“Distractibility might be regarded as the mental equivalent of obesity. The palatability of certain kinds of mental stimulation seems to be hard wired, just as our taste of sugar, fat, and salt is. When we inhabit a highly engineered environment, the natural world begins to seem bland and tasteless, like broccoli compared to Cheetos. Stimulation begets a need for more stimulation; without it one feels antsy, unsettled. Hungry, almost”- The world beyond your head
I’m a firm believer in beginning your day on your terms. This practice is something I’ve implemented many times and I am constantly refining it. When your daily routine is pretty stable it’s nice to constantly build on having more and more control but my life these days is in constant flux. On the road with different people, schedules always changing etc but I always come back to it.
When you wake up and immediately grab your phone you are going to be at the mercy of whatever lies inside. Messages from people you have no interest in responding to, news reports that will scare you, and anything else others want to throw at you. It could go the other way as well. You may have loving messages from your friends and family, pictures from people that will inspire you etc but ultimately what you see and absorb is not your choice, and the rest of your day will unfold as a result. It’s basically a crap shoot.
When I used to run a gym I would get up at 3am so I could sit in peace for a while, drink some coffee, read, and write for 2 hours before leaving for work at 5am. This time of day was precious to me and I wouldn’t compromise it for anyone, or anything.
More recently I have slipped back into the old pattern of grabbing my phone upon waking – fortunately for me I have pretty much unfollowed all the complainers, or fear mongering people I’m ‘friends’ with on social media but it’s still an unhealthy habit I’m looking to free myself from once again.
Little by little, I will reclaim that time as purely my own again. An important thing to note here is that shit takes time. You will NEVER be perfect. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just chip away at things, and accomplish them gradually. Slip ups are normal, and just part of the game. When learning how to do anything, fuck ups are just part of the process, and a crucial part at that.
As each day unfolds you have a finite amount of energy to work with so by constantly saying things like ‘I’ll get to it later’ OR the worst lie you can tell yourself ‘I don’t have time’ is a killer to your mindset. Do the shit that is important to YOU first thing in the morning and then you don’t have to think about it the rest of the day. It’s done.
Since selling my gym and moving away I’ve been immersed in a world where my entire day is pretty much free of obligation to others (for the most part). This can also be dangerous. My buddy and I joke all the time because we rarely actually know what day it is. We have a running joke when trying to figure it out
– Hey Bro, what day is today?
As a result of that we can get sucked into patterns of being lazy and putting things off forever. When you choose to be lazy, somehow things have a way of popping up to take your time, and energy, regardless.
In short – If you don’t make your own schedule, someone else will make it for you. I’ve been meditating on this a lot the past few months. There is always someone, somewhere, that wants you to be a part of their schedule, or help them with their agenda, and if you don’t protect yours like your life depends on it you will be at their mercy. Your life does depend on it.
I’m not saying not to engage with people, or help someone out if they need you for something, I’m saying that if you don’t prioritize your own stuff first that you will have less energy to devote to it when you do have time.
In order to truly do this you will have to say no to people a lot, accept that you will upset people sometimes, and accept that you are being selfish. This is not a blanket statement that covers everything, and every one in your life, but another thing to realize is that people will come and go throughout your life but you have to live with yourself forever so at the end of the day who would you prefer to piss off – yourself, or them?
The process of shaping your life exactly how you want it to be is never ending and requires relentless discipline but it astonishes me how so many people put little to no effort into themselves. Admittedly I’m a bit of an extremist with all this – To me, my own time, and freedom, is the most valuable thing in the world but I feel that everyone can benefit from focusing on themselves just a little more.
This could be something as simple as reading for 10mins when you wake up, going to the gym, working on a new idea you have — whatever. Just don’t complain about not being X when you don’t put any effort in. You are only one who truly has control.