Thursday, January 10, 2019

Why I Will No Longer Recognize the Week

One of the main problems with life is that to merely survive takes all (and more) of your youth.  That to just get by you need to work two jobs, double time it to earn yourself a degree, double time it again to pay off the associated debts, and then still double time it a third time to establish yourself in a career.  If you do it right and are frugal along the way, you inevitably "win" where you have the American dream, no debts, and an adequate retirement account.  You are free to live your life and you're lucky if this happens before 40.  If you're not frugal, succumbing to the marketing industry's propaganda to buy expensive cars and houses through debt, you merely damn the remainder of your life to double timing it forever, dying penniless, or perhaps like most boomers - in debt. Thankfully, the majority of my readers are in the previous group where we are either already there, or well on our way, ensuring we do not waste our lives.

But there's a problem with success. For if I am ever to be remembered for anything, it will be my quote "Success is merely the replacement of one group of problems with slightly lesser ones."  And the reason why I will be remembered for that is because THAT IS PRECISELY THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS.  There is never a world without problems.  You may solve your larger ones first, but then you move onto smaller ones, then smaller ones, and smaller ones after that.  But they never end.  There is no world or life without problems.  And sometimes, the problems are there, but you don't see them because of how you attained success in the past.  Your work ethic blinds you.  Your fear of poverty and starvation prevent you from seeing them.  And in an ironic sense, what helped you attain these rare levels of success, ends up becoming the problem itself.  And in this case, it is your work ethic.  And so I'm here to warn you how your work ethic may come to harm you in your future.

I faced a very minor problem today, but it was "the" most prominent problem I faced.  I desperately would like to write more.  The "problem" is that Asshole Consulting, my youtube channel, and newer forms of alternative media (podcasting mainly) have taking increasingly larger percentages of my time.  This is good news because I'm making more money and they're successful, but now my days are not as open or care free as they once were.  Throw in on top of that I insist on enjoying life via having fun (hiking, motorcycle riding, golfing, adventuring), and there's an ever dwindling pot of time to satisfy the demands of my life. This is alright because I manage my time wisely and have the energy to usually meet all of my own self-imposed demands, but today it was different.  Today there was another factor.

It was just absolutely gorgeous outside.

The real stress over these genuinely 0 world problems came from the fact I haven't written a serious post in a long time.  And if I had enjoyed the day outside hiking, that would postpone the article I was 50% done with into Friday.  Friday's readership/traffic is less than "normal" weekdays, so I would once again fail to meet that deadline.  Yet, at the same time, staying indoors on a perfectly dry 72 degree and sunny day to finish a piece on "Red Pill Penetration Rates" sounded even worse.  Still, work is work and you have to work.  Work before pleasure.  Get your work done.  It is your work that allowed you this lofty choice in the first place.

But then I realized something.

I haven't had fun writing pieces, hitting the gym, going on hikes, doing videos and doing podcasts in about a year.  The original thrill and exhilaration that you're producing a good or a service that people want and the digital freedom that comes with it, only lasts so long.  And while I have total control and domain over my schedule and I answer to no one, trying to hit the gym every day, get three hikes in a week, golf 2, write two quality posts, motorcycle ride one, and bang out 2 podcasts, not to mention a score of consultations for Asshole Consulting becomes very taxing.  And what once was an unbelievable job and an enviable lifestyle, has now become more of a forced time-table chore of hybrid work and fun.

What I ultimately realized is something John Steele said. He said "we have less days ahead of us than behind us."  And while working hard in the past has led to this great life I have today, if I'm not enjoying the days today, then I am wasting what dwindling time I have left.  Yes, all of my freedom today is derived from the fact I do what I should be doing at all times, but if that's the case, then when will I ever enjoy life like I want?

This epiphany was very important.  For most of our lives merely surviving is what occupies our minds.  And we think that "surviving" or "making it" will be the end of our battle against Maslows hierarchy of needs.  But even when you defeat Maslow, that struggle to survive and "make it" is so engrained, so scorched into your mind it will dictate what you think you should do to be happy, instead of doing what you want to be happy.  Thus your life is one of doing what you "should" do and not what you want to do.

