Reflections of a Splitting Soul

I haven’t blogged in a while (mostly busy, which is a bad excuse since I’m certainly still wasting a lot of time, but also because I’ve spent little time reflecting over the last four weeks or so). I’ve done a lot of progress in the last few years, but one thing has eluded me: true satisfaction.

After re-watching this excellent speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger I got to thinking about where his life went right and where mine went wrong (warning: this post will be a long trail of thoughts with no discernible plot).

A tweet isn’t enough to cover all my thoughts on the subject.

At a surface level it’s obvious: He responded to an abusive father with an independent streak that made him want to find his own way in the world. I responded to mine by locking myself deeper into the recesses of my mind.

Men must live in both stillness and motion. The former is where strategy and tactics are formed. It is also where those who work in the digital realm must be comfortable with. The latter involves both physical and social activity and is where business deals are made, bodies are forged and relationships are built.

Arnold thrives in motion but, to my shame, he does better in stillness as well. While he’s no General Patton, he charts out his future, makes a plan for how to get there, then starts moving and pursues it relentlessly until he gets it.

Ironically, while I’m no Arnold, I also do better in motion than in stillness. Going out and doing stuff I have planned is mostly effortless (except getting out of bed, I always wake up in a sour mood and if I let it, it can ruin an entire day).

The root of the issue is that at an abstract, intellectual level, I want to become a genius mad scientist ruling a massive tech corporation, but at a visceral, physical level I want to just drop everything and wander the world as a hobo samurai.

Unfortunately, abandoning civilization and embedding yourself permanently in it are mutually exclusive. So is taking on titanic responsibility and evading any true responsibility altogether. Arnold’s goals, while slightly less ambitious, were in harmony. Mine are killing each other (and me).

In stillness, I can’t plan for either. In motion I have nothing concrete to carry out.

For now I’m working on getting back into shape, keeping up with school and launching my business. Will things become clearer once I’m making a good income and my physical/intellectual development is on point?

I sure hope so. But I suspect that’s just the first step into having to reconcile my inner tech lord and inner ronin.

Twitter Flagellants

There is a particular type of content on twitter that has been increasingly getting on my nerves over the last week.

It’s very common, particularly on self-improvement accounts aimed at men.

And what I am talking about?

Abusive remarks intended to “encourage” the followers of whatever guru or influencer posted it.

“If you’re taking the weekend off you don’t deserve success!”
“Put sugar in your coffee? You are soy!”
“I spent the last year locked in my room shitting in a litter box and drinking my own urine and you’re not willing to wake up at 5 am to work on your business?”

Twitter Guru Addicts, 2019, Colorized

I don’t really blame the gurus themselves for this. This type of content is very popular, and many of them, even if they’re not tracking their stats, will gravitate towards posting more content that gets them eyeballs and retweets.

The problem with this content, which I’ve dubbed “cuckbait” is that it becomes a perverse mind trap.

Failure produces guilt in people who haven’t had their mindset reoriented towards viewing it as progress.

The guru’s harsh words “punishes” the reader, who now receives psychological relief from their guilt, removing the opportunity to earn relief by getting back up and trying again.

Furthermore, the guru’s words sends a message to the reader that he is unworthy of success.

If you think you don’t deserve something, it’ll only naturally bleed into your ability to work towards that thing because you will believe you are not capable of attaining it as you currently are.

You will also build up an association between the work and psychological pain, a major cause of procrastination and something I will talk about in a future post.

This type of content can be entertaining in small doses, but reader beware: if consumed incessantly it becomes poison.

I’m not against the consumption of motivational material or platitudes.

But I recommend finding people who provide motivation through encouragement and positivity.

Aside from building feedback loops that reinforce negative thought patterns in the long term, the frenzied, abusive nature of cuckbait is counter-productive. Like a huge burst of adrenaline can get you to move but take away the fine motor skills required to perform precision tasks.

And self improvement is 90% small, precise changes.

Use the nuclear stuff sparingly and at key moments, if you need it at all.