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.

The Sting Of Betrayal

My Own Benedict Arnold Moment

Every man will experience his own “Benedict Arnold” moment. While it might not take place in a revolutionary war to determine the fate of nation being born, it will still leave a blackened stained touch in your memory.

What motivates betrayal? Often it’s money, greed, jealousy, and the desire to attain power. To do that you have to step on people to move up the ladder of power. Certainly, I was stepped on like a scared housewife stomps on an ugly bug while squeaking out a brief, “Eeek!!!!”

My own betrayal  moment caught me off guard.   None of the above seemed like the motivator for the betrayal.  What could the reason have been?  It felt as cold, sharp, and damaging as an Ozark ice storm.  Even now, the though of “WTF, why?” keeps running through my mind.  Often, I prefer for my dirty laundry to stay in the bin, but in this case I will have to reveal my boxers.

I’m a blabber, a conversationalist, and an open book.  Some people love this about me, others loathe it, but few have ever managed to use it against me in a way that cuts deep.

Thing is, I don’t know how much was deliberate and honest-to-god opining on me and how much was cruel intentioned barbs designed to hurt my relationship with my in-laws and my wife. Timing was absolutely horrible as I’m just starting to build a better relationship with my in-laws who weren’t huge on me.

My old boss who I was my absolute unfiltered self around, a man I thought I could trust and actually have “real-talk” with, and someone who I respected – even though he let me go, delivered whatever his own brand of personal vengeance was against me managed to tell the “truth” about me in the worst possible ways.

No grudges did I hold against him when he let me go, in fact I even kept in good contact with him.  However, he indeed held grudges against me which I was unaware of until he told my in-laws about them instead of myself.

Normally, this would be a landmine that would be overcome after one detonation, but he will be in a “life” group with my in-laws for the foreseeable future.  Essentially, I will have someone who can’t be trusted in an environment where trust is supposed to be of the essence.  Circle of trust indeed.

I did somewhat conquer my fear of heights

I’m used to detractors that I barely know,  online critics, and people whose personalities clash with my own and they can all get bent.   Nothing is what I expect from them.  This though felt like I had been cheated on – which I haven’t, it was just that I trusted him that much.  It hurts.

Imagine someone misrepresents your character as much as possible and, sprinkles in a few lies to really get the pot stirred, and plants all sorts of possibilities in your pregnant wife’s head who already is going through raging pregnancy hormones and trust issues from her past.

In this case, her parents were the recipients of Benedict Arnold and the details were passed to her and then she passed them to me.  Chain of information indeed.   My wife wasn’t supposed to be told, and neither was I.

Perhaps my old boss thought what he was saying was true, or my in-laws drew some exaggerated conclusions that were then passed to my wife. That would be a comforting thought.  Honestly, I thought he would always be honest  with any grievances against myself and come talk to me about it.

I actually thought that I was with someone who I didn’t have to filter myself and everything from “locker-room talk” to how men  actually talk on the job site when you work in the trades.   This is what bugs me so much.   That connection I thought I had with someone wasn’t actually there – maybe I forced myself into believing it was, considering I was earnestly looking for a fellow man I could trust in an area where I don’t know anyone.

The Sword Thrusts of Betrayal

Likely it is not the case.    Two lies in particular left me shocked. (1) That he paid me 20$ and hour when he paid me 13$.  (2) That me and the other guy he had hired were going out after we were dropped off from work to the bar and blowing money.    Odd, considering me and this other guy didn’t like each other.

The truth that was manipulated against me in fascinating way too.  Apparently one such truth was how I constantly wanted to go out after work with my boss to the bar and grab a drink.

Absolutely, this was true.   I wanted to bond with my boss as I believed he was someone I could be my genuine self-around. One of the best ways you can do this is to indeed grab a drink and sit down.

In his defense however, he could never really do this as he was trying to be back at home by 6 to be with his family.  I can understand this and perhaps he believes me to be some kind of deviant who would rather be out drinking then helping out his pregnant wife at home – or at least that how it sounded when I was told about it.

