Morning Rituals, The Religion of The Clock

I’ve got a love hate relationship with the morning. Today, I just decided to skip morning, waking around 11am. I am not supremely proud of this number, but it is just time.

Ideally I wake up around 7am. Not impressive for many, but you know what? Everyone should mind their own damn business and do what works for them.

We are obsessed with the clock. Four digits separated by a colon determines so many of our feelings, encompasses our stress, and dictates where and how we operate.

I don’t think that the concept of time is inherently bad. I’d honestly be surprised if anyone can honestly define what time actually is. I like St. Augustine’s answer when asked about the nature of time he replied “I know what it is until asked to define it.” Or something along those lines. I’ve never been a reliable quoter of others. This will karmically come back to bite me in the ass someday.

Anyways, I like 7am. I can perform the sacred morning rituals in relative peace while leisurely farting.

First, program the coffee unit. While he drips the succulent heart racing brew, I ready myself. I sit outside and meditate. Sometimes it’s a wild goose chase after my thoughts with a paltry attempt to wrangle them. Other times it’s a relatively transcendental experience with my brain coming near to the dreamlike state I just got out of bed from. Those days are nice.

Whether my brain is a wild flurry of thoughts or tranquil pool of reflection, I always sit and shut up in the morning. I figure if I’m not even listening to me then who the hell else would?

Then I get the oil heating up. Somewhat literally. I put a large chunk of coconut oil in my black coffee which keeps me gastro-intestinally satiated and also doubles as a nice lip gloss. I’m thinking of ditching coffee though, or at least replacing it with this substance I have only heard of in legends known as “Titanium Tea” Yeah, I know, it’s a douchey west-coast bro’ed out kind of name. It consists of pu erh tea, ginger, turmeric, and coconut oil. Why ditch coffee? Let’s be honest, I will never be able to fill the void the dark mistress has created in my neuro receptors. That alone is a pretty good reason to stop something. But I’ve found that coffee is just a little too jittery for my already tenuously race track mind. Sometimes it’s hard to focus and get one single task done when my coffee levels are off the charts.

So, with this cup of whatever I’m drinking, I read. Every morning, ten to thirty minutes. Whatever I want.

All of this has taken place outside so far. Why? To eliminate morning peevishness of course.

This all seems far more regimented than I actually am. That’s because it is. That’s why I have morning rituals now. To gain more structure. I doubt I will ever fully embrace the religion of the clock, but knowing where I stand in relation to it is useful for material existence.

After only 45 minutes or less in the morning I have already won my day. I’ve figured out where m head’s at, how my body feels, got a bit of nutrition in, pondered another’s ideas and can confidently move into the rest of the day. Whatever it may bring.

Praxis: The Origin Stories

I ain’t gonna lie, this is not what I need to be doing right now. I need to be making dinner so I can get outta the house to go to a concert I am on the list for. Though it’s not that I’m trying to avoid writing today. In fact, I just wrote over a thousand words for a project I started. I’ve tentatively named it “Praxis: The Origin Stories.”

My aim is to write an expository piece on any willing Praxis participants, past or present. Why? Well, the genesis came from a four hour conversation with 8 or so other participants a few nights ago. We were covering a wide variety of topics, interests, passions, and personal problems. It struck me that while we all have such varied personal goals we are all in the same program. How did we all get here? Why? What can be gleaned from our disparate paths all converging here? So, my aim is to explore as many willing participants back stories to find continuities, synchronicities, peculiarities, and other gems. 

Primarily, this is for my growth. I’ve been listening to interviews all summer and have been itching to try my hand at the medium. People always seem to like talking to me. Maybe I’m socially ignorant and have been misinterpreting that, but whatever. I’m not forcing anyone to do anything.

I also think the end product will be pretty cool marketing for Praxis to use or not use however they wish. I strongly believe in the Praxis mission and anything I can create that they might find value in works for me.

Plus it’s a good way to meet my fellow Praxians and find out if we can help each other more specifically in life. You gotta start conversations to find out what people need. We can also learn a lot from each other’s failures and successes. It’s also good personal storytelling practice for participants who would like to hone their skills.

I’m not sure exactly how it’s all going to shape out, but you know what, I don’t care. I’m doing, that’s what’s important to me right now.  

Now, dinner!

Exes and Innards: Not at All What You’re Thinking

Hello!

Welcome back. Let’s riff on something I’m highly unqualified to discuss in public. Psychology. More specifically, introverted personalities in contrast to extroverted ones.