You want to just sit down, chill and relax and play some video games?
No, you SHOULD go to the gym.

You want to just binge on 1960's WWII movies with a roaring fire on?
No, you SHOULD writing the economic treatise.

You want to eat that icecream sundae with sprinkles and whipped cream?
No, you SHOULD eat no carbs or sugars because then you won't be ripped.

And you want to go for a hike when it's beautiful outside?
No, you SHOULD stay in and finish that blog post.

Yes, "should" will get the work done, pay the bills, and put your body in shape, but it won't make life any fun.

The problem is that I am no fool, nor should you be whether you are at this stage in life or are currently en route.  I know the work has to get done.  I know the Assholes need to be consulted.  The books need to be written.  And the podcasts need to be recorded. Besides, I actually do love doing this stuff.  But instead of optimizing these responsibilities into a hard schedule, trying to fit them all into the work week, and abiding by the world's standard 7 day week, I'm going to take a page from myself in 1978 and do things as if I were 3.

However I want to.

Being 3 was great.  There was no concept of "Monday Mornings" or "hot Saturday Nights."  There was no concept of waking up early or going to bed late.  There was no concept of "should" just "want."  When I was 3 I did what I wanted when I wanted to all the time.  Of course, this doesn't meant it will be all play and no work.  I'm fully aware that bills have to be paid and motorcycles need to be maintained.  But "should" is no longer going to be the primary determinant of the remaining 30 years of my life.

If it's a beautiful day outside, the blog posts can wait.  I'm going to go for a hike.
If I'm too tired to hit the gym, I don't need a six pack.  I'm parking my ass at the cafe for the afternoon to write.
And if it strikes me at 1AM to bang out a bunch of videos or podcasts, so be it.  I can sleep till noon.

Admittedly, this new schedule (or complete lack thereof) will likely cut into my overall profit and success in life.  Posting a deep literary piece on Sunday afternoon will not garner the traffic had I posted it on Tuesday morning.  Going for a hike or getting 18 holes of golf in will not chisel my chest had I gone to the gym.  And aimlessly wandering about the American West on my motorcycle will not produce any of the (now) 7 books I wish to write.  But the freedom, lack of worry, and no longer fretting about doing everything I "should" will drastically improve my life enjoyment.

You too must be prepared for when you reach this stage in life.  You must realize when you've "made it" and that doing what you "should do" all the time, will ensure you unnecessarily waste the remainder of your life.  You did not work so hard to liberate your future from the economic demands of food, clothing and shelter to be a slave to "should."  And so I strongly recommend you do what I do and no longer recognize the days of the week.  Just like when we were 3 years old, it doesn't matter if it's Friday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Saturday.  It's just another day in paradise and the work will get done.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from my awesome hike today.  And no, the post on "Red Pill Penetration Rates" did not get done.

Check out Aaron's other cool stuff below!


Gord said...

Life is a journey & we all have the same destination. Have fun along the drive...

As a man in his 60's who has survived the drive (with a few major speed bumps) - almost everyone on the planet would be jealous of my life. I am glad you are balancing the work / free time aspect. You have done a good job so far...

Thank you for your youtube posts - greatly appreciated...

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

Congrats on learning how to stop “SHOULD!”ing all over yourself!

Anonymous said...

Take it from a guy who is further up the pike by 5 years-- learn to forgive yourself and take the time to burn a couple of hours to do whatever you want. The work and responsibility is always there (job, mortagage, gym, family, etc..) and you will start to resent them if you don't allow yourself the leisure to unplug occassionally (especially if you are married). Good for your blood pressure and overall mood.

Anonymous said...

Where is that?!

sassed1 2many said...

Young people are so lucky they have access to your wisdom. I didn't stumble across you until I turned 60. You know well what was available before the internet, not much. As long as you keep writing books, I'll keep reading them. I'm a minimalist boomer with zero debt - Hoo dang diggly!

Post Alley Crackpot said...

As someone with an economist's background and as a former banker, this piece is surprising only from the position that you've missed how this experience gives you the precise solution ...

Your problems now involve accurately assessