Priorities

I am completely burnt out. It's my fault, obviously. I have a mental issue, failure to consistently choose priorities.


I have known about this issue for most of my life now, but I haven't been able to resolve it. And, realistically, I'm ambivalent about it. One of the reasons that I've been able to do so many cool things is because I'm all over the place. But, it definitely holds me back. Let's go over a few of things I'm working on and how I'm trying to manage them, and then we'll dive into some theory on how I might be able to resolve some of this.

I've been driving so hard over the last few weeks on the political battle with Dalton Township that the stress wore me out. A couple of days ago I fell asleep while reading, woke up, stumbled into the kitchen and opened the fridge, and there, right in my face, was some pizza. I ate two pieces. I just wasn't mentally prepared at that moment for it to be there, to resist the temptation. Well, my digestive system can't take that. Then, the next day I ate some salami that I reacted to a bit. Then, the next day I woke up sick. That's today. I don't have days to spend on recovery right now so I have to press on.

I edited a 7,000 word horror story today. I think it went pretty well. It's difficult to focus on something like that when you're sick and tired. I'm also still working on editing the stories for the "Horror Without Borders" anthology. I'm not too stressed about that.

I am a little stressed about the Harry Potter speeches in two days. The woman that organizes it hasn't been responding to my messages. I bought cap guns to use instead of the muzzleloader pistols I borrowed, because there was some concern about those. I did do my own tattoos that turned out pretty well. And, I did carve my own wand, which looks decent. I'm still working on two of the speeches, but I'll get them.

For the last few weeks I've had significantly fewer students in the morning, apparently because it's exam time in China. That's really putting a squeeze on my already poorly managed finances. That's stressful.

I haven't made any progress on the business, or much of my own writing, or any philosophy, recently. That's disturbing. I didn't get to paying my quarterly taxes. My computer mouse is broken. My car needs some new parts, that I have, I just have to connect with the mechanic to get them on. Etc, etc, etc. A bunch of other stuff.

One of the biggest things that's going to help is that other people are moving forward with the township recall, election, and prosecution projects. I just don't have the personal capacity, or the desire, to do all of that. It would have to become my full life, and I would probably end up dedicating the next 5 years to fixing Dalton Township. My life expectancy is 5 to 15 years, it's just not worth it for me. I did a lot to get the ball rolling, and I think that was mine to do, now it's someone else's turn to push.

In the end, that's all fairly normal I think. But, how do I get away from being normal and manage this better?

I don't know. Let's throw some things out here and see what we can arrange. My personality scores are odd, and definitely work against things like success, order, consistency, and structure. So, I have to come up with something a bit different.

I was thinking about this over the last week, choke points and bottlenecks. What if I just focused on those? For anything that I want to do my major bottlenecks are health and money. As far as health goes I think I've recovered from some stuff that most people wouldn't be able to recover from, but I still push it to the limit and sometimes find my breaking point, just like driving down my immunity right now. And money, I've just never focused on money, I need to fix that. But, I don't seem to have the natural internal drive for it.

The three-tier priority system I designed sounds great, and seems logical, it just hasn't helped me. Art, business, and philosophy are tier-one. Since I made that system I have done almost nothing with any of those. So, it's useless.

Health and money are means to ends. Without knowing the ends that I'm pursuing I think the motivation fades. Unless, of course, you make them ends in themselves. I used to do that for fitness, but I think that's behind me now. I need a reason to pursue either health or money, and it can't be for things like comfort or to avoid bad things, because that doesn't seem to work for me. (I'm not sure I can, or want to, become money obsessed. But, maybe I need to for awhile.)

Thus, we are at the conclusion that we must focus on meaning before means. That's what I tried to do with the three-tier failure. Tight systems are fragile, they're easy to break. Maybe I need to make the system even more flexible. What if I only have two main categories: meanings and means?

I will write more on meaning in life at a later point, but quickly; meaning in life comes from the real pursuit of true value. Real and true are interesting words in that sentence, they have to do with not being self-deceived and not contradicting yourself across time, as well as being more objective in general. Things become objective by expanding the perspective across time and points of view and noticing what remains consistent. If you didn't get all of that, that's okay. It's too much to cover in a paragraph. In the end, to a large extent, meaning has to be judged by something like intuition anyway, it's more of a feeling than anything. You could call it something like generalized accumulative tacit knowledge if you want to sound like you have a graduate degree, or you could call it something like spirit if you want to sound spiritual. Aligning your soul with the will of God would be the best religious one. All the same thing.

Alright, so, to orient myself in the world I need to first determine meanings. This completely changes how you perceive the world, which then changes how you act. To some extent I do this. Almost every night before I sleep I write down my creative, experiential, and attitudinal values for the day and tomorrow. That has been the most effective program like that I've ever encountered. I made it up, based on using psychologist Viktor Frankl's meaning categories across time.

Maybe this is where my three-tier model could come in? Which one of the nine categories feels the most meaningful at any given time: art, business, philosophy, romance, health, adventure, religion, politics, fun?

What are we really getting at here? Is it something like psychological orientation in the field of life values? Maybe.

Since choices have to be made, then sacrifices have to be made. You can't do everything, especially not at the same time. That's called opportunity cost in economics. Maybe, when I make a choice to pursue one meaning I should do some kind of ritualized sacrifice of another meaning that is the opportunity cost? I might be onto something there.

Instead of goals and objectives, check out "Systemantics" by John Gall to see why those often don't work, what if I had areas of interest to explore? That sounds more like me. I cannot see the end, I am walking into the unknown, so how can I have a goal that is the end?

(Here's something else that should have been in that book: 1) Complex systems usually operate in failure mode. 2) Humans are complex systems.)

Motivation is linear at the most basic level. You can move toward something or away from it. Something new that's close to you in time and/or space will cause behavioral inhibition, caution. Something new that's further away from you in time and/or space will cause behavioral exploration, curiosity. Caution may protect you at times, but "all the caution in the world will not feed you." That's one of my favorite quotes from psychologist Jordan Peterson.

(Curiosity killed the cat is famous. There's a set of better phrases that are less well known that go something like, Caution was the primary cause of the cat's general malaise and self-loathing.)

We have a lot of information here, can I pull anything out of it?

Meaning before means.

Some unknown mechanism for guiding the pursuit of meaning, let's call it the Internal Meaning Mechanism.

Areas of interest to explore: art, business, philosophy, health, adventure, romance, religion, politics, fun.

Maybe some kind of ritual when a choice is made.

Alright, I'm not sure that helps at all, lol.

What about an anergy/energy ratio?

What's anergy? This is from "Systemantics".

- - - - - - -

Any state or condition of the Universe, or of any portion of it, that requires the expenditure of human effort or ingenuity to bring it into line with human desires, needs, or pleasures is defined as an ANERGY-STATE.
ANERGY is measured in units of effort required to bring about the desired change.

- - - - - - -

That's really my problem right now, I have way, way more anergy than energy. I'm completely out of balance. My mother always told me that life is about balance and being flexible. Maybe we're really looking for something like an anergy/energy equivalency. We're getting really close to just reinventing the idea of flow, which is a balance between skill and challenge, but I like anergy much better, I think it goes with meaning better.

Alright, what if I assess the anergy state of each of my nine areas, and then guestimate the energy needed to resolve the anergy state in a satisfactory way? I think that might lead to something. Maybe I could do that for individual projects. Yeah, level of dissatisfaction compared to the amount of effort needed to bring it into alignment with satisfaction. Life should be based around that.

Now I just have to figure out how to apply that. Maybe next time, because right now I'm tired and need to sleep so that I can get a couple of important projects done tomorrow.

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You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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