Letters For My Sons

Month: November 2014

Who The Fuck Gives Up Booze In 40 Degree Heat: #NoNothingNovember Sucks Balls

Three weeks ago I was sunning myself in the warm glow of self-righteousness.

Oh yes, I thought sanctimoniously, it will be easy.  Alcohol is a fool’s drug, opiate of the masses, ale of the unwashed, sedater of the hordes, and other assorted lordly metaphors.

I, being of strong mind and stronger body, will have no trouble easing myself off such a lowly, and frankly, pitifully stupefying liquid, I thought humbly.  Such is the strength of my resolve that amber ales will quake in their tall, icy glasses and think frothily: “I have no hope of being quaffed in this place!”

It was all so simple in the cool mornings and warm boozy days of October.  Days rolled by without effort, always toward an afternoon of cool golden bitterness, with sides of juicy charred meat and ridiculously drunk conversation.  Toward the end of that beautiful month of sordid love affairs with Stella Artois and Coronas with lime and salt I dreamed of what I thought was a better place:

A month without beer.

Now, I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent man.  I’ve calculated the precise parabola the Earth traces as one looks at the sun.  I’ve created businesses and raised children.  I have even cooked a fucking mean chicken boscaiola. Even though I cannot for the life of me spell it.  But for some reason unbeknownst to me, the fabled nature of my eisteinian intellect failed to inform me of a slight problem with my plan.

That being, November in Australia is STEAMINGLY, INSANELY, HOT.

The last week has been utter hell on earth.  Day after day of close to 40 degree heat (that’s 104 Fahrenheit for the Seppos) has left me standing at the fridge, door in hand, staring lovingly, nay, lustily at the ribbons of condensation forming spitefully on my beer.

I’ve spent afternoons thinking of nothing but whetting my lips upon a cold one, inhaling draughts of cooling relaxing coma-inducing lager until the heat is nothing but a fading, laughable memory.

But, my resolve is strong.  I shall not, I will not, I cannot.  It would be personally mortifying to so blatantly break my own promise.  I decided, and, though a slightly stupid time to make such a heartbreaking decision, I stand by it.

Fuck you, #NoNothingNovember.  I won’t be so silly next year.

 

Hate = Promotions: How Audacity Pays Off

Two years ago I was righteously pissed.

The organization I worked for seemed to do everything in the worst way possible.  I had just developed my iPhone apps, looked around, and saw that the IT component of my work operated just like the washed-up body of a bloated whale; i.e. Completely Fucked With Shit Everywhere.

 

bloated whale

 

Now, I work a blue-collar job.  I tighten nuts and bolts for a living.  I love what I do; it’s very rewarding.  It’s reasonably technical, and a lot like a chess game; all the pieces have to be in the right place at the right time.

But, like a lot of blue-collars, I know that physical work carries a limited life-span.  Digging trenches and carrying loads into my fifties and sixties motivates me like an icepick in the eye.

I also know that there is a very hard ceiling on my wallet.  Two years ago I was five years into my job and three-quarters of the way to that ceiling.  Knowing that for the rest of my life I would be relying on the company agreeing to wage rises to guarantee an increase in my standard of living put a monumental dampener on any enjoyment I had in my work.

Every job I worked has been better than the one before.  That’s not by accident.  I think it should be the goal of intelligent young man to weigh his work up and improve his lot.

The questions I have asked myself are:

  • Money:  Does it pay more?  Does a higher annual rate mean you’ll be working more hours (not good), or that the hourly rate is higher (very good)?
  • Conditions: Do you work your ass off, or is it a laid back environment?  Are there contract conditions that make your job more enjoyable?
  • Experience: Is this job going to help you down the track?  Will you learn manual, leadership or technical skills that make you more awesome outside of your job?
  • Time:  How much time do you save each week at this job?

I dunno about you, but I want to spend as little time as possible working at my job.  I would rather be working on building an independent income, enjoying my hobbies, and playing with my kids.

Travel time to the job takes that time away.  Overtime work takes that time away.  Working weekends takes that time away, and you will never ever have it again.  Getting paid for overtime is only cool if you REALLY NEED the money, ie you can’t eat or have nowhere to sleep.

