(I started this post on Wednesday morning, 10/11/17)
I stayed up later than I should have last night. My reason only partially rational, more because of my obsessiveness than anything else. I have always been an obsessive comparer, examiner, and learner. I usually try to combine this aspect of my personality with tasks as a way to add interest, motivation, and energy to the project at hand. This quirky quality has been part of my secret sauce of success. By joining an obsessive interest with a task I not only move forward on that task, but I also learn more about my interest du jour. Some may think of obsessiveness as a liability. However, I choose to turn negatives into positives. If all you have are potatoes to eat don’t fret, empower yourself and learn how to make potato soup!
One of my goals, when I retire, has been to write more. A while back I decided that I was going to start that process before retirement as the more I would practice writing the better writer I would become (in theory anyway).
I felt I could be more motivated and more productive if I did some of my writing outside of my house. The Riverwalk, the library, Starbucks, wherever. Naturally, this idea created more obsessional questions. What device should I write on? Which software? When should I write? As you can see I like thinking about trivial things. In reality, I can’t shut down my brain; my ever running brain can sometimes be annoying at times, even to me.
I have been trying out various gadgets to compose on. My iPhone, my iPhone with a folding keyboard, an iPad Mini. Last night I dug through my gadget collection and came up with what I am typing on now, an 11” MacBook Air. This may sound impressive until you realize that this is one of the original Airs, built in 2010 (now almost an 8-year-old computer). I bought it when I would spend every Thursday night at the Rockford Holiday Inn. Now, I wasn’t even sure that it would power up, but I was determined to locate it and try. I was up late finding the computer, its power brick, a bag to carry it in… well you get the picture. All of the above was a poor excuse to stay up late.
Finally asleep, the rain and thunder came. Boom, splash, boom… sleep interrupted. At 3:40 AM my alarm went off and I felt like… well, death. I hit the snooze bar once but I knew that I had to either give in to sleep or force my body upright. Although it looked terrible outside my feet were on the floor, face washed, teeth brushed.
I have planned for inclement weather and I have waterproof “duck” shoes, a rain jacket, and an umbrella. Those articles of clothing purchased after a different obsessive thinking process a few years back. The goal then was to make sure that I wouldn’t have a reason to not walk in the mornings. That planning has paid off many times; I may get damp, but I always have dry feet!
I am not saying that my obsessive planning should be the model for others to follow, it can be pretty crazy. With that said I work with people all of the time who do no planning. They impulsively make decisions with magical thinking. They spend money that they don’t have and think that somehow that money will appear when the charge card bill comes. They get involved in bad relationships on an impulsive attraction forgetting past disasters that were similarly motivated. They make major decisions, like quitting a job without acquiring a new one. Usually, these folks are resourceful and they seem to get by. However, it is a pattern of short-term gratification followed by long-term stress. Sadly, they often continue to think that the next cycle of impulsiveness will solve their problems. Once again getting quick short-term relief followed by long-term misery. Over the long run even resourcefulness fails, resulting in tremendous financial stress, relationship stress and emotional stress.
It would seem that the best life solution for most people would be somewhere between obsessiveness and impulsiveness. A place of balance. However, we no longer live in a moderate world, we live in a world of extremes. Absolute artificial boundaries where once lived gradations of options.
We are creatures of habit but we have the capacity to change. Why not explore your patterns of behavior. If you are getting unsatisfactory outcomes in your life it may be time to change.