Living Up To Your Potential is Uncomfortable

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”. – Winston Churchill

Plenty of motivational words have been blathered about “Living up to your potential.” It’s almost abstract at this point. Perhaps the above quote from the brilliant and witty Winston Churchill may be an exception.

We serfs often get used to a daily routine – one that’s very comfortable. While we bounce between loving and hating it depending on whether we are enjoying life, we don’t want to quite upset that balance.

It’s why we settle for the status quo, both on a very individual scale when we are grinding out our day jobs, and simply want to relax when we get home. Living up to your potential is hard.  That continuous effort…  well, I really want a beer and to Netflix and chill with my wife instead.

Of all of the above, I’m guilty.

I work a job with commission opportunities with a low base hourly rate of 9$ an hour. Often, they are happy that you just show up, because so many people don’t when it comes to call centers.

I’ve lasted over 9 months at my job – which is apparently great when you look at turn over rates for call centers. Still everyday I’m at the edge of quitting and walking off.

Because I have a family to provide for, I can’t do that. However instead of applying to new jobs, I just lay back at home when I get off and relax. It’s easy. I want to unwind.

The next morning, I wake up and curse having to get ready to go back to a job I often hate. I’m my own worst enemy, a glutton for the punishment of a comfortable routine.  I’m my own worst enemy.

That’s me.

I actually like my co-workers and both of the managers I’ve had. I just can’t chance not making commission during checks when my family is desperate for money.

Based on that alone, I should have already gotten another job. But this one is easy. I know the systems, the unwritten rules, what flies and what doesn’t – all of which take a few months to learn. I don’t want to start over and get… uncomfortable. Anxious. Unsure of exactly what the expectations will be.

Clearly, I’m hindering my own potential. I’m comfortable in my job routine while hating and loving it every day.  I know so many other people who are afflicted in this same devious manner. But we are too lazy and “comfortable” to do anything about it.

We bitch about the status quo, but content ourselves in it’s comforts. I talk big and loud, but my stick is very small.

This all comes down to willpower.  An honest thorough self-reflection would indicate that I’m lacking that department, or that I pick and choose.  If it’s easy, I’ll leave that comfort zone, but if it’s hard I’ll certainly stay.  Of course this means that my motivation will be lacking as well.

Quintus Curtius calls this Transformative Mental Change  when he talks about the Foundations Of Motivation and that its needed if you want to make a step in the right direction harnessing that willpower – or at least building it.

“This source of motivation comes from an internal decision that we make.  We consciously decide that we want to improve ourselves.  We consciously decide that we want to begin the process of forward movement.  At some point, we become tired of the old patterns and wish for a change.  We wish to push ourselves into new vistas and regions of exploration.  And before we do this, we make a decision.”

You would think having a family to provide for would give me that mental tazing  and wake me from my lackadaisical slumber, but it hasn’t yet.  That desire to do more – still lacking. Have to buckle up. I wonder if it’s an aspect of maturity that I still have to attain – a level of responsibility that has to be shouldered.

The appreciation isn’t seen right away, but the fruit will be seen in full later.  Perhaps I’m too much a creature of immediate satisfaction, rather then a player of the long game.  Again it’s another part of living up to Potential. You want to be all you can be.

If one really wants it, they will grab it without excuse. In a world where excuses are rewarded, I suspect this is why it takes people a long time to finally leave their comfort zone. Why would they?  If they live off the government dole, there is no incentive.  If they live at home and can still have their girlfriends overnight, why bother striving to better themselves?

Then again, if the system is rigged – getting that dollar too much in the next tax category, it may be a symptom of our society in general where the hardest working end up being the most penalized.  This is not an excuse, but an observation.

This is not a call to be someone else, it’s a call to be the best I can be. We take a lot for granted – specifically our continued and assured situations. We never know if calamity, death, joblessness, the loss of transportation could send us to the streets.   It’s almost as if we are living paycheck to paycheck.

An assured, prosperous, and at the very least – safe – future should be planned.  That planning and needed drive have to be used at some point. Sooner rather than later.

How To Endure Life’s Boredom, Beatings, and Jaded Outlook

“I’m Bored!”

Those dreaded useless words I hear uttered frequently by everyone ranging from my 14 year old cousin to my pot-head friends of yesteryear to my lovely lass wife.  Yes, she doesn’t want to watch Netflix or some other movie for yet ANOTHER night, but finances are tight as I’m the only one working for the man right now.