Most middle class bovines work overtime so they can spend it on their new couch.  That’s eight hours of your life GONE.  It’s gone working for someone else’s agenda and some overpriced tartan furniture.

 

"Diane, I will happily give up my weekends to give you furniture we can't sit on.  I wuv you too snugglebunny "

“I’ll happily give up my weekends to give you furniture we can’t sit on, Diane. I wuv you too snugglebunny “

 

All these things were on my mind.  But that’s not why I wrote that hate-filled email.

Back to being righteously pissed.

I hate inefficiency.  Even when making breakfast, I do it in the most efficient way possible.  I make the minimum of trips to the fridge, to the cupboard.  When someone moves my oatmeal, I start breaking shit.

 

 

So when I started working for this bloated corpse of a company, I felt a lot of internal turmoil.  Things were outdated, software was redundant, double-handling was rife.  Working there rubbed against many of the things I held dear.

I gathered my pissed-offedness and hate into a mental USB stick and downloaded it into an email.  Several rewrites later I had a frothing, laser-sharp review of the atrocious nature of our IT.  After staring at the screen blankly for a few moments, I took my future into my control.

I sent it to the GM.

Immediately I started sweating.  But I backed myself.  Come what may, I’d said my piece.  I was doing my bit to battle the burden of omniscience.

After a tense two weeks in which I wondered whether I still had my job, I received a reply.  The GM thanked me profusely and put me in touch with the manager of IT, who then ensured I had access to the people who could make a difference.

Two years later and that email is paying off with a move to IT.

I really wanted permission to send that email.  But I asked no one and told no one.  I was scared, but it payed off in spades.  During #NoNothingNovember as I reflect on not asking for permission, it strikes me as no coincidence that the most audacious act of my working life would occur now.

I have no degree.  I don’t need one.  If you’ve never been to university you’d be surprised how stupid 90% of the students are.  I’ve worked only sales and blue collar jobs.  Many of the men there are far more intelligent than any graduate.

If you are working a blue collar job, and you want something more, you can move on and up.  Do not believe them when they say you MUST have a degree or qualification.  If you are intelligent enough, if you show enough initiative, people will find YOU.

Buck the trend and get what you want.

failure michael jordan

The Golden Rule Of Achievement

I’ve failed.

I’m fucking hopeless.  Just hopeless.  Just like the losers out there who can’t stop masturbating.  The guys who have no self-control, who fold like cards, who justify their actions through meaningless arguments… I’m just like them.

Except I’m not.

My phone got the better of me.

Except it didn’t.

This is the difference between enhancing your life with goal-setting, and being a slave to your super-ego.

 

What is the super-ego?

 

He’s your internal cop.  He’s the one who says “you shouldn’t”.  He makes you feel terrible when you fail, and beats you up psychologically.

He makes you feel guilty.

The superego is our internal policeman. It decides right or wrong, do it or don’t do it, permitted or not permitted. It is the superego that produces feelings of shame and guilt. It is the superego that inhibits and prevents; it makes us obey the rules, both legal and social. The superego stops us.

Jack Willis, Reichian Therapy – The Technique, for Home Use.

 

Most men’s super-ego represents as their father.  Depending on your father’s attitude towards discipline, your super-ego may be chilled out, or, as in my case, a fucking asshole who rules every moment of your life with what you should be doing.

If he’s a bully, you can’t win.  If you won, you didn’t win well enough.  If you failed, there is no hope for you, you piece of shit.

 

My Internal Attitude to Goal Setting

 

I read the r/TheRedPill forum and was surprised at the amount of young guys having trouble getting what they want.  I shouldn’t have been.  No schools I know of teach the proper attitude to achievement.  It’s a skill that needs to be learnt, and it takes a while to learn it.

The media shows us plenty of great men doing great things, while riding in chariots of gold-plated greatness.  If you’re like me when I was in my twenties you think “I can do that!”

You try.

And try.

And try again.

And fail over and over and over.

And when you fail, you berate yourself.