Luckily my ignorance is deep, so I don’t have to pretend to understand any of the fine nuances of neuroscience or be steeped in the famous experiments. I’m free to be as academically or socially incorrect as I please and only have my esteem in your eyes to risk. I’ll take the chance.

I hear people throw around the words introverted and extroverted often. Especially on the internet where everyone suddenly claims to be an introvert. I’ll hear things like “Well I enjoy working out by myself or reading books so I’m definitely an introvert.” or it will go the other way “I’ve always had lots of friends and get ideas from others, I’m totally an extrovert.”

We have problems here. Simply being able to enjoy socializing without paralyzing anxiety does not make you an extrovert. Enjoying alone time does not make you an introvert. Though each can be markers of traits. Let me stop beating around the definition bush here.

Introverts recharge from being alone. Extroverts recharge by being around people.

Recharge: collect your thoughts, perform synthesis of ideas, breathe easier, feel a general feeling of peace.

You are not exactly 100% either. But, but….“OUTLIERS!” Yes, yes, I hear you. For the sake of my small brain and internet reading time let’s ignore the outliers, the sociopaths and what not. Biology is infinitely immense and we still can’t even figure out exactly what space is even though it comprises 99.9999% of the universe. I’m just a guy typing nonsense listening to Wu-Tang, wearing flip-flops. Chill out.

Even if you are an intense introvert you can still get good ideas and juju from people. In fact, I tend to think it’s nearly impossible to have any original idea in a social vacuum. To write novels, songs, articles you must have characters, an audience, and a plot that weaves them together, I would be hard pressed to imagine a scenario of someone locking themselves up for ten years and creating anything beyond sad monotone watercolors and boring poetry.

We humans are like live wires that spark of each other to create fires.

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s not like the extroverts are in the middle of a party sitting at a typewriter, writing genius material, chugging beers and dosing with LSD.

Even Outliers Can Switch Sides
Outliers. Love ’em or hate ’em, gotta respect their passion.

Even the consummate extrovert requires some time away from the group to create. Though the extrovert is more likely than the introvert to immediately show off their work to anyone who will pay any attention to it and them. The introverts will castigate the extroverts for this tendency using words like narcissist and self aggrandizing, but they’re simply projecting their own insecurities with their judgment. The extrovert simply wants feedback and to riff on it. The introvert wants their work to reflect their precious unique mind.

The extroverts are members of the ready, fire, aim school. Whereas introverts measure 48 times then make the single cut.

As numerous caveats have belabored , it is rare that anyone is perched solely on one end of the spectrum. Though you are likely more towards one end than the other.

Why does this matter at all?

I think the world would be better off if we were honest with ourselves and our interests. To paraphrase someone more intelligent, the world doesn’t need people trying to vaguely help each other out, it needs people who are interested. Only from people following their passions and creating effectively can we help each other. To follow your passions efficiently you must know what circumstances you learn and perform best in. Knowing your own recipe of outwards and inwards inspiration is a huge factor in creating for us silly apelike animals.

Turn down that party invitation if you are tired. Go out and schmooze it up if you are feeling sapped and dull after days of seclusion. Try every version and mixture of socialization and ascetic monkdom.

Find out what mixture works, do that, make stuff you like.

You Are Destroying You

It seemed to be stagnating. My life, my happiness. I had good routines in place, I was getting in shape, eating well, sharpening my skills, when the ugly beast of of complacency reared its head. To be fair, there’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling complacent, we are actually supposed to enjoy living, believe it or not. It’s the dirty little friends that complacency brings around that stink: boredom, fear of change, and the anxiety those two create.

Immersing yourself in good feelings and positive feedback is, ironically, one of the most poisonous things you can achieve. Let’s be clear that I’m not saying the pursuit of self improvement is dangerous, it’s the illusion that you’ve reached a peak which starts the problems.

What was a radically new and healthy routine for yourself, once adopted and achieved, can soon become a prison from which opportunities pass you by. The acceptance of healthy change can soon take the form of a safety blanket that inhibits any further change.

I don’t mean to paint this issue as an inevitable catch-22. In fact, Joseph Heller wrote “Catch-22” to criticize rigid thinking and the madness of regimentation, and, of course, the terror of war.

We’re not talking about war here, we’re talking about feeling low down despite strict adoption of a regimen that once was designed to, and did for a while, make you feel better.  

I don’t suggest any rash negation of habits which do measurably improve your quality of life. Don’t just quit exercising because you have a temporary lapse of inspiration. Deliberately constructing a new lifestyle is hard and will inevitably contain moments of discomfort.