We aren’t just bored.  We go to bed expecting tomorrow to be exhausing, unfuffiling, and frustrating knowing nothing worthwhile will be accomplished. Stuck in a trance-like state, we’re going through the motions, even when lazy and lounging around.  Yes, we are tired from caring for an infant, and my pregnant again wife is always exhausted, but still it’s not supposed to be like this.

What’s missing?

An endurance in the fulfillment and contentment in what we’ve accomplished as a family – in a short time.  Our phones and Netflix are just a distraction in our attempt to relax and ignore reality for the moment because it’s too painful.  Idle hands really are the devils workshop. Of course there is some context.

I’m an asshole to myself and in my leadership role.   Hunkering  down each night in the living room to watch da Netflix and waste time informing myself via the news, twitter, and the blogosphere isn’t because I desperately desire it, but rather because money is tight and our infant son needs to be in his crib.  It’s a convenient and even truthful excuse

Even with it being a valid excuse, I KNOW I need to get us off TV at night time and toward something productive so we aren’t “bored”.   Between getting fat and gaining 20 damn pounds over these two pregnancies and working a sedentary call center gig,  I’m the fattest I’ve ever been.   Exercise, I need you.

Excuses Please

Yes, I should be taking us on fun adventures with plenty of walking that you see in da movies, but can we really take a 9 month old infant out on a stroll at 10 PM in 20 degree weather regardless of how well bundled up he is?

Take into account the meth addicts that seem to be prowling the streets and parks and the possible excitement we might encounter goes against our parental instincts.  When you become parents, you have to be far more responsible then you actually may want to be in your struggle against .   The delayed maturity that men in particular deal with hits hard and fast – or at least it should when you become a father.

We remain hunkered inside our bunker, trying to get our minds off life watching movies, still bored, and my wife still stressed though her pregnancy.  (A recipe ripe for producing arguments between couples.)

Ideally, I’d love to go out, grab some food, feel cool, splurge the cash, and not worry about spending money for once.  Showing off our 9 month old son to everyone at that establishment makes us feel like we’ve done – or rather made someone worthy of plenty of gazing.

True story, as every time we take him out, women drool and gush over how cute he is.  Yes, he is very cute.

However, when we go out, is it a useful investment of our time? Who are we hanging out with?  Will sharing time with them build us up?

Going out makes us feel like we are taking a break from our mundane lives living in a place we shouldn’t even be.  It’s why us millennial blow so much damn money on food when we should be saving it for that house that won’t be coming from a job that won’t we be getting because of our useless degrees.   Forgetting about life for that moment really is key.

For my pregnant wife, it takes some of the stress off.   Otherwise, it’s back to our dinky apartment where I will get yelled at for something all stemming back from boredom.  First we loved this apartment, as it was a place of our own.

Now it just reminds us of bad decisions, filthy and thieving neighbors, and all the food places around us which we shouldn’t spend money because we need to be responsible for once and save some of it.

Are They Really Down On Their Luck?

Hell, at least when we do blow dat money, it’s not on meth like much of the surrounding “homeless” population seems to do. In fact, these “homeless” folks often walk a mile down the road to their truck, throw that cardboard sign “Homeless and Hungry” into the back and drive on off.

I’m sure their plight is as bad as they want us to believe, but you’d think they’d make it obvious by dressing worse instead of like they just went shopping at the mall.  Panhandling is the way of the future.

Just the other day I was approached by some guy who asked me if I had change for the bus.  Immediately I was annoyed, irritated, and actually tired.    Where I’m from in Illinois, people beg for “change for the bus” all the damn time only to spend it on booze, cigs, drugs, or other fleeting pleasures.

Frankly, it pisses me off because unless I personally know them or someone I respect vouches for them, I can assume they are trying to shake me down like I’m some kind of hipster white costal elite type who is plagued by guilt and a trust fund who needs his good deed for the day.

Telling this guy I knew what he was up to, he still held frame.  So I decided to give him a 1$.  He then went straight into Walgreens to buy his bus ticket I’m sure.  Add getting that buck out of me to his wall of accomplishments.  What a waste of time.

Currently where I live, there is a horrible meth problem – one of the worst in the nation – as well as “homeless” people everywhere.  Sorting through the actual victims vs the pretenders makes me a jaded man.  I promise I’m going somewhere with this post.

Looking In A Cracked Mirror

However, it’s made do some soul searching.  Me and my wife have gotten food from the local church pantry here.  Did someone else need it more? Yes we have 100$ left in our bank account, but we did do frivolous spending prior.

