time it may have been liberating and interesting, and lessons were learnt; I think the overall thing I learnt was that I’m not quite so interested in the corporate ladder anymore. It was great feeling comfortable in my job and with money, but it really didn’t necessarily build upon this drive and need within me to embrace the whole world and its people and to give something back to this beautiful earth that bought me into existence.