Fall is Coming!
It’s been a beautiful Saturday. The weather was a beautiful sky blue with wispy white clouds dispersed here and there. It’s on days like this that the freeway takes on a whole new level of enjoyment. I indulged a little bit today and slept till 12pm. That certainly sounds like a bit more than a splurge, but considering that I’m still completely synced to Asia- not so bad. It’s going to be a difficult next few days as I manhandle my way back into my normal circadian rhythm. It’s going to suck but it’ll be a nice little jolt to my body as I attempt to kick off the slight hint of laziness and compromise that has overcome me the past two weeks.
A thought that has really vividly illustrated itself multiple times in my life is this: “The moment you decide that you have reached success, progress stops. Failure begins.”
While there are many areas of my life that exemplify this phenomenon, one example is physical fitness. Every single time I finally get to peak condition and to the point where I can look in the mirror and say that I have reached my goal, this new pattern emerges. In this new pattern, I suddenly start skipping workouts. I give myself more cheat days. I lose the consistency. And sure enough, four weeks later I’m back where I first unhappily started. The one day missed, the one extra cheat day- always becomes the new pattern. So I’m here once again with a renewed determination to eat right and get that fitness habit back.
It’s very east to slip into this mode of existence where everything becomes so cumbersome. All the tasks that lie before you seems so tasking and difficult. You seem unable to muster the willpower to deny the instant gratification and consistently engage in a slothfulness so profound that it influences not only your mind, but your body and spirit. I use “profound” because I think this mode of existence has so much magnitude. It’s scary because it’s so difficult to throw off. This vice always induces a state of apathy and lethargy and anxiousness that prevents a return to that wonderful powerful life of purpose. Making a decision to deny slothfulness and instant gratification is extremely difficult because it always is immediately followed by a withdrawal period. Your body which has grown soft, and your mind which has grown anemic yells every morning for that shot which will bring a dull haze and quiet the severe restlessness and anxiety. But even though I am fully aware that all this impends, I nevertheless shakingly step forward. Because behind every feeling is nothing, but behind every principle is a promise. Because I know that we confuse comfort for happiness. Because I know that each day is not but a series of choices between what is right and what is easy. Because there are people I care about.
It’s been about two and a half weeks since I’ve given up Facebook. To be honest it has not been to difficult since I’ve been so busy lately. I think that’s the secret to stopping things. You got to start doing new things. That’s a principle.
I’ve decided to add on a few more things. Occasionally I catch myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Wait…to be honest with myself, this is at least ten times a day. It’s one thing to just occasionally check something. But when it’s a ten times a day thing, and you’re getting absolutely nothing from it, IT REALLY CANNOT HURT YOU ONE BIT to stop it altogether. All the times you scroll, there is ALWAYS something better you can be doing. And I mean better in every sense. That’s not debatable. And I know that it’s good to cut yourself slack, sharpen the sawy and “waste time” but there’s so many better ways to do it than internet applications. So Instaram and Snapchat have been thrown in there own little nifty grey folder Apple allows you to create. It’s titled, “bottom of the month.” I suppose I’ll let myself check at the end of every month. Might actually still use it to post photos, I enjoy/need the self expression aspect of it.
Best things I’ve read this week that really encouraged me.
Very simply, a virtue (or vice) is acquired through practice— repeated activity that increases our proficiency at the activity and gradually forms our character. Alasdair MacIntyre describes a child learning to play chess to illustrate the process of habit formation.14 Imagine, writes MacIntyre, that in hopes of teaching an uninterested seven-year-old to play chess, you offer the child candy—one piece to play, and another piece if the child wins the game. Motivated by his sweet tooth, the child agrees. At first, he plays for the candy alone. (And he will cheat to win, in order to get more candy.) But the more the child plays, the better at chess he gets. And the better at chess he gets, the more he enjoys the game, eventually coming to enjoy the game for itself. At this point in the process, he is no longer playing for the candy; now the child is playing because he enjoys chess and wants to play well. And he understands both the intrinsic value of the game and the way cheating will now rob him of that value. He has become a chess player. Moral formation in virtue works much the same way. We often need external incentives and sanctions to get us through the initial stages of the process, when our old, entrenched desires still pull us toward the opposite behavior. But with encouragement, discipline, and often a role model or mentor, practice can make things feel more natural and enjoyable as we gradually develop the internal values and desires corresponding to our outward behavior. Virtue often develops, that is, from the outside in. This is why, when we want to re-form our character from vice to virtue, we often need to practice and persevere in regular spiritual disciplines and formational practices for a lengthy period of time. There is no quick and easy substitute for daily repeti- tion over the long haul. First we have to pull the sled out of the old rut, and then gradually build up a new track.
That’s just a bit. Check out Glittering Vices by Rebecca DeYoung for more.
When the Heat promoted him to advance scout in 1999, he balked, partly because he didn’t think his penmanship was as neat as his predecessor’s. When Riley made him an assistant coach two years later, he resisted again, wondering how he could reach his boss’s exacting standards. “I was comfortable and change scared me,” Spoelstra says. “I’d get this pit in my stomach, that fear of being a disastrous failure.” He compensated with work, starting at 4:45 a.m., compiling reports on every team in the league when other staffs were splitting the load.
“People assume a good team is easy to coach,” says Adelman. “But the pressure to maintain the trust of these talented players, and keep the whole thing from disintegrating, is very hard.” Every day was like another two-miler at Portland. Spoelstra started with a huge lead but saw the field closing on him. Most of the time he held it off. On the rare occasions he didn’t, the despair was deep because the expectation was immense. “I hate this quality, but I can go to dark levels when we lose,” Spoelstra says. “It’s not a panic attack, but there’s anxiety. I’m inconsolable. I’m a train wreck. I’m being myself. Then I get this crazy, intense focus, where I get desperate not to be embarrassed again. That dark spot is what I tap into. Creativity comes from there.”
It’s one of the joys of reading. Stumbling over a voice that is enunciating something that you have been feeling so intimately the entire day, week, or year.
Everyday one of three, 20 minute swim, run to the park and back, or gym.
Lay out the clothes night before (another post on why this is life changing~).
5am up and out of bed. 30 minute power naps allowed.
One piece of writing a day.
Half hour of reading a day.
Being big hearted, thinking about others(with family), getting rid of this strange irritability that befalls me suddenly and viciously sometimes.
Constantly engage in Imagination.