It was the last day of my 2 week resignation notice and I was hoping to get away without many colleagues knowing about my departure. There’s a morning meeting every day when management announce what they think needs to be said and I guess people quitting fits into that category.
“It’s his last day today so wish him good luck.”
You could hear some gasps within the circle of people. A few of them rushed to my vicinity eager to hear what was waiting for me but hoping to hear I wasn’t going on to something better. People can cope with their dreadful existence if they believe no else around them can do better.
“It’s either quit or stay here forever,” I said.
Perhaps no greater words have been spoken before but it wasn’t promising enough to spark widespread envy. Having perceived to have opened myself to life’s fury soothed their souls. To many there that job was a godsend for the unambitious. “Put in your years and you’re golden.” That way of thinking should have expired at least 30 years ago.
Some people probably had the idea that I thought I was too good for the job and would be sorry once I realized how “life really works.” Company nerds can take offence that someone would leave for what they perceive as nothing.
“You just have to accept it,” one said.
“Sometimes acceptance is the same as giving up.”
The words people will say to you depend greatly on the actions that have transpired. When the damage has already been done, thoughts on what you should have done go unspoken. As stupid as they might think you are all that’s left to be said are well wishes.
“Good luck, nice working with you.”
To accept a life that you dislike could mean that you’ve decided that there isn’t anything better for you. There’s peace when there is no one to fight. It may be true that this is as good as it gets but a lack of an imagination can take you to the end of the line prematurely. If you can imagine the reality of an idea then it’s likely to be realistic especially if it’s been done before. To not be at peace with the life you have may indicate that you believe there is something better for you. You don’t ever hate yourself for what you do not think is possible or expected of you.
A life of torment is referred to as an unimaginable hell not because it wasn’t a possibility but because it was a life one hoped would never happen to them. One who dreams for better possibilities than status quo is considered to have a good imagination but it’s not meant to be a compliment.
There’s a life we imagine for ourselves but we often set limits based on our environment and cultural conditioning. It’s like writing science fiction fantasy novels but not allowing the stories to ever leave Earth…you can only go so far.
Daily Prompt: Imaginary
“I learned how to win a little at a time. But finally I’ve learned this: if you’re too careful, your whole life can become a fuckin’ grind.”
One of the laws of life is “no risk no reward.” Sometimes we hold out hoping for an option that carries no risk and only reward. That doesn’t usually exist except for the ones who run the show and make the rules. The more you feel you have to lose the more risk that is involved. When a situation seems so dire though risk might not even seem like an issue.
I don’t believe risk is the same as sacrifice. With the latter you’re giving up something for something else. With risk you’re giving up something and you might get nothing or worse. In a long enough time line though the difference between risk and sacrifice can become blurred.
Since nothing is 100%, risk is involved all the time. You might think that supposed safe job is risk free but what happens when you’re at the age of 45 and it gets taken away from you all of a sudden or you’re stuck in a cycle of 9-5 misery. Some choices don’t seem risky only because they’re more widely accepted as standard practice. Half the time risk is just the possibility of feeling left out from society. What if you’re at the end of your life and wished you took that potentially life changing risk when you were 25? Can not taking a risk be considered risking your life?
Life rewards those who take risks because most people aren’t willing to take them. The fear of losing overpowers the desire to win. We’re a very risk adverse species when comfortable options are available.
The ones that took a risk and failed will tell you, “just work a job.” The ones that succeeded or who didn’t take a risk will say, “you don’t want to work for somebody for all of your life.” Most people will have a bias.
“I took a risk, I took a risk, you see all the angles, and never have the fucking stones to play one”
Like Blockbuster Video when the obvious end was near the game plan was to preserve life and hope for a turnaround. It’s always easier to hope and pray than to begin the transition onto seemingly nothing. I’ve often opted for the bitter end as it gave me the permission to do nothing. If someone or something chose to end it for me then in my head it released me from any possible regret of making the wrong choice. If I was the one to cut the cord then it was likely I was 99% sure it was over…almost nothing is 100%.
When the bitter end arrives the time to jump ship was long time ago. Inaction is often as detrimental as bad action but at least with the latter you tried. Doing nothing can be the same as rolling over and giving your attacker your neck. Hoping something will happen by staying the course can be just an excuse you tell yourself so that you don’t have to admit you’re a coward.
Paralyzed by the possibilities of feeling dumb the convenience of time is another reason to not make a move. Every moment you’re thinking of justifications to do nothing though is a moment you’re taking away from thinking about doing something. It’s a common practice to do nothing hoping that you’ll wake up one day on the shore of a paradise island. Taking action involves effort and discomfort.
It’s advantageous to know what you want in life because then it’s easy to decide what’s going to take you there or not. Not knowing leaves you floating in an ocean only to make a move when a storm appears. You only get so many chances before the last storm sucks you in while you look back at where you could have navigated to.
