I don’t mean that I’m bad, like I hurt people and do evil things.
I mean I’m bad, like, I’m bad at being a person. I even say that a lot which probably doesn’t help because we tend to be whatever we say and think we are.
And that right there is exactly my point. Exactly.
For the most part, I know precisely what I could be doing to make my life better.
While some people fumble through life because they’re ignorant and lack resources and support and education, I’m a different animal entirely.
I’m reasonably well-informed about many things and am a huge proponent of “best practices” in every imaginable area of life.
I’m always spouting examples while standing on soapboxes because I can talk a big game when I don’t actually have to put in any work or suffer the consequences of being wrong.
I’m always wondering why the City of Cleveland can’t take cues from Chicago as to how to properly develop lakefront property.
I’m always wondering why the American education system can’t take cues from all of the other countries with vastly superior academic (and economic) results and borrow all of the good ideas and put them into practice here.
In other words, for almost every imaginable subject, someone has taken the time to figure out a really effective way of doing something.
And it’s almost always in a book or on the internet. And if it’s not? Great! That means there’s a huge opportunity there to fill that content gap and help other people solve problems or excel in that particular niche.
Almost always in 2014, the information is there. Someone really smart has figured out a really effective way to overcome <insert random problem here> and now you can benefit from their trial-and-error and do things with better results than flying blind.
So, what’s my excuse?
The Table Analogy
I love the table analogy because it’s so easy to visualize and understand.
Your life is like a table.
Your life’s foundation has four pillars—like legs on a table. Not only do the legs need to be long enough, strong enough, and sturdy enough. But they also must all be equally balanced, or else your life is going to wobble and be shitty and annoying and you’re going to have to temporarily wedge a piece of junk under the short leg to stay level and functional.
Everything good and bad in life ultimately comes down to health. If you’re not healthy, nothing else matters. It’s a lesson you don’t learn until you’re unhealthy or are close to someone who becomes sick or injured.
Problems at work and in your relationships and with money stop mattering when you think you might die.
The four legs:
Mental health (Read, talk, think, learn)
Physical health (Good overall health, physical fitness)
Spiritual health (Peace, gratitude, forgiveness)
Emotional health (Love yourself, balance in your meaningful relationships)
People think they want money. Love (even though many people are merely craving feelings of infatuation and lust). Success, in whatever ways they define it in their individual pursuits.
I submit that those things are nice and are inevitable byproducts of succeeding in balancing their life table.
People really just want contentment.
The world could be blowing up around us, and if we had enough dopamine (the chemical that makes us feel happy) rocking our brains, everything would seem great.
I know these things.
I know that if I take steps to exercise my mind. To bring my body to maximum health and peak performance. To achieve spiritual peace. And find emotional equilibrium in my various relationships.
That I will feel something akin to happiness. To peace. To contentment. To balance.
So, what am I waiting for?
The Things that Motivate Us
I think it’s different for everyone.
I cleaned and (sort of) organized my home office desk for the first time since April 2013 yesterday because I’m going to have some family visiting for the rest of the week and it was getting embarrassing.
I like to exercise my mind to have things to think about, talk about and write about.
I like to be physically fit so girls won’t think I’m ugly.
I like to be spiritually balanced because it makes me feel safer and stronger.
I like to be emotionally level because I never knew what it was like to NOT feel that way until a couple years ago, and it totally jacked me up and I haven’t been the same since.
When I was married, I did almost everything for my wife, and later, for my wife and son.
She probably doesn’t know that.
She probably doesn’t realize that almost every single thing I did for the 12-plus years we were together, was because we were together.
Sure, I did some shitty, selfish things. The kind of things I do now just because there’s no one around to convince me otherwise.
I wanted to be smart because I wanted her to be proud of me.
I wanted to look good so she would like to be seen in public together and not be disgusted in bed with me.
I wanted to be spiritually whole so that she could have a spiritual partner and anchor as we dealt with life’s ups and downs together.
I was emotionally level, naturally. It’s REALLY shocking when that goes away for the first time and you don’t know what that looks or feels like.
When your partner leaves, all that motivation—all that purpose for existing—goes away, too.
And it can really jack you up when you’re wired like me.
I talk a big game. A big game about self improvement and who I want to be and how I’m always working hard to be that guy.
I’m not working hard.
I’m being lazy. I’m letting depression (if that’s what it is—I don’t feel sad, I just feel nothing) win. And then I’m sitting around asking rhetorical questions about why I still feel a bit shitty all these months later.
Surprise, asshole. It’s not magic.
It’s not magic.
Happiness, if that’s a word you’re comfortable using, is not a destination. So many people think that if X, Y and Z happen, then they will finally be happy. You know, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
I love to talk about pursuing happiness. And I do, symbolically, feel like that’s what we all should be doing. That the primary goal of our lives is to BE and FEEL happy and then help everyone around us be and feel the same.
But the truth is, happiness isn’t a place.
Happiness isn’t a destination.
Rather, happiness is a path. A state of being.
Like love, it’s something we choose. Today. Right this second.
Maybe you don’t feel happy. I don’t. But maybe that’s because I don’t act grateful. Maybe that’s because I don’t exercise my mind and work harder to achieve my goals. Maybe that’s because I’m not in very good physical shape and it makes me feel physically and psychologically shittier than I could and should feel. Maybe that’s because I’m not living up to the spiritual ideals I profess to hold dear.
Maybe it’s because my table is totally wobbly and shitty.
Maybe if I did all those things, emotional balance would come.
And maybe if I got my life table balanced, all of the other things, like love and money would fall into place.
Maybe waiting around for something to happen is really just a life sentence of always waiting around for something to happen.
Doing what I’m doing? Not working.
So tomorrow we try something new.
But what if there is no tomorrow?
Right now, we try something new.