At the same time don’t treat any of your daily routines or weekly habits as dogma. Give it a few weeks of deliberate concentration and honest feedback about what’s working and what’s not.

Write it down. Don’t hold your feedback in the ether, where the mind can justify anything.

Finally, get out of your big dumb head. Go help someone, or research problems that people have. Think of solutions for others. This. Is. The. Most. Important. Thing. In. Life.

Your happiness is a side effect of how much you can help other people. I don’t say this in the tired sense of ingratiating altruism. I mean it in the the very real sense of how humans interact.

Beside socio and psychopaths, humans generally want to see each other succeed, or at worst, see no harm come to any of us. Beyond that basic desire, what stratifies us on the scale of supremely successful to negative turd, is how many people you can help.

The only way to fully realize your success is to get out of your head and start addressing the pains of others. Whether you ask for monetary compensation for your time and effort is up to you. Just be honest with yourself about your compensation or else you will quickly begin to resent those you are helping, and lose your success.

So keep your habits or obliterate them, they are a distraction anyways. The real habit we all need to cultivate is awareness of how we can aid others. Or in other words, an acute sense of reality.

What will actually determine your success is not a constant inward focus on how many miles you’ve run, words typed, or grams of protein imbibed. It is your ability to look outside of yourself with open and sympathetic vision.

Your Mother Was Not Wrong

I hope you consider yourself a smart person. I bet you do. You can admit it, we’re in a safe space here. We don’t need any of that coy humility you put on for everyone else. Most people who go out of their way to read a post on the internet probably consider themselves intelligent. I’ve always thought I was rather clever. Maybe even, dare I say, special.

flibjib

What is being intelligent or smart entail anyways? At its most basic, I suppose being considered smart is differentiating yourself in a way that others consider desirous or is demonstrably productive. It is certainly not restricted to a vast knowledge of calculus or Shakespeare. I have a feeling that being smart at an Insane Clown Posse concert is wildly different than among a group of backpackers in the wilderness.

Can everybody be considered intelligent?

What makes me or you special? Even if only in our own minds. Do you have a list of seven things you excel at more than most that you could, right now, off the top of your head, lay down as proof? I’m not sure I could definitively.

I think that’s okay. Honestly I have a twinge of guilt or worry if anyone tells me that I’m smart. Mainly because I assume they’re pandering, but also because I see what goes on in my head. If all these silly and sometimes destructive thoughts are interpreted as intelligence by someone, man, I hate to see what their idea of dumb or crazy looks like inside.

Without excessive self-deprecation here, I know that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed in every situation. And the idea of intelligence in a social situation is highly relative. The person who knows how to use a pressurized paint gun in a room full of paintbrush users is king. Rarely though are there such clean cut instances of being head and shoulders above the rest in life.

There will always be races, sales contests, spelling bees, and cook-offs that force ordinal ranking on exceptionalism. That’s fine and good for entertainment, but narrow skill or knowledge contests can dramatically inflate or deflate your own perception of your exceptionalism. Even if you get third place in the ultra-marathon, you still have read every Ernest Hemingway novel and can cite him conversationally. Though this doesn’t mean you are more intelligent than the first place winner who is illiterate, because they can start a fire without matches in any weather. That doesn’t mean they are more intelligent either.

Races and contests are ways of inspecting one sliver of your intelligence.

I like to think that everyone is indeed smart, but the metrics for calculating such intelligence are nearly infinite. This is why it’s important that you do the calculations yourself, because nobody is going to take you at your word and simply accept that you are smart. Like I’ve said before, if you aren’t selling yourself, then nobody is.

So maybe think of seven or three things you are better at than most. Write them down and list a few concrete reasons under each of them to back up the claim.

Or don’t. At least your mother knows you’re special.

You Are A Strange Language

What does getting better every day entail?

For some it is a baseless platitude. It feels good to say nice things about yourself to the world and rest easy knowing that most everyone will take your exclamations at face value.  

For some it means waking up at 4am and dogging themselves through thankless and sometimes unnecessary chores.

Most everybody lies somewhere on this spectrum between tireless self-flagellation and comfortable lies. Neither are correct.

I think it was James Altucher who first introduced me to the concept of improving 1% everyday. It’s a nice comfortable theory, but also has serious repercussions if applied. He actually does the math too and calculates the compounding effect from this improvement to a nice rhetorical effect.

It’s hard for me to envision myself as a math equation when it’s a rainy Thursday, I have a headache, and I know I should be completing some aspect of a project that will teach me or otherwise move me towards a goal.