Another “truth” was about how I misled him about my skillset, even though I told him what I knew from the start.  Now both me and him were hoping I’d absorb some skills faster, but I alas I did not.   Still, he felt like I lied to him, so my guess is he is doing the same back to me.

One that really got to me was about how I was lazy.  When he first hired me, he was desperate for people just to show up who were trustworthy.  He complained about how people would flake constantly – which they did.  I arranged for him to pick me up in the mornings – which took a toll on him timewise nonetheless – to go the jobsite with him 40+ miles away.

When I was there, I worked in 90+ degree humidity outside on scaffolding.  Now he was generous and bought me and our co-worker lunch everyday as well as provided us with water to keep us hydrated. To be sure he wasn’t a slave driver, and he shouldn’t sound like such.

At several points I did complain about a lack of boards to stand on when we started going four stories up.  I  brought up the idea of safety-harnesses, but he mentioned that it would just get in the way and make us even less safe.

I have no idea if that’s really true or not, but wow right?  Also note that he went up there with us in those precarious positions trying to get work done, so definitely he put himself on the line as well.

Now, I’m not exaggerating how open I was with him.  I even talked about me and my wife’s sex lives – a mistake in hindsight – and how it helped us as a couple.    This was kindly relayed to her parents that all I cared about is sex and apparently how I’m not to be trusted.   In particular, this blew me away.

Wisdom, Resolve, and the Long-Game

A hard lesson to learn from betrayal is that your natural state – open and honest – can be very dangerous to you and your family life.  Even after this, I find the idea of talking less, being more deliberate about the company I am genuine with, and concluding that many more snakes exist in the grass then I admit to be a tough pill to swallow.

Recently, I saw him at my in-laws “Life group” meeting they hold at their house.   Determined for my wife’s sake, I played nice.  It was then that I heard a story involving my old bosses’ wife and some terrible things they had been through.

Wondering whether this had something to do with the backstab held my anger in check.  Because of that, I’m taking the long view.   Honestly, I still desire vengeance or at least some kind of vindication from this betrayal.   You never realize how powerful of a motivator justice can be until you start to strongly desire it.

Given the chance I wonder, would he come clean and apologize to me or pretend it didn’t happen and act as everything was jolly?

What if the chain-of-information provided to me was wrong or someone did indeed exaggerate and elaborate details? Patience is necessary when trying to smoke out what was really said.   I shall indeed play the long-game.

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.

My Life Motto: Live as if People Matter.

“Live as if people matter,” was one of platforms that  Thomas Chalmers urged his congregation and community to take into account for their lives.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about this statement almost every day. 

What I’ve realized is how hard it really is to attain and practice in my daily life. While selfishness may be a behavior and attitude that plagues our society at large, it certainly plagues me as well. 

I think about how I spend my time. Do I spend every waking second, “living as if people matter?”  No, not that much if I’m going to be honest with myself. In my free time, I hang out with friends, play online games, hit up Half-Times on Tuesday, and whatever else suits my fancy. 

Sure, I’m tired after work, but isn’t everyone else? I guess I can’t make that excuse. If I wanted to use my time productively, I would invest my time in other people’s lives.  Instead the temptation is to throw money their way and keep my time to myself, but that may be the pinnacle of my selfish nature.  Will I give the man a fish, or will I teach him how to fish? I can guess what takes more time.

One thing I’ve realized I can do is apply this motto, “Live as if people matter” to my time that is not free. When I’m at work this will be a tough, exhausting, and difficult attitude to maintain – specifically with my retail job – but I must persevere nonetheless. It may involve going out of my way, staying later, throwing up the 40 LB bags of birdseed, and even alot of other people’s job for them, but I must persevere in it regardless. 

Will I be a doormat to some degree? Perhaps. Will people know that the doormat is there to help them because it legitimately cares? Absolutely. I’ve certainly used Christ as a doormat and he’s forgiven me, so I must do the same.