Daily Prompt: Bitter
On a recent adventure on YouTube I stumbled upon a video that I felt was worth clicking on. Stumbling upon videos on YouTube is like waking up at some stranger’s home after a night of binge drinking…you don’t remember how you got there.
I was never a big fan of singer/song writer Jewel but oddly enough I have her first album from a Craigslist buy of bulk CDs that I purchased in 2007. The video which I enjoyed got me to look up her Wikipedia page where I discovered that she had an autobiography. That took me to the Goodreads site and the ratings for the book were really good then I’m at the website of the local library and it tells me it has the book available.
So I borrow the book and I’m almost done reading it which is a semi-amazing task for me. Some kids have more karate trophies than I do completed books. It’s such an accomplishment for me to finish reading a book that I hang on to the ones I’ve read like they are trophies.
As a teenager, Jewel compiled her experiences from a shitty childhood, the hopeless ways of the ruined adults around her, and made it her goal to not end up a statistic. I’m not sure if the term “statistic” was what she used back then but basically she didn’t want to end up like every adult she met growing up. I was in my 30s before I was even aware I became a statistic or was at least becoming one. My focus for most of my life was how to better navigate my low level environment rather than focus on how to leave it behind.
There’s a lot of spiritual type writing in the book that concentrates on exploring her thoughts and emotions during times of crisis to help make sense of situations and to ultimately come out better and stronger. As with many other celebrity stories this one also has a tale of a fortune lost. She had such a deep attachment to her sub-par mother that she gave her full control of her money earned as a musician. 17 million albums sold later, Jewel finds out she’s broke. Fortunately for Jewel she was able to make it all back with her on-going success.
Jewel’s intention was to never be famous. She just wanted to get by with singing and music. Before she got signed by a record label she was living in her car, playing at small cafes and getting propositioned for sex by men looking to take advantage of her having no money.
I’ve enjoyed the book so far. It ranks up there with the other autobiographies I’ve read.
In the video she goes on stage at a bar disguised as someone else and sings her own songs.
The true measure of success is how much better you think you are than everyone else or at the very least the people who you associate with. Yes, it is based on a comparison basis. Some might label the bench warmer of a major professional sports team unsuccessful but that bench warmer is probably more successful than 95% of people on Earth.
The cliched true measure of success is living every day of your life doing what makes you happy. I’m not saying it’s not true but it’s what everyone will tell you these days even if they’re constantly trying to fool themselves and everyone else that their life fits the mantra. To succeed means to win but most are playing not to lose.
It’s rare that people live life doing what they want since most people work very hard doing the opposite. Giving up that job you hate that sustains your place in society can feel like the equivalent to death. Hardly anyone strives and holds out for greatness. Instead, most solidify their place in hell so that they can stay warm by being close to others.
The chance you take by shooting for success is loneliness. The road to success rarely comes with an entourage. You’re stupid until you make it and especially if you don’t. To succeed greatly you must be willing to fail greatly.
Daily Prompt: Measure
Over a decade ago I illegally downloaded an mp3 file of a Tony Robbins talk. Awake the Giant Within, was the title and after listening to it in its entirety I was motivated. The unfortunate part was that I had no goals or wasn’t honest to myself on how to achieve them. Just like having a bad day, I returned to my baseline normal after a good night’s sleep.
Though potentially effective the giant within will go back to being a midget if the motivational environment returns to its uninspiring regularity which is often the case. If I woke up to Tony Robbins kicking my ass every morning, life would be different. Unfortunately he’s not willing to give up millions of dollars every year to change my life. The only ones who might are your parents and chances are they’re not very inspiring.
Last night I was browsing blogs and came across one about a young man who grew up where I did. Around his 3rd year of university he decided his initial plan wasn’t going to take him where he wanted so he just upped and left to the oil fields of Alberta. After reading a few posts I felt like a loser. He’s 23 years old, owns 2 condos, a new BMW convertible and he’s far from the point of sitting back. Those are just material possessions but his work ethic, future endeavours and motivation are inspiring.
He’s been working in the worst Canadian winters for the last 3 years doing double digit hour shifts, studying and lifting weights so after reading a few more posts this morning, the least I could do was clean up my room! I’ve been putting it off forever, quietly telling myself, later. Even if I cleaned my room every day for the last 10 years I still can’t compare to this guy.
When the disparities are so vast, summing it up to motivation is just too simple. Every little piece of your environment from birth shapes your mindset. Perhaps this guy takes himself too seriously or is so unlikable that it’s easy for him to just dive into over-achieving…I don’t know. But it proves that how much you want something is dependent on how much you think you need to do it.
Typically most people won’t try harder than what they think is expected of them from the group they identify with. And often the people you do surround yourself with are your comfortable excuse to not accomplish more. “Later” is often an excuse to avoid discomfort hoping that you won’t have to deal with later.
Daily Prompt: Later