As a side note, I’m really getting sick of the term “goal.” I think it has too many overly specific and negative overtones. When I say goals I mean potential future ideals that I could possess. Could be tomorrow or in 34 years.

So, back to shitty Thursday. First off, I am not going to be able to improve myself even a tenth of a percent if I don’t know what I want. The hardest part about difficult days is that even your guiding motives can become obscured and unfixed. Existential tailspins are a great way to waste time and convince yourself you’re having effective introspection. There is nothing wrong with seriously reassessing your mission, in fact, if you’ve been having an undue number of bad days, I’d say that you have a paradigm shift waiting for you.

I’m not talking about constant existential dread. You’re having a bad day, but know it’s not systemic, you just need to get at least 1% better.

In Case of ‘Blegh’, Do This

  1. Go sweat. It’s simple. Do it in whatever fashion suits you. Raising your heart and breath is like a system reboot. It clears your mind and either, allows room for new thoughts to come in, or at least gives you a respite from your own tired hamster wheel of a brain.
  2. Call someone you respect. Not just any friend or family member. Maybe you don’t even know the person. Get in touch with someone you respect and talk. Don’t come right out with your problems. Start a dialogue. It will either be in a completely different tangent than where your mind is at, or it will evolve into diagnosing your perceived difficulties. It’s all about either fleshing out or flushing out.
  3. Eat or drink something. Also, make sure it’s not complete garbage. Yes, obvious. That’s why you should seriously consider this one, because often the obvious reasons are the most overlooked. No? Have you ever frantically looked for your car keys only to realize they’re in your hand?
  4. Sit down, set a timer on your phone for ten minutes, start paying attention to your breath, close your eyes, and shut up. Gently push thoughts away as they arise and after the ten minutes slowly open your eyes, stretch, and immediately create.
  5. Quit. Say it out loud to yourself. Look in the mirror and say “I quit!” then go sit alone in a chair facing the wall until you notice how pitiful and lame you feel. Turn the self pity into anger, then let it distill into rage. Now create.
  6. Email me. kellyhackmann@gmail.com. Seriously, I don’t mind. If you can effectively lay out three solid reasons why you can’t improve yourself in the slightest today, then I will create and dedicate an entire website to you. Of course, the website will be entirely directed towards mocking you, but I’ll do it.

You don’t have to do all of these. Just start at the top of the list and keep moving down it until you start creating.

Learn Your Own Language

The biggest secret is to relax, and don’t make this a subjective ego battle with the Joneses. The problem with improvement metaphors using math is that people think their measly 1% is pathetic next to Todd’s 7.3%. Screw Todd. Life is not a fixed pie chart. When you grow yourself you are expanding opportunities for many.

Think of your personal improvement like learning a strange language. Nobody else speaks it yet, and you are the only one learning it. Nobody else can help you with the specifics like vocabulary, syntax, or conjugation. You really want to learn it because you know that it will help your unlock a lot of truth about yourself. People can help you generally with broad sweeping advice, but the specific knowledge is up to you.

Everyone else is learning their own language. It does you no good to peek over at someone else’s progress because you can’t even comprehend it, even if you try and fake like you can. Facing back at your task, just break it down. Learn five vocabulary words, practice them for an hour or two, really comprehend them, and you’re done. Often, just thoroughly completing a tangible task sparks other genuine growth, if not, don’t worry. You got your 1%.

You learned more about yourself. You are bigger now. Tomorrow the bigger version of yourself will build on that foundation and so on. Truths like happiness and meaning are side effects of simply letting the future bigger version of you have their way right now. In this way you will become unstoppable.

Taste As You Go

I used to play a game with a past roommate of mine. Though I kept the fact that I was playing this game secret.

I’d notice something about the day that I thought was nice and then I’d tell her about it. Maybe the clouds were extra fluffy that day, or the breeze was exceptional, or maybe the air just smelled good. So I’d tell her something positive like that and see how many sentences into her response would inevitably turn negative. It was remarkable. Her ability to sour up and see the mud instead of the good things all around, astounded me.

I didn’t play the game to make fun of her and that’s not why I’m telling you about it. She was a well meaning person who was more responsible than many I know. It’s that she considered herself a bright shining positive person even though everyone I knew who interacted with her just felt drained after a few hours.

One of the very first girls I dated had this same characteristic. You can’t turn any kind of joke or find the silver lining around these types. I often find myself tiptoeing around any opinion I might have and instead often choose not to say anything, positive or otherwise.

I get it, we are not always on top of the world. I have days where I don’t find much amusing, and the level never seems to line up. Usually, on these downward facing days, I try to limit my exposure to others. I understand the contagious nature of being a glum constant critic. It’s no fun.

If I’m unable to sequester myself from social interactions, then I’m often quiet and brooding. Not ideal, but I keep my mouth shut. If there are more serious and tangible reasons for my maladjusted attitude then I will apologize and cancel any engagements. Better to not be there at all than spread undue negativity.

Everyone lies somewhere on the spectrum of tired cynic to bubbling sycophant. It is important to honestly assess where you are on a given day on the spectrum. Even if you can’t rearrange your schedule you can watch your thoughts throughout the day. Are you arguing with everybody? How many positive things have you said vs. negative? Are your comments really complaints or constructive feedback?

We are often churning pots full of ingredients. The flavors will change as we progress, regress, and digress. The best chefs only have loose recipes, their secret is that they taste as they go along and dial the flavor. There’s no perfect recipe to being perennially amiable, but you can check up on yourself every now and then.

Taste your emotional state as you go throughout your day and think about how your flavor is affecting others.

Do You Believe in Consent?

I think the idea of consent is fundamental to healthy relationships. From the micro level of  interpersonal, to the macro level of societal, mutual consent is the only way to construct a viable relationship.

I know this doesn’t seem like a controversial topic in de jour internet conversation, but I am often surprised at the conceptual duality people have for consent. I see a lot of people perform incredible mental acrobatics around the idea of consent.

Everyone knows that one person must get consent from another person to engage in any sort of sexual act. If you don’t know that, well, I bet your life has been interesting thus far to say the least. Anyways, for the rest of us, it is common sense that consent precedes any intimate encounter of any type. Hell, before I even enter someone’s house I usually ask for consent on whether my shoes should stay on or off. Not that many people would consider anything I’ve said to be that controversial. Until politics gets involved.

Somehow, miraculously, as soon as the words “legislative, executive, or judicial” come into the picture, everyone’s love of consent dissipates like a child’s smile on the first day of school.

We all know that consent is an absolute principle we should all live by, unless I think you should pay for something I think is important, like public radio or an oil pipeline. Then all peaceful options are off and you should really cough up 30% of your income to fulfill my desires.

I personally think that the book “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut is fairly important. Should I ask someone’s consent that I buy them the book and ship it to them or should I just take $10 out of their wallet, buy the book and give it to them and expect a thank you?

Not only will the latter situation not elicit the result I desire, but it is a morally bankrupt means of interaction. Everyone with an ethic of mutual consent sees the flaw in this scenario, yet everyday I see the same ethical people making the same mistake.

A lot of the intellectual conversation surrounding politics boils down to this, “Consent is important, but getting what I want is more important.

Many will shirk this off with a laugh and then keep wondering why the world doesn’t make sense to them. What’s really the issue here is the lack of creativity. People can’t imagine how society would order itself without a top down edict giver and consent sucker. They say, “Sure it’s preferable to have everyone’s consent, but if something really needs to get done then consent is an abstract concept.”

After giving up enough situational inches, the miles of moral fabric unravel easily. With this in mind it’s not hard to see why we’re here at this sordid election between two thieving megalomaniacs.

If you really love consent, stop paying it lip service, and live your life with the conviction that everyone deserves a choice.

The Great Spiral of Darkness

There are so many things that go wrong everyday. It’s rarely so neat as to be something large and identifiable, like losing a finger or having your house burn down. No, life is so much more insidious.

It’s a giant web of little tacks that poke holes in your daily ideal plans, assuming you have daily plans.

I had to lift up the toilet seat, uggh, every time I wanted to cross the street on my walk there were six cars coming, my feet are cold and I can’t concentrate gotta put on socks, the dog needs to be walked, ugh! Now I have no more clean clothes for tomorrow, I have to do laundry, and cook dinner for a few people, and it’s starting to rain! Does my car have an oil leak? Are the neighbors going to try and make me feel guilty for not drinking with them? What’s even the point anymore?

That paragraph was terrible to type, I’m sorry you had to read it. Though all of those thoughts went through my head for about ten seconds earlier today until I noticed what was happening. Then I laughed. Silly head games. Honest laughter is that satisfying eraser across the chicken scratch on the whiteboard of life. Especially when it’s directed at yourself.

Here’s the thing, all of those perceived problems are optional.

