Monday, August 30, 2010

The Project and My Well-being: An Insight

In recent weeks I've been bouncing around thoughts on part of a comment that was posted on my article Daydreams and Realities:

Your observation that we create fantasy lives because our real lives are in some way inadequate or unacceptable is dead on. In particular, I've isolated several ways in which this happens. The feeling of futility that you mentioned is one.

My most tempting daydreams revolve around several (one in particular) of my psychological and emotional needs that are not being met, and that I have no prospect of meeting until I've improved my situation by several orders of magnitude. The daydreams are a way of getting those needs at least partially met. They can be the most disruptive to my progress, too, because although my coding and studying are enjoyable in themselves and are helping me meet equally important needs, I am easily sidetracked by obsessive thoughts about the unmet needs. This makes it harder to build momentum, and is teaching me to maintain a long term vision and to be persistent.
That's the phrasing I've been groping around for in that post: That excessive daydreaming can in part be caused by unmet psychological needs. I wished I would have made such an identification on my own much earlier, as I think it would have made things much easier on me before I had to take up this project to deal with this bothersome circumstance. When I think back to my daydreams now, back when I was prone to doing them in excess, I see now that I visualized much more than simply defeating the circumstance and enjoying the success of my project. I was also visualizing myself in valuable relationships, having reached certain business successes, experimenting feverishly, and more. Now I realize that more needs to be dealt with than the simple circumstance hindering me now.

I have mentioned before that I already have some goals set for after I complete my project. Originally I thought it might be best to delay those goals since it might make my project go faster or might antagonize my circumstance, but now I'm rethinking that strategy. Given that I've been horribly delayed in my project, I'm starting to become uncomfortable with the idea of procrastinating on my value pursuits for much longer, especially considering I haven't the least estimate of when the project will be finished. Many of the goals I have set for after my project is regarding the pursuit of happiness in my life; to wait on them is to wait on having a life worth living.

Consequently, I'm reexamining the idea that these pursuits should be delayed until after the project. While the answer may seem so simple as to say yes that I should pursue these goals now, it's more difficult than that. For one, some of these goals could actually antagonize my circumstances and make things more miserable than they already are, and I'm not too keen on that (you dig?). I'll need to be critical and evaluate all the expenses (time, money, effort) and consequences (success and its affect on the circumstance) of each goal before I reach a decision, which is going to require lots of thinking and research on my part. If I do decide to pick up one or more of these goals, then I'll be better off in having met a psychological need, rather than needing to resort to just daydreaming.

Unfortunately for you I need to keep silent publicly on the nature of these goals (which may or may not be the ones listed in *Beyond the Project*) and how they affect my circumstance since they may reveal too much about what exactly is bothering me, thereby leaving open the possibility that a reader could deduce the nature of my circumstance and project. This will be dealt with in private and with a trusted group of associates.

Overall, I wish I would have had this insight sooner. I never thought to think that my daydreaming could be such an indication of what's missing in my sense of life.

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