Taking a novel approach to life and breaking routines.
Okay, let’s be real. I’ve found myself totally trapped in the habitual daily acts that’ve sprung up thanks to COVID-19, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in that. The lack of travelling different places, meeting new people, having any sort of stimuli apart from our dreaded screens can get beyond boring and frustrating.
This isn’t anything new, though. This feeling is the inevitable byproduct of repetitive work. Feeling stuck and on auto-pilot is triggered by repetitive work, and almost all of us, regardless of our occupation, engage in repetitive work.
Here are a few small ideas to break out of that monotony, at least for a little while, particularly for those with a hungry, creative mind.
The only thing we have is the present moment.
There’s truth that these words are easy to dismiss. That the gravity of this sentiment can be instead seen as a shallow platitude, or cliché. But it’s in fact the most important principle you could live by.
Now is now. It doesn’t matter how badly you fucked up a ten years ago, or yesterday. The only thing for certain is what’s immediately in front of us. The only thing we can change is how we are, right now.
There are moments when I really feel like I’m snapping into the moment, like I’m coming up for air from underwater, gasping in somewhat-horror that I was underneath for so long without realizing it.
The past is an immovable rock in a large field–and we can only reshape the landscape. We can change our narrative around it, seek alternative perspectives, but there is no altering the events themselves. It is a uniquely permanent, stuck ordeal. We cannot relive our glory from the good days, and conversely we do not get a second chance at the bad days.
The future mustn’t be planned without having a full appreciation for how much is outside of your control–which is far more than we care to recognize. In it’s whole entirety, the future is wild and uncertain. The year so far should be all the proof you need of that. Having an anti-fragile mindset is useful–and helps maintain our livelihood in times of chaos and confusion, but that exact philosophy stems from shifting your mindset to now.
The past is just a story we tell ourselves.
Productivity is a scam.
My entire life is a constant, never-ending struggle. I suspect this is the case for many. Scientifically speaking, we are hard-wired to be lazy. To survive while expending as little caloric energy as possible — to take the path of least resistance. To do otherwise is to try to violate the thermodynamic property of entropy, that is not an easy task.
There is universal safety and comfort in doing what’s easy, and what provides short-term happiness. In avoiding the difficult work that comes with resisting our natural lack of innate drive.
However, there’s something about this that is never talked about. That this is not black or white. It is not, as some might want you to believe, lazy vs. productive. There is complex nuance to this. There are varying degrees to the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves.
We can easily place ourselves in the illusion of doing work easily. We can work out instead of playing video games. We can practice an instrument instead of scrolling through memes. We can get a job instead of being unemployed.
The above may seem confusing, maybe even uncomfortable to think about. The conventional idea of productivity is that it’s directly connected with bettering ourselves. Whether that means creating something with value or improving ourselves somehow.
But the value of what we create is not inherent, it’s derived from a market. And when we improve ourselves, it’s through the lens of what’s conventionally more accepted or attractive within society. Perhaps we do this in an attempt to strive for acceptance or proving ourselves to others.