Taking her out multiple times for dinner, buying her a maternity coat for the winter that actually fits, and getting us numerous other things at Walmart that while we could utilize, we didn’t absolutely need has got me thinking.

If I’m honest, I need to wonder if we are abusing the local safety nets – even slightly.  Yes, it’s just me working and I can barely pay all the bills sometimes.  Hell, we were down to 2$ in our bank account for about three days to get us through to pay day.

On the other hand, baby food is expensive, as is formula, clothes, etc.  Wages aren’t great and the cost of living still isn’t low enough to really save any money on one income with one infant and another on the way.   Is this all included in the thought process when charitable places don’t have a problem giving us food, aid, and help?

I’ve seen people with a far worse plight then my own;  families literally on the street outside my apartment complex.    I have a smart phone, wifi at my apartment, and we only have to pay the electric bill when it comes to utilities.  Sometimes I’ll even have around 150$ something left over after bills to get us through to the next check.   Our two door car is in good shape, and while small, it get’s us where we need to go with no car payment. Yes, it could be much worse.

The admirable American dream is still currently out of reach for me.  My wife is planning on getting a nursing gig here and seeing if they will pay for part of med school, but nothing is assured.

Our families have been very helpful.  My parents have bought us diapers, formula, and even shipped some non perishables to our house.   Our relatives have all given us some money. My wife’s grandmother who loves us dearly has sent plenty of cash our way when times have been dire.

Essentially, we are blessed.   We just keep forgetting because there is plenty of time on our hands stuck inside our apartment to ponder on what hasn’t gone our way yet.

So shouldn’t I render the same to the discarded rubbish on the street nearby?  I want to, but I’m not entirely sure who really needs help and who is just pretending.  Then again, that thought goes through my head – are we pretenders as well?

We aren’t standing out with signs, but we have gotten help.  Did people think we were worse off then we were? Surely, I hope we have not misled anyone.

Crawling Toward The Endzone

Even with self-reflection, it’s hard to be content and grateful for what we have because we aren’t anywhere close to reaching our goals and living our dreams.  Then again, even if we do, what then? Will we have a similar trance state of life, just with less worry, wondering what then shall we do?

Ease and relaxation are wonderful.  But they are not goals.  They are temporary, transitory conditions of the spirit.” – Quintus C

My wife isn’t thinking about how lucky we are to have a car – she’s thinking about how she’s pregnant again, unable to go to school and/or work, how finances are tight, and how much we miss our friends and family.  This in spite of how much we’ve actually accomplished this far together.  Why the sense of not just failed dreams, but of a lack of fulfillment in the one’s we have lived?

We need a mindset shift.  In a post about the struggles of life, Quintus Curtius  talks about the “Endzone” and about how we create goals for ourselves and yet still feel unaccomplished.

We must never allow ourselves to feel broken, defeated, debilitated, or beaten by life.  I will not allow this.  I will not permit this disease of defeatism in my life.  Will not.  Ever.”

Boredom and that trance like state spiral toward feelings of despair and failure before driving us toward any other kind of reality – Netflix for example – to take our minds off it instead of actually fixing it.  Eventually, it seeps through our diversion shields and breaks them.

When we falter toward the above,  boredom and distraction from it lead to that feeling of being beaten up by life lying down and reaching in vain for that fresh green endzone.

I’m not even in the endzone – I’m struggling within 80 yards of it, on my hands and knees dragging my burdens along.   But life is just that – a constant struggle to the day we die trying to arrive.   This is no cause for despondency and acceptance of vanity however.

Through the struggles in life is where we make and leave our mark.  Our character is refined in the furnaces of life and  reputations are forged.  Obstacles are overcome and foundations set. Stories are born and tales of your golden days are told to your grandchildren gathered around you.

You just can’t see it yet.

“But this does not mean that life is an endless sequence of gloom and doom, of conflict on top of conflict, signifying nothing.   No, far from it. It only means that life is for the living. Life is for the stout of heart. For the coeurs de leon.” – Quintus Curtius

 

 

My Brutal Self-Reflection

I’m a fortunate son.

Self-reflection is often something we neglect – or perhaps I simply avoid. I’d like to give a shoutout to DCLlive for his post, “Don’t Lose Your Identity”, that got me reflecting honestly about where I am at in my own life after discovering the manosphere and principles of TRP.    If I am brutally honest, I feel like a pampered failure who has squandered his inheritance in a pig’s snout.