No, feelings of stress and strife are not optional. Those will always exist. The exotic quest of humanity to reach a constant consistent bliss or nirvana is absurd. Even those Buddhist monks who spend their whole lives in contemplation of these concepts know that only the amateur sees their pursuit as one of emotional avoidance.

Feelings are not optional, but they are not immutable. Feelings arise in relation to a structure you have erected. Change the structure, and you change the results.

How does all this mumbo jumbo translate into practical reality though?

Primarily, it all comes to understanding that you are in charge of your life. Sure, certain things will “happen” to you. The IRS, viruses, bird shit, boring people. Though you could avoid a few of those negative externalities, let’s face it, you can’t escape them all.

Aha! Then surely we should just give up and snivel away the rest of the day into a pint of B&J’s! Yes, certain days, go for it. But don’t think feeling sorry for yourself makes the world go away. It’s still there, smiling that crazy homeless man wearing a tutu outside you window beautiful sunrise every morning. Though you missed it while directing your thoughts in a hapless loop around your difficulties.

That’s the thing, while you were focusing on all the hardships, you missed the beauty, perpetuating an endless spiral of misery. “The great spiral of darkness” as my friend Alan said in his sleep one night.

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Thanks Alan, I’m so sorry for this picture.

Every second you spend whining is one not spent singing and the darkness only gets darker. So laugh. Like an insane person if you wish. Take seven deep breaths. Go jump up and down around your block. Climb halfway up that tree. Leap and do one of those heel click moves that leprechauns are known for.

Remember that you are in control, nobody is better than anybody else, and you’re so goddamn beautiful.

 

When Life Doesn’t Hand You Lemons

Asking for, or seeking out help, makes me feel guilty. Like I’m giving up, taking the easy way out, or wasting someone’s time.

I’ve always had a somewhat stoic outlook on life since I was a child. I read a lot of young adult fiction with strong silent types who get the job done in the face of adversity. Whether I was predisposed to be attracted to that type of protagonist or cultivated an interest remains to be seen.

Gary Paulsen’s novel “Hatchet” was the first. It was a book about a boy surviving alone in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Eventually, I read almost all of his books. And, as far as I can recall, they all feature a male protagonist coming of age on their own despite unfavorable conditions.

The only problem I had was that I never really had many unfavorable conditions growing up. I think this fact alone gave me a bit of guilt, or maybe anxiety. How was I going to become like the characters I admired if I didn’t have the forge of adversity to temper my character? Perhaps this is why I relished camping with the Boy Scouts every month of my teenage years, sleeping without a pad and getting cuts and bruises in the woods.

When life didn’t hand me lemons I ran naked and barefoot through the orchard looking for some.

I’m not convinced this strategy is a terrible one, but it does come with some pitfalls. Namely pride, a fierce independence, arrogance and social distance.

It has taken me years to be aware of and attempt to remedy these faults. I imagine I never will truly eliminate the vestiges of my childhood personality as is illustrated by my penchant for the solitude of writing, taking long isolated hikes, driving solo across this nation.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of others. I’m not an extreme introvert. In fact, I used to get in trouble at school for never shutting up and trying to make everyone crack up. Though, I believe a lot of that was trying to make the best of a bad situation. School sucks.

There’s only so many viably entertaining thoughts I can come up with on my own nowadays. It’s also hard to tell yourself a good joke and have an honest laugh. Fortunately though, I do have friends. Most of them are similar to me in their solitary nature. Thanks to the internet and phones I stay in touch with a surprising amount of people for someone with such hermetic proclivities.

So, while toying with the idea of joining Praxis, I was torn. My nature of shirking assistance and bootstrapping my life and education had to confront the reality that I have no practical knowledge of how to reach my next ideal.

It took me over six months of debating with myself over my participation in the program. Now, one month in, I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot fully escape my nature. I still have occasional pangs of guilt over the money I’m spending, asking for advice, and the fact that I have to follow a curriculum, albeit a very loose one. It’s hard for me to shake the feeling of insecurity when I’m relying on the guidance others.

It’s not that I suffer from an excess of hubris or crippling machismo. I’ve always been fairly humble and open to new ideas. In fact it may be the opposite, the idea that someone is wasting their time helping me when someone else who sincerely needs the help is missing out because of me.

The fact I’m coming to accept is that we all need help. Sometimes we need it most when we think we need it least. As Mr. Ziglar recently explained to me “the only way to get what you want in life, is to help others get what they want.”

I’m coming to sincerely believe that in order for me to effectively help others, I must quiet my inner confidence, and listen to the universe.