Why can’t I finish what I started?  Why does it seem like everyone else is getting somewhere?  Why do I seem to get in my own way?  Why does it seem like I want to fail, when I do it so often?  Am I really a loser?  Am I just a Weak Willed Pussy?

This is your super-ego, and he needs to be shushed.

There is one, and only one, golden rule to achievement.

When you fail, never ever berate yourself.

This rule is so important I will repeat it:

When you fail, NEVER EVER berate yourself.

When you fail and beat yourself up, you are dealing yourself pain.  Beating up yourself is far worse and far more insidious than anyone else doing it to you.  Guilt starts to build within you.  You start to avoid setting goals.

Ever wondered why after you fail at a goal you take a while to start again?

Pain avoidance.

You’ve heard that negative self-talk can destroy you.  Well, there is only one time when it is supremely important that you talk positively to yourself.

After you fail.

 

failure michael jordan

 

Failure is inevitable.  You cannot try and not fail in your life.  The secret of winners is that they continue to try, over and over again.  But in their heads they are whispering “I don’t like that you failed, but it’s ok.  You discovered x, y and z about yourself.  There’s always next time.  There’s always next time.”

There is always next time.  You can try and try until you succeed.  The only one you are racing against is yourself.  You’ll never beat him.  But you can both lose if you don’t get your head right.

You have to think long term.  It doesn’t matter if you take 6 months, or a year, or five years to get what you want.  If you don’t get it the first time, it is obvious there is more for you to learn before you can achieve it.  You will learn so much in your journey, and will look back and marvel at how far you’ve come.

When you stop berating yourself, you can then deal with the other roadblocks in your way.  Fear of success, and fear of the unknown are common issues, but are only accessible after the super-ego has been quieted.

 

…..

 

I failed at #NoNothingNovember.

What did I do?  I checked email.

Why did I do that?  I was entirely aware of what I was doing, that I was failing at my goal.

What was the alternative?

That I wouldn’t get a very important delivery when I wanted it.

Goals shouldn’t get in the way of an enjoyable life.  There is certainly a place for discomfort in goal-setting, but in this case, my actions are completely justifiable to myself.

I feel no guilt.  I feel no shame.  I have not beat myself up in any way.  I’ve admitted my failure to myself, but I will continue to not use my iPhone in the way that I committed to.

#NoNothingNovember goes on, and I go with it.

 

In Which I Stop Being Such A Pussy. Mostly. #NoNothingNovember

“Don’t you ever fucking lie to me again.”

She looked extremely pissed.  And as usual I completely underestimated her pissed-offedness, and snickered to myself.

That was the last straw.  She stormed out, slamming the door.  NoNothingNovember was becoming very interesting.

…..

I’ve been trying to define the last of my goals for #NoNothingNovember.  I’m a pretty logical guy, and I tend to get slightly obsessive about defining things very specifically.  But not asking for permission has been giving me a little grief.

I’ve been trying to find an example in my life where I could practice owning my authority.  I want to own my life completely.  I want to make the decisions that affect my life without requiring someone else’s authority.

My realisation is that the authority I give others is utterly under my control.

Well, sort of.

It’s under my control if I realise that I’m doing it.  Part of the problem is that giving authority is a hugely subconscious act, and one that has been ingrained from childhood.  I had an extremely authoritarian and dominating father, one who  commanded authority and demanded submission.  My siblings and I were scared lambs under his god-like rule.  I learned early on that to question authority led to pain, and lots of it.

Fortunately, my character is such that I continued to do it, despite the pain.  However that early conditioning ensured that I did so only under the right conditions, where the risk of confrontation, especially physical confrontation with men, was at a minimum.

The last two years of my self-work have been focussed almost exclusively on overcoming that early conditioning, and establishing my footing within the world of men.  Previously my standing had mostly been bluff, and that had worked for over ten years.  After faking it for so long, I have now made it.  My confidence is complete, and I know I belong.

Now, I’m just tidying up the edges.

Asking for permission is one of the last pieces in the puzzle.  I read Danger and Play’s article on audacity, and it struck a note with me.  Being audacious means being your own boss.  No-one else will tell you to be audacious.

And that brings me back to my wife, and my first trial of not asking for permission.

…..

