Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beyond the Project

I again apologize for continuing to talk about my project so vaguely in front of those still left in the dark, but what else am I to do to relieve pressure? The project has entered its most boring phase: Waiting for independent variables to fall in my favor. As far as activity goes I'm doing nothing really except focusing on my job and goal planning, as I can't advance to the next phase until this one variable sets up right. Once it does, things will be going fast and soon will be all over. The project is ultimately in its latest stages, which, unfortunately, are the slowest ones. Pretty much everything else that needs to be done is done; it's up to other people now.

But you know what? It wouldn't hurt to pass the time by musing on what short-term plans I have for my life on the other side of this project. The end results of the project can be isolated enough that not even specific concrete plans could give away hints on what the project is. It might be beneficial to do such musing, as the problem this project sets out to defeat (hereon know as the "circumstance") is slowing me down to the point where I have little motivation other than to plan, think, and work.

As nerdy as it may seem, my biggest concern is actually getting back to, resettling myself in, and intensifying my studies. I may have only made a passing mention to it -- I don't remember -- but, being extremely dissatisfied with my formal education, I have undertaken to informally educate myself. Not only as a matter of picking up basic necessary knowledge and skills, but also to establish a routine of life-long learning. Seeing how little I learned from elementary and high school, and how foolish college seemed to be, I took a break from formal education in order to, so to speak, home school myself. It was no half-hearted effort, as I not only picked out textbooks and actively studied them --reading, homework, and all -- I consistently maintained such efforts for beyond a year, until the circumstance hindered me. Before I cleaned it out, my grammar folder was bulging with the papers of assignments stored in it, including both self-constructed assignments and the exercises in the book.

Looking back, it's amazing what intellectual efforts I sustained to better myself, how rigorous I was, and the results I've achieved. I've studied two philosophy texts, a math text, read several literature works, established a vocabulary exercise, wrote essays for my blog (the other one), did mental math exercises, wrote "thinking" lists, and more I probably can't recall at this point. Sure, it may not sound impressive to you, but I'm proud of it. There are many improvements that could be made -- in concentration, speed, memory reinforcement, and so on -- but I did well with what I could, especially since I was trying to overcome other problems during the meanwhile. Often did I exert myself to the point of feeling physically tired, which, to me, is the hallmark of healthy mental exercise.

But then came the circumstance. In reality it has been present throughout the entirety of my life, but I haven't taken notice of it like I have just this year. For a long time I thought it wasn't a problem at all, but rather a minor annoyance that could be solved in a matter of minutes. It "annoyed" me while I was busy trying to establish a routine of self-education, but it wasn't significant enough to snatch my attention, or, if it did, I didn't understand the root at that time. Whenever I got annoyed I simply absorbed myself in my studies and it went away.

However, I'm not one to view things in a disconnected fashion. In my thinking I make things add up to totals rather than leaving them disconnected and isolated. The circumstance annoyed me at times before in the beginning, but, after month after month and then year after year of having to deal with it, I slowly came to the realization of what the exact nature was of what I was dealing with. I still stand by the assertion that it's ultimately very petty, but how to properly and rightfully deal with it escaped me until just the first few months of this year. While petty, the more I had to deal with this circumstance the more negative information would be input into my emotional calculator, which eventually led to me experiencing more and more intense negative emotions toward it. In the beginning I was annoyed, but then became irritated, angry, aggravated, and so on. It was no longer something easily swept away within minutes, but now something that took up hours of pacing, often while right in the middle of a homework assignment. I would just be there studying away when suddenly some stimulus would set my mind on the circumstance, and I would have to part from the assignment to pace and think off my excitement, which has wasted huge amounts of time. It wasn't until I undertook the project that my thinking about the circumstance got under control somewhat, but being engaged in the project alone isn't going to cure such a metal malady: It has to be completed for the full cure.

After defeating the circumstance my mind should be still like water. I plan on taking huge advantage of it by not only reengaging my studies, but also vastly improving them. I want to dedicate more hours, more energy, more effort, more thinking, and more practice to it than ever before, to ensure that I reach my maximum level of intellectuality and competence. By planning to become a chef and eventual restaurateur, that means hours of cooking, baking, cold preparations, culinary texts, business texts, science texts, math texts, educational programs, writing, projects, experiments -- and more. There will be room for other educational undertakings, but not much; we'll see. I want to go all out, and in my perception the only thing that stands in the way of that right now is the circumstance. That gone I'll have no barriers -- and total responsibility.

As for my planned study frequency, I have a working neurological theory -- though I haven't studied the brain mind you -- that if you exert your mental capabilities to the point where you get a headache that it's indication of your limits being reached, which will cause further development. I base this theory on limited experience, but still see strength in its possible validity. To cite such an instance, when I first started studying I had a very short attention span. Really, I could only concentrate for a few dozen minutes. With intense effort, I managed to one day push myself to the point that I got a headache and couldn't possibly concentrate any further. I think I went to bed immediately afterwards, slept incredibly awesome, woke up in a great mood, and found that my metal faculties had improved and I could concentrate longer. At the time I was fighting a very bad habit of daydreaming constantly, but just after a few days of intense effort I found that I gained much greater control over my mental workings, developed a distaste for daydreaming, and started increasingly enjoying my studies. At one point my head would actually feel physically uncomfortable if it wasn't put to productive use, and daydreaming remedied it none.