My pride hurts.  While other people I know might believe I’ve got it together, I know deep-down that I don’t.

Change is often something that must come directly from within.  Family, friends, and worldview can help prod me along, but ultimately I must have the drive and ambition to lead the charge within myself. Unfortunately, I really don’t.

I discovered the manosphere a bit over 6 months ago and it’s most certainly had an effect on my life.  I’ve gotten laid more, become much better at talking to girls, and  have gotten them coming to me – woman want me and that’s not an egocentric statement.

I’ve gained a better understanding of attaining the kind of relationship I want,  started to understand what becoming a man requires,  the importance of developing and improving myself, and making use of my time – thanks to being introduced to “Minimalism” through Captain Capitalism and one of his books, “Enjoy The Decline.”   Things are looking up.   They also are bugging me though.

The more and more I think about it, I realize I’ve wasted alot of the time of my early 20s.   I managed to get out on my own for a year and rent an apartment with my friends. Even though it was a mistake, I learned a lot.  I then took a few years off school, but didn’t do much besides work.

I’m one of those lucky individuals who has free tuition because my father works at the school. (I have no debt.)  That being said, I still have squandered the time, barely made an attempt to get anything more than passing grades, and essentially have been fooling around while living in my parents basement.  Even the time I dedicate to homework I waste playing games, watching movies, ect.

I can pick the time and days I work because of my job at my school and I can literally work it around my class schedule.   Even then, I choose not to work nearly as much as I should.   I essentially have no bills, besides a phone bill and gas as my Dad has been covering my car insurance and even currently the phone bill.

How’s that for independence?

It scares me.   I don’t want to be one of those losers going into their 30s who really is still dependent on their parents.

Even when I graduate from college, which appears to be the next semester, I’ll have turned 27 in October.  I don’t even know what I will do with my degree, besides be happy that it was free.  I am already ashamed of the fact it will have taken me that long to graduate, besides the fact that I’ve been able to take alot of non-related degree classes allowing me to really enjoy my college experience.

Even most of my family makes comments about how long it has taken me and my uncle asks me what I plan to do when I get done with it all.  I honestly don’t have a good answer to give him. This also scares me.  What am I actually going to do for a career? I’m still not sure at this point.

I know I should acquire as many skills as I can at this point, but I can’t motivate myself to form any kind of ambition, despite things being handed to me on a plate.    I’ve actually attempted to learn some internet coding languages, but I can’t seem to force myself past the initial steps.  This even occurs when I try to learn basic video editing – I get too lazy to bother following through.

How can I actually allow myself to blow this kind of opportunity?

I barely bother to apply myself with my homework, and as I type this, I’m mightily behind in a Spanish class this semester I’ve barely applied myself to – despite actually wanting to learn Spanish.

Being brutally honest with myself, I’ve come to this conclusion: I’ve become a nasty internet cliche of everything I don’t want to be.

I need to get my shit together.  Change starts from within.  I want to become a real man with real responsibility – actually becoming mature. Can I motivate myself to do that? I hope to God that I can.

It’s time for me to develop a motivation mindset.

Laziness Is Derailing The Spanish Learning Process

I like to say things in Spanish with an Antonio Banderas  accent. In fact, my goal is to sound like Antonio Banderas with every word.  The only problem is that my laziness and refusal to practice my Spanish, go through the flashcards, ect is preventing my Antonio Banderas future.   This should be me:


However, it is not.  Google translate isn’t all it is cracked up to be, and quite often, it’s dead wrong – no wonder some native speakers look at me weird when I try to compose some crumbled phrases together. Talking like him is impossible if I can’t conjugate my verbs right.  I did manage to say this to my girlfriend though, “Ella es hermosa.”    It felt good.  I felt good.

What worries me is that I won’t feel good about the grade when I finish my second semester of Spanish for my foreign language requirement.   Getting graded should inspire me to “really” learn the language, something I already planned to do, but it still hasn’t resulted in me doing much of the homework.

It is the response to sentences in Spanish that I struggle to respond to in kind.  You see the subtitles on the screen when watching something  in Spanish, so you can pick up the word easily.  There is however no subtitles in life when trying to pick out words between two people conversing in Spanish.

If I watch La Liga enough, just perhaps I’ll pick up a few more words.  In fact,I challenge myself now; Watch the El Classico between Barcelona vs Real Madrid in Spanish.

Lesson that I will apply when I become a parent: Make my kid learn Spanish as a second language starting at age 5.