I’ve been wanting to try testosterone boosters for a while now.  I’ve heard they are of little use, but I’m not going down the steroid path.  A friend had mentioned he was seeing some results from a booster, so I discarded my trepidation and bought a bottle.

Trepidation?

My wife vehemently dislikes t-boosters.  She is a nurse and likes supplements to be throughly tested.  She had the same issues when I went through a nootropics stage.  So I knew that if she found out, we would be having an argument, possibly a vicious one.

I’d ordered before I’d thought about entering #NNN, and so when the bottle came in the mail, I put it in my top drawer, and wondered how I was going to take the stuff morning and night without her finding out.

One afternoon she asked me, “What were those tablets you got in the mail the other day?”

Shit.  She HAD seen the package.

“Just some pre-workout pills.”  And that was that.

Enter #NoNothingNovember.  I started thinking about how much of a pussy I was being.  In my own house.  I was being ruled, not by my wife, but by my idea of her authority, and my fear of that.  I’d built up such a monumental gargoyle of authority in my subconscious that I’d lost sight of reality; that she is just another person in my life, with no authority over my actions.  I respect her opinions, but I do not have to follow them.  And in the end, they are just some fucking pills.

I am my own man.

…..

I pulled the pills out of my drawer and put them in the vitamin cupboard.

And waited.

Autopilot

Ritual De Lo Habitual, Or, I’m Reasonably Sure Jane Was Addicted To Her iPhone: #NoNothingNovember

Breaking habits is Zen in action.  I have to be aware every waking moment, for  my Autopilot works far better than I thought.  He’s basically a fully functioning human being without the capacity for reasonable thought.  He has no problem doing the things I have banned.  It’s slightly scary that he is in control 80% (or more) of my day to day existence..

 

Autopilot

And this is what he looks like. Pretty much a spitting image of me

 

My phone use is proving the most interesting at the moment.  Several habitual situations have reared up like superbly muscled stallions attacked by a bee swarm:

1. I can’t check email on my phone.  This was a deliberate decision, but I  found myself this morning tapping the icon before I’d thought about it.  Autopilot 1, Me 0.

 

2. I can’t check my blog dashboard.  This led me to an internal discussion about what is important about checking Google Analytics, which is the only reason I would visit my site on my phone.  I justified checking by saying that I needed to stay abreast of what was working to attract visitors and what was not.

I then countered with the argument that at this stage of the blog (less than 6 months old and less than 1000 page views a month) checking Analytics was nothing more than useless ego masturbation or crushing ego defeat, depending on what the numbers said.  Statistically, very little would affect blog progress, and there was nothing that couldn’t be handled at the beginning or end of each day.  I then congratulated myself for such a sensible and cleverly constructed argument, and toddled off for a well earned rest.  Me 1, Lawyers 0.

 

3. I like to read phone articles on the toilet.  So now I have to read old piss-stained editions of National Geographic. Did you know a teaspoon of nicotine contains 111 lethal doses?  Useless Trivia 54, Me 0.

 

4. I like to check my phone in bed in the mornings, on weekends and in the evenings sometimes.  Now I have to pay attention to my wife, who also joins me in bed it seems.  Because I don’t have a phone in my face I can put a vagina there instead. Me 4, My Wife 8.

 

5. More seriously, I often look for a moment’s reprieve from the loud, insistent, and occasionally cute onslaught of children.  This is one of the main reasons I have quit the phone for the month; I don’t want to be a role model with a phone in my face 50% of the time.  So many times I answer “Just checking something on my phone”, or “Just sending a message”, and my wife is much worse with constant FaceDouche updates.  My kids think it’s normal to have parents with phones for faces, and I don’t like that.

In addition, this momentary time I get on the phone is never good quality.  I get interrupted constantly, and am rarely able to finish what I am reading.  “What is the point?”  I asked myself in a moment of lucidity, after getting pillow-raped in the head by a five-year-old.

I decided then to actually be there with my kids.  So while I enjoy taking time out for a moment’s rest, in the long run I would rather be an awesome dad, and make the most of the time I have with my fast growing children.

Quality of Life 1, iPhone 0.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén