Make writing a habit

I was encouraged today

That's not to say that I haven't been encouraged before, though. But today's encouragement is better than yesterday's encouragement. There's that quote I saw, about 5 or so years ago: "Motivation is like a bath". They said it better, and the point was that it should be refreshed regularly. That was a novel idea to me, but I guess pretty much every good idea I learn is a novel idea to me, or else it wouldn't be a good idea, it would just be obvious and boring.

But what should I write about

If I want to impress myself and impress other people, I should write about stuff in a professional capacity.

If I want to impress myself and impress other other people, I should write about thoughts and ideas that I'm having, but only the good ones - the well thought out ones. And if an idea is bad, I should either think about it until it's good or put it away.

If I want to impress myself and impress yet another group of people, there's other methods and concepts and directions I can take this in. Here's an obvious truth: I'm going in a direction right now. I assure you that I'm not going anywhere deliberately, but that's exactly what I was trying to say.

I was apologizing to the aforementioned groups of potentially impressed people, for not catering to them. Because, you see, the natural direction for me to take this right now is not in their direction. Not because I don't like those directions, in fact, I quite look forward to the time when inspiration strikes such that I write along those lines. But because this is the natural direction for me to take this right now.

I enjoy typing, and I enjoy watching text fill up the screen. You see, there is something common in every one of the directions that I could take this, and it's that I'm impressing myself, by actually creating something instead of endlessly consuming. I won't write anything timeless anytime soon, but in order to write well I will have to write often. In order for inspiration to strike, I must be well-equipped.

Luck comes to the prepared. Well, I want to get lucky and have some clear and interesting thoughts worth writing about.

Can things only be consistently good if they're rare?

I find myself making this mistake a lot. If I particularly enjoy something after having it for the first time, I think "wow, that was so great. Too bad it's so rare". I don't understand why I naturally think that way, why I don't consider the thought process of "Hey I really liked that, I should do it again".

Is it really possible to have a consistent part of your life as your source of happiness? Or do we need constant change and struggle to feel good. Maybe a little bit of both. But also, when I find something consistent I believe that the enjoyment that I derive from it waxes and wanes.

I find myself always wanting to meet new people. The honeymoon phase of when you're just starting to get to know someone and you're both excited to see each other always makes me so happy. I did not have any best friends in high school, but I was well-liked and popular. I had a set of closest friends, but I didn't really know myself and I didn't really know them. My biggest fear upon going to college was that this would continue.

It didn't continue. It stopped continuing. I got close with people and made some really really real friends. But it didn't stop continuing in a way that I expected. It happened slowly, and it of course took effort, and it took luck. I had to get lucky to have the right topics come up in a conversation that would show me a side of this person that I was lucky enough to have in my life for the past few months/years to trust enough such that I would even get into this conversation with them in the first place. It's almost a circular dependency, but it was one that I started feeling comfortable breaking when I started caring about everyone around me.

So... I made some friends, and I'm proud of that. Good friends, that I really respect and care about. And I wasn't making those types of friends before because I wasn't surrounding myself with the right people. Well, that's only partially true. I was surrounded with good people - people that I have since become great friends with - but I wasn't ready to be that close with them. I (and they) needed to grow up first.

So when I was surrounded by good people, I wasn't making those types of friends because I wasn't listening, I wasn't talking, I wasn't steering conversations to topics that interested me. I was always just going along with the flow. I wasn't creating, I wasn't doing, I was just consuming.

That's why it's important to me to write - because I believe that exercising this creative muscle will allow me to express myself better in all walks of life. To communicate better in all walks of life. To disseminate and absorb knowledge more optimally - faster, and more happily.

So. Here's the flow:

  • write more
  • write better
  • Think better
    • No joke, writing and organizing my thoughts helps me find clarity
    • This bullet point wasn't in my brain but after it was all written down, the fact that this needed to be here became clear
    • This can be considered the end goal
  • communicate better
    • because I'll recognize what I'm thinking, and I won't accidentally not say the important base causes
    • listen better
  • Make more worthwhile relationships
    • This can also be considered the end goal
  • Be happier
    • Once again, this can be considered the end goal
  • Live a better life
    • Maybe this is the only true end goal, as the criterion of an end goal is basically that it makes me and others live a "better" life
      • Where "better" is purposefully left so ambiguous so I can morph the definition to mean anything

Think better

Reflecting on what I wrote, that's the crux. That's what I want to be able to do. Thoughts slip outta my mind all the goddamn time, it's honestly silly. More ideas slip outta my head than I want to. I'm okay with forgetting the dumb or the bad thoughts, but I wanna keep the interesting ones, or the ones that have potential to grow into good ideas, or the fun ones.

I want to recognize what I like, and to have good conversations with cool people about those things. Of course, I want to constantly learn, but a tenant of that is that the learning has to be fun, or else it's not worth it. So I wanna constantly be learning fun and cool things. And to learn fun and cool things, I'll need to seek them out. And to seek those out, I'll have to know what they are.

And it may seem silly, but I think I honestly really struggle with finding stuff that I find fun. That's why when I do find something, I stick with it so hard for so long. Which is great when the thing stays great, but it's bad when the thing stops being great. Then I'm holding onto the husk of something that just isn't getting any better, and we're back to square 1, where I don't believe in anything having the potential to be a constant source of happiness.

Maybe I'm just overtaxing what I do enjoy, and I need to find more varied interests to allow each item to pay maximum dividends. I see some contradictions in the way I'm thinking, but I need someone to explain them to me. Hah hah, I'm only half kidding. I think what I really need is a flow chart to help me visualize what I'm writing, cuz this text isn't straightforward enough to clarify what I'm trying to say.

The 2 sentence rule

With sufficient mastery, anything can be explained in 2 sentences.

But maybe you need to use words that have a lotta meaning. Words that can't be explained in less than 2 sentences, unless you're a master of the ideas and concepts that they entail. And the 2 sentence description of THESE words might... And so on and so forth, until you have the tree-like structure where each node's children set for a 2 sentence-long description of what the node means.

This theory holds true if you can assume that any pair of sentences can be reduced to a single word.

And even if you don't believe in powerful made-up words that are defined as their 2 sentence constituents (jargon or Three-Letter-Acronyms), then I say that the theory still holds. That mastery will allow a 2 sentence explanation. How can you fit more than 2 sentences of meaning in 2 sentences, without using cheating words? It's by definition impossible.

Not so. With mastery and empathy, you'll know how to summarize properly for your intended audience.

On One foot

There's a Jewish story that I love. Here's a link. The story that I linked wasn't as spiced up as the one I heard as a kid. The one I heard as a kid had m ore back and forth, but the spirit was exactly the same. The wisdom of 1000+ years distilled into a single sentence. If you can truly understand what "the golden rule" means, then there's no reason for you to study Torah, or read the bible, or anything, as you'll already be a good person and you'll know how to live optimally.

But no one truly has mastery over the golden rule. No one lives like that all the time. We're human, we make mistakes, both in action and in what we hold as truth. Biblically, the mistakes in action are undesirable but relatively excusable - unless they're not, in which case boom you're dead. But the mistakes in moral are almost never excusable, unless you're a really special type of person. Like, Moses (or Balaam) level special.

So! To display mastery over the thoughts I've expressed in this post, try to summarize it to yourself of 10 minutes ago (or whenever you started reading it). It's a weird exercise, partially because maybe this is confusing and partially because we forget what we used to not know - so now that you know more about my thoughts maybe you won't be able to as easily recognize how little you thought this all made sense before it all clicked.

My summary is this: I want to be able to live my life on one foot.