Insanity goes both ways

It’s often been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. However, this is almost exclusively applied to negative behavioral patterns: laziness, foolish money management, drug abuse, and generally not taking good care of oneself.

However, I believe it’s crucial to recognize that this can also be said of healthy habits. Make no mistake, if you dedicate yourself to taking the necessary steps to improve your life—getting good, regular sleep, exercising, living within your means, devoting time to a hobby, etc—you will start to see positive results. Your life will (not might, will) get better. Things that once seemed out of reach will begin to manifest themselves in your daily life.

Once this happens, it may be tempting to think that these benefits will not last, or that they will plateau. If you’ve been living with harmful habits, in a world where nothing good seems to last and everything painful seems to stick around, it’s understandable that you might have trust issues once you start to turn a corner. But don’t despair. If you stick to your positive changes, if you continue to exhibit the same behaviors that have been making your life more fulfilling, it isn’t logical to think that a continuation of these behaviors will suddenly start to yield negative results.

So this is your admonition for the day: the hardest part of good habits is getting into them; once you’ve started, stick with it, and don’t ever doubt that your life will keep getting better. It won’t be free of setbacks and troubles, but it will be worth it.

To think otherwise would be insane.

Song of the day

Fuck it up

Complacency is a killer.

Last November, after a long and arduous battle with drug and alcohol abuse, I finally decided to stop fighting a battle I’d known for a long time I couldn’t win. I had good insurance and checked myself into rehab, and I’ve been sober ever since. The reason it took so long for me to make such a big change in my life is that all my bad habits had become normal to me. By the time I hit rock bottom, it wasn’t as if I’d “hit” it at all; I’d actually been resting there for quite some time, unaware.

Essentially, I’d adjusted to the misery so well that I hardly even recognized that I was miserable. I think we’re all capable of allowing this to happen to ourselves. We become numb, barely noticing our struggles or our successes. We develop a routine, fall into a pattern, and even if we’re unhappy, we fall victim to complacency, thinking to ourselves, “Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to fuck this up!”

If that sounds familiar to you, if you’re aching for something better but are nervous about the prospect of turning your whole world on its head, this is my admonition to you: Do it. Fuck it up. Even if it means abandoning everything that’s become familiar and comfortable. Life is much too short to be quite well-adjusted to misery.

Difficulty: Expert

William Makepeace Thackeray once urged, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Most of us have a handful of things we’re passionate about, things we love doing, things in which we’d love even more to achieve a high level of skill. But if you really want to be an expert in something, you have to approach the task as if it were a video game set on expert mode. Sure, it’s great to flawlessly play a song on Guitar Hero, but if you have the difficulty set to Easy, you know this isn’t really an accomplishment to be proud of, let alone to brag about.

In short, don’t settle for the hollow, false sense of accomplishment which stems from taking the easy road. Although such victories are less difficult and time-consuming, you’ll know deep down that you’ve cheated yourself out of the indescribable sense of pride one feels when they’re confident that they’ve truly mastered their craft. Yes, it takes timetime that will often move achingly slowlyand yes, the road to true success is fraught with failures, rejections, and setbacks. But perseverance through these obstacles is what will make your eventual triumph worth it.

Think of it this way: if you were born a prodigy of literally everything, if you were immediately a master of any skill you attempted to learn… would it be possible to ever find true satisfaction? I think not.

Song of the day

Welcome to Your Daily Admonition

ad·mon·ish

ədˈmäniSH/

verb

1. reprimand someone firmly

2. advise or urge someone earnestly

3. warn someone of something to be avoided

At first, I was planning on naming this blog “Your Daily Encouragement”.  Think about that word—encouragement—for a moment. The root word is courage, which is something we all need in greater supply. But an encouragement is most often thought of these days as someone patting you on the back and saying, “Way to go!” or, “Keep up the good work!”

But I didn’t start this blog to tell internet strangers that they’re doing great and to keep on keeping on. There’s enough of that on the world wide web as it is, most of it quite nice but utterly ineffective. However, neither is it my goal to tell you that you suck and your life is a fucking mess, because there’s also more than enough of that on the internet, and it’s equally fruitless.

Instead, what you will find on this blog will be meant to kick you in the ass, to rattle you out of complacency, and to inspire within you the necessary boldness to start doing whatever it is you’ve been putting off—in short, to admonish you. 

This blog is designed to be your quick daily reminder (and my own, to be honest) that regardless of your particular situation, there are areas of your life—perhaps your physical and mental health, your finances, your shortcomings, your passions, etc—that you can and should improve. Almost every goal you currently have is slowly but surely becoming one of two things: something you will have done by your life’s end, or something you will wish you’d done. It’s up to you.

No really, it’s up to you.