You gotta enjoy the pain to get the gains!

I’ve been struggling a lot with motivation recently. My will to learn languages and also my will to socialize with people have both died down a lot. I also wasn’t as motivated to write blog posts as I usually am. I thought this was all very strange because I normally really enjoy all of these things. I was starting to get annoyed and the fact that I wasn’t as interested as I used to be began to stress me out as well. I’m sure all of you have beaten yourself up about something and then gotten angry at yourself for beating yourself up about said thing. That’s exactly what I was doing and it definitely wasn’t helping the situation. I decided to force myself to socialize and also to try to chose a language and to stick to it for more than a month and a half. I also forced myself to sit down at the library and just type until something good came out.

Forcing myself to socialize got me out and talking to people, but I felt like I was being disingenuous for some reason. The interactions weren’t fun and enriching like they normally were. I still kind of enjoyed myself, but it felt like something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on what though.

Things were more or less the same on the linguistic side of things. I managed and still am managing to stick to one language. I think I’ve been on the same language for the past two or three weeks. I love languages, but I feel like I’ve now reached a point where I’m only studying the language every day to not lose my momentum. I also normally enjoy finding strange peculiarities in different languages and the more they differ from English, the more interesting I generally find them to be. That’s not what was happening and it was just stressing me out.

Another issue I was having was coming up with ideas for new blog posts. When I first started this blog, I loved the simple act of just writing. I didn’t really have a set list of topics that I wanted to cover, I just wanted to share ideas with the world in the hopes of maybe helping people or generating discussions that would ultimately lead to helping people. As time went on, I started to run low on ideas and began forcing myself to just write. I was very dissatisfied with the content and a lot of it never ended up getting posted. As I mentioned above I spent an hour at the library yesterday trying to force out a new article and it was trash and I ended up just deleting most of it. I continued to wonder why all of this was happening for the longest time until it dawned on me earlier tonight as I was walking home. ( This was composed on the night of January 22nd, 2019)

I was too outcome dependent and was no longer enjoying the journey itself!

I figured it out! I was no longer enjoying the journey itself. I was always only thinking about the end goal. It’s important to have an end goal in mind, but you have to enjoy the road to that goal or you may end up either falling short, giving up early or not putting in as much effort as you could have. I used to love socializing with people just because I love social interactions and talking to people. If I made a new friend or learned something enriching as a result of socializing with people then that was a bonus. It was never really my ultimate goal to make people my friends or to gain anything, I just wanted to socialize, enjoy the moment and to push my social comfort zone and what ever good came from it was a bonus.

The same thing applies to language learning. I used to just enjoy the process of learning new languages. Soaking up the words, phrases and grammar were fascinating to me. I also loved being able to mentally compare languages to one another in my mind. Although I’d always try to visualize myself speaking the language for motivational reasons, I never really had a finite, ultimate end goal. My plan was always to just enjoy studying every day and where ever that journey took me would be where it took me. If I met cool people as a result of learning a language, cool. If I could watch some cool new show without subtitles, cool! What ever happened in the end wasn’t important. The only thing that was important was that I enjoyed the process itself. 

I came to the exact same conclusion here and figured out why I wasn’t enjoying writing for this blog as much as I was accustomed to. I was writing to see the number of posts go up. I wasn’t writing because I was enjoying it anymore. I was doing it because I was trying to live up to an imaginary standard that I’d set for myself… without even noticing it. I write a lot better when I get inspired and then just share what ever new knowledge the inspiration has brought to me with the world. That’s exactly what I’m doing right now and it feels so much better, authentic and natural than it did yesterday… when I sat down in the library and tried to force it. Now, I’m enjoying the process and not the end result. The end result is still in sight, but the process is the most important part.

If you seek, you MIGHT find!

How did I come to this conclusion? A lot of introspection. I like to sit down and ask myself why I do the things I do. I try to be as honest with myself as possible. It’s not always easy. There are a lot of truths about ourselves that we KNOW are true, but we just refuse to either accept or believe them. “You can hide from reality, but you can’t hide from the consequences of hiding from reality” is a quote that I really like. I find that although digging deep into the deepest recesses of one’s mind can hurt, it can also lead to growth that can cancel out the pain.

If you’ve seen any of the movies in the insidious series, then you know about the place they call the “Further”. It’s almost like a purgatory, but evil souls stay there. Some of the characters in the series eventually have to venture through the Further and are confronted by many demons and challenges, but ultimately emerge triumphant and stronger on the other side. This is how I believe introspection should work. I’m not telling people to learn how to astral project their souls into the Further or to battle literal demons. I’m saying that the Further can almost be seen as an analogy for your mind. When you look deep inside yourself, you’ll face demons and challenges. You’ll kind of feel like you’re in the Further. In the movie, they generally use lanterns to see and find their way around in the Further because it’s dark and gloomy. The lanterns are analogous to truth. 

Follow the light and you’ll find the truth. The truth can hurt like the demons in the series, so be prepared for that. There’s a scene in insidious where they escape the Further, but forget to close the spirit door and demons come out with them into the regular world. They eventually banish the demons back to the Further. This is what happens when you get hit with a truth that you don’t want to accept. It sucks, but you have to try and own it. Once you own it, it can no longer define you and you can metaphorically banish the pain it caused you back to Hell.

It’s not always this dramatic, but my point here is that I was lost and had some questions and problems, so I looked deep inside of myself and figured out the answers. I’m not going to lie, you won’t always find the answer(s) you’re looking for, but you won’t know until you try! I tried and am finding my motivation again! 

Real life

People routinely call me an over thinker, but I try to apply this introspective mindset to almost everything I do. With friendships, I routinely ask myself if the friendship is still healthy and making both parties involved happy. In romantic relationships I ask myself the same things and urge the girl to do the same thing. In jobs I regularly asses my own performance and routinely ask myself if I’m happy with the job and if keeping it benefits me. A few other recent examples are;“Has my Italian gotten as bad as I think it has and how how can I fix it?” “Am I gaining healthy weight or bad weight and what can I do about it?”. 

Am I insecure? Kind of. Everybody kind of is to an extent, but that’s not why I do this. I do this because I’ve seen how easily I can lie to myself. Lying to myself caused me to keep jobs that were wearing me down, to hang around negative people, to hold onto unhealthy beliefs and many more things that led to pain. If I lied to myself about my skill in a specific language I may end up getting worse in the language because I refuse to believe that I need to go back and put more work into it. If I lie to myself about weight gain, I might wake up with a lot of unhealthy extra weight that would take more effort to burn off than if I had just accepted the truth earlier.

Lying to myself prevents me from reaching my true potential and holds me back. Constantly digging into my own mind helps me to act more quickly when something isn’t working out in life. Despite this, I still do frequently deny truths because I don’t want to accept them. It’s a characteristic of being human and I accept that, but still try to do my best.

Conclusion 

Alright, so I know this article was kind of all over the place, but my main message is that I was feeling kind of lost and lacking motivation to do things I normally enjoy doing. I couldn’t figure out why I was lacking motivation because all of the things I mentioned are things that I normally enjoy greatly. I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t enjoying things as much as before because I had become too outcome dependent. I only had my eye on the end result and was somehow trying to skip everything that leads up to that point.

How did I figure out why I wasn’t enjoying the things as much as I used to and how have I started taking steps toward starting to enjoy them as much as I previously did? I started introspecting more to try and figure out the route causes. I dug deep and was honest with myself and found the answer. Is it always this easy? Nope. Do I always find the answer? Nope. It’s still worth a try though!

The first moral of the story is that you need to make sure you learn to enjoy the process. For me I have to just learn to just enjoy socializing for the sake of socializing again. I need to learn to start enjoying language learning because its fun and interesting and I need to write because I’m inspired and because I want to. 

How about for you? Do you want to get more lean? Learn to enjoy the pain of going to the gym and waking up sore and stiff the next day. Want to be a good skater? Learn to enjoy falling and getting back up again. It’s important to have goals! Never forget that, but enjoy the process of reaching those goals… not just the goals themselves. So in other words, you gotta enjoy the Pain(Journey) to get the Gains(End goals)  

The second moral of the story is that if you ever feel stuck or lost in life, sit down and ask yourself the hard questions you’ve been avoiding. Really go deep into your mind and you may just find the answer! 

These two things go hand in hand!

As always, keep pushing your comfort zones and never stat comfortable!

This picture was taken in Rome, Italy

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