As such, I intend to, after reestablishing my studies, to make it a daily goal to reach the point of headache at least once everyday. I've heard that taking naps during the day can help boost mental functions, and experience seems to confirm that by my napping while mentally exhausted, so I'll also make it a side-goal to try to achieve a state of headache while still having time to take a nap before other obligations, or before bedtime. For those that have wondered why I've spoken fondly of headaches before, here's your answer. Virtually 100% of all my headaches are caused by exerting myself to my mental limits; otherwise I don't get them at all.

But don't think I plan on filling up my life with just work and study. Sure, the above sounds time-consuming, but you'd be amazed at how much time you have in your life if you just use all of it. Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson: "Determine never to be idle. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we are always doing." During days when I was seemingly always trying to complete something but still got very little done, I've found in retrospect that a lot of time was wasted in simple little activities such as daydreaming. However few minutes you waste here and there, they add up. Eventually such waste can amount to hours of wasted time in a single day. Become efficient and constantly engaged, and you'll be amazed at what you can get done. I'm extremely interested in the methodology of Getting Things Done and have seen much benefit in what I have implemented so far, but have yet to fully take advantage of it due to, of course, the circumstance.

The other portion of my life I want to dedicate to developing romance, primarily in regards to my own self-improvement. I mentioned in my China Girl post that I consider my biggest need is to make myself more into a lovable person. I'm demonstratively intelligent, judge myself moral, and consider myself attractive to vain proportions, but in terms of personality I see myself as needing lots of work. I pay attention to my interactions with everyday strangers and don't like how cold and bland I come off as, and with my coworkers I view myself as much too quiet. Part of it can be attributed to the stress of the circumstance I have to deal with, but much of it can be blamed on bad habits formed from dealing with bad people for so long. By curing the circumstance I should observe a great swath of mental benefits, but the rest will have to come from me setting goals, acting more assertive, and, most importantly, seeking out good people. I've been one to say before that good women are lacking in numbers, but an Objectivist pointed out to me (Diana Hsieh?) that the majority of the people who wager this complaint are usually ones to look for such people in the wrong places, or to at least exert no actual effort in searching. ("If you do nothing, you get nothing.") Upon hearing this I realized that my previously searching was isolated solely to the people I "run" into, which meant my school only. It's no wonder then that I developed a view that bad and stupid women were predominant in numbers: I was looking where bad and stupid women concentrated!

After the completion of this project, then, I'll work on setting self-improvement goals in order to develop my personality and ability to maintain healthy relationships, and I'll also actively engage myself in becoming more socially active with people who share my interests. Through that a romance should bloom. Again, I'll detail my self-development in this regard, but I won't cite any interactions I have with women nor will I announce when a relationship has been formed or the like. Private, you know.

Finally, in addition to work, study, and social activities, I want to start planning my permanent departure from Michigan. This move will take a few years to pull off, but it still qualifies as a short-term goal since it still fits into a five-year frame, maybe a little more. My career, studies, and social interactions can be tackled immediately after the project is completed, but state-to-state moving will take a little bit longer. Michigan's economics are no longer the sole factor that frustrates me, for I am now primarily disenchanted with the local culture in whole. The people are insincere, unhappy, often self-destructive, and too often mean-spirited or malicious. I noted a single individual I consider to be representative in A Reason to Be Alone. Returning to prosperous times is not enough in my view for me to develop a fondness of the surrounding culture. Honestly, I don't think these people would truly appreciate if we did return to prosperity, as they'd probably still adhere to destructive worldviews that lead to bland, painful, and downright rotten senses of life. Additionally, I don't like the wintry climate and how that affects the seasonal availability of certain foods, makes things cold, and turns everything a depressing gray.

Ideally, I want to move to a state with a warmer climate that's sunny year round, has the most varied food culture possible, and has a benevolent people. Economic considerations are up in the air right now and will have to be a subject of study after the project. I wouldn't want to be so short-sighted as to move somewhere just because of a good local economy, but then again a long-sighted economic view may not be possible right now given our uncertain times. Moving to another state will be a project all on its own which will require a special study curricula for weather, business, economic, and legal considerations. I'll be frank with you by saying I don't know when or whether I'll be blogging about it, or if I'll still be blogging on this website or if I'll be blogging at all. I plan on it, but the thinking hasn't been done yet.

It might bring up the concern as to what it might do to my romantic prospects to have a previously established plan to move to another state beforehand. It's foolish to think my significant other would accommodate her life solely to my plans, no? For that, I urge you to gain an understanding of the Objectivist view of love, what O ethics have to say about sex, and how a hierarchy of values should affect one's actions. Beyond that, again, I need to thinkthinkthink!

Not all of my time, of course, can be dedicated solely to work, study, social matters, and moving -- there needs to be rest sometime. While nurturing a romance would to a big extent be restful, it is nonetheless the case that I still value a bit of alone time. Luckily, my tastes are cheap right now, virtually in line with my income. I think it will satisfy me nearly perfectly to get a Netflix membership, to rent recreational books from the library, and to write long enjoyable pieces like this one. I strive to keep growing throughout my life, so surely my value hierarchy too will grow and I'll find even more ways to enjoy myself. I have a list of possible pursuits and hobbies to perhaps undertake someday, and I'll keep adding to it as I find things tickle my fancy. The world is not lacking in things to do, which makes me wonder about people who blame their hometowns for their boredom.

For now that is the extent of my short-term goals: to grow my mind and refine my skills for becoming a chef, to become a better friend and blossom a romance, and to move to a better place. All this musing has made me feel better about my conditions and makes me anticipate more eagerly what's to come. Identifying my central purpose in life has done wonders for me, as it's great to have a bird's-eye view on how I want my whole life to be. There are steps being taken to make it all real someday, so it isn't idle dreaming.

All that's holding this up is my current project; then I'll be on the other side of the horizon.

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