Time to panic?

Finals week kicks on Monday for me and ends Thursday.

Thursday right after my final final exam, I’ll have roughly 2 hours to make it to the airport to catch my flight back home.

I have to admit that I have yet to review any of my course materials. I have 3 final exams to prep for.

Perhaps it’s time to panic?

The issue is that during high school, my brain would forcibly make me panic so I’d be forced to study.

But I’m so much more at peace with my mind and body that I’ve become almost immune to stress.

And because I don’t stress as much (which is great for my soul), it’s bad because stress would make me study. Now I need to find a better motivator to actually open my textbooks… Any advice?

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Finding beauty in the mundane

In essence, if you breakdown what meditation is, it is simply doing nothing. Yet, I continue to meditate. I’ve been meditating at least 10 minutes for the past two months, some days going up to 30 minutes. And I’m just doing nothing.

And what about the other mundane perfunctory tasks we must complete?

Like doing laundry. Or walking. Commuting. Washing the dishes.

There is a certain art to being able to find beauty in the mundane. I personally enjoy walking. It’s therapeutic for me, especially if the scenery is nice. And even if not, it’s often very relaxing for me to just walk, either with or without a purpose, with or without destination. 

Some people have made a habit to enjoy washing the dishes. Or doing laundry–mundane tasks that need to be done but in actuality don’t really fulfill a deeper purpose in life. It’s just something that needs to be done.

But if it needs to be done, can we somehow find a way to make these tasks more enjoyable? Can we find beauty in them?

If we want to scrutinize these “chores”, these tasks that in themselves don’t really fulfill a purpose so much as the result (ie. we wash dishes to have clean plates, do laundry to have clean clothes), then we have to also scrutinize meditation.

Meditation is literally doing nothing. You aren’t fulfilling any purpose or completing any tasks, per se, during or after meditation. But why has meditation been so good to me? Why do people who meditate and practice mindfulness often lead happier lives?

It’s because people who meditate consistently and thoroughly are also the type of people to find the beauty in the mundane. They are mindful of their existence.

I am here.

I am walking.

I am folding my laundry.

I can breathe.

This is my life and I exist. I am enough.

That’s what meditation has taught me.

And if you struggle with this idea of “doing” things that are entirely mundane to you and feel as if there is no purpose or lack direction, then I present to you a great analogy that my friend brought up in our Human Person class.

Imagine if you were stuck in the Sahara Desert. You can’t see anything in the distance, 360 degrees. What do you do? You have the option to just sit there, OR you can decide to just walk. Walk without direction or purpose, but in hopes of finding refuge, in hopes of finding hope. You’d probably decide to walk.

Sometimes life won’t always give you direction. Sometimes the mundane sucks, but sometimes we can make the mundane beautiful. We can give it purpose. Sometimes, we just need to walk, even if we don’t know where we are going.

Running out of steam

Usually for me, starting a project that I am passionate about is easy. I have the initial excitement that carries me forward.

The middle portion of a project is difficult to maintain momentum. 

But near the end is where I find it most difficult because I feel as if I’ve lost much of my steam. Finals exam season is upon us…

The more I think about it the more I realize that there is no short cut. I need to just hunker down and hustle.

Steam or no steam, I need to reach the end of the tunnel. 

Procrastination and Perfectionism

When I look at my procrastination self, I can’t help but parallel it with my perfectionism.

Why do I procrastinate so much?

Well, probably because I don’t want to do accounting. But those are mundane rudimentary tasks.

Why do I procrastinate on creative things? Like writing longer essays, or start drafting ideas for a future book, or learning more magic, or reading books, or starting a podcast or YouTube channel?

I procrastinate on these things because I fear my inability to be perfect. I’m afraid to perform new magic tricks for the first time because I know there will be many flaws: I’ve never done this illusion in public! But how did I ever perfect the routines I currently do? I haven’t perfected them, but I sure as hell am way more confident to perform them than I would with new tricks.

I’m afraid to start a podcast because I know the first episode will be terrible. And I want it to be perfect. So instead of starting the podcast, I just think about starting it. I imagine how all the parts will come together to make sure the first episode is perfect.

And I can’t write long form blog posts. These shorter ones give me room to have error and quickly fix. If I write too long of a post, then there are too many potential opportunities for error and imperfection.

Here is my downfall: nothing will ever be perfect.

If I have a perfectionism mindset when approaching creative tasks like magic, writing, poetry, and content creating, then my procrastination self will control me. I’ll be stuck in a rut forever.

Perfection does not exist in creative fields.

It does in accounting. Because you can’t be creative in accounting. Oh ya, let’s just be creative and add a couple zeros here to my bank account statement. So yes, in objective fields, there are “perfect” ways of completing tasks.

But if I continue to procrastinate on the things that truly matter to me, and continue to only beg for perfection, then I’ll never be able to create quality art.

I’ve written 405 daily blog posts. That’s insane. I can maybe recall only a handful of really good posts off memory. Most of my posts are mediocre at best. Nowhere near perfection. But at least I haven’t procrastinated on my writing these posts. At least I’ll have gotten the bad content out of my system, leaving me more room for the good stuff. 

If you want to achieve perfection, then prepare to procrastinate indefinitely.

4 more books

I have to finish 4 more books in December to have finished 50 books for 2018

It’s actually sort of crazy that I’ve been able to consume so much knowledge in just one year. How much more can I do?

I think I can always do more. Because at first I thought 50 would be a good goal, and now I’ve nearly reached it, it goes to prove that I can probably aim ever higher.

That’s the beauty of well thought out goals. They push you forward in life. Something I learned from one of the many books I’ve consumed this year!

Onwards to more

At a party, mind elsewhere

Daily Blog post 403

I wish I wasn’t the type of person to overthink and overreact to simple life events. And then, of course, I overthink that sentence and then realize that the only type of person I want to be is the type of person who overthinks and overreacts to everything.

I’ve gone to a fair share of college parties now. They are different from the parties I went to in high school in that I don’t know everyone, and I now feel obligated to have a good time. Work hard play hard mentality, I suppose.

There are certainly different roles at a party. There are people who are the life of the party. People hitting on other people. There are dancers, screamers, people who keep trying to take shots. There is the person who ends up breaking stuff. Some people fall asleep, and some people continue the party even after everyone has left. Then there are the introverts like me who can’t be bothered to have more than 5 conversations. 

When I attend parties, I inevitably end up thinking more than I end up partying.

“When I am inside writing,
all I can think about is how I should be outside living.

When I am outside living,
all I can do is notice all there is to write about.

When I read about love, I think I should be out loving.
When I love, I think I need to read more.”

I spend most of my time at a party thinking about whether or not I should be somewhere else. Whether or not I should be joining the conversations, or joining the game, or meeting new people. Or maybe I should have just stayed home and bathed in my own thoughts. There is a pretty girl across the room. There is my friend dancing and enjoying myself. There is a group of people I wish I could be friends with. I wonder if they have similar thoughts.

When I am in my bed relaxing, an Elon Musk motivational video reminds me that for every hour I spend taking a break, there is someone else out there working hard to get ahead of me.

But how can I live a life where my mind is not physically present?

My body sits in this house party, and my mind is spiraling, lost.

And so I’ve begun practicing mindfulness. I’ve begun to learn that the words that come out of my mouth in every conversation are unique because I don’t have time to write and re-edit them like I can with these blog posts. Instead, I’ve learned that the words I utter shape the life I’d like to live, a life of presence, a life of living in the moment. 

Just go out there and enjoy myself. Make mistakes. Embarrass myself (though I’m actually quite good at that). Take a leap. Speak my mind. I don’t need to overthink everything. After all, I’ll always have time to reflect on my decisions after the fact, like in these posts, but if I never do anything, I won’t get a chance to reflect. A part of me wants to escape this party. Another part of my wants to be the life of the party. Cognitive dissonance is a weird feeling. I just need to make a decision and go with it instead of overthinking. 

Stress off

Today a semester long worth of work was finally presented

Our marketing project for Vanguard that took the entire semester and 7 business students to compile was presented to Vanguard today.

It’s crazy to see a long-term project like this come to fruition. And 4-months isn’t even that long, but it still was great to see our efforts as team come together.

Goal setting + effort = enthusiasm.

We care about the results where we put effort in.

It makes sense. Let’s put more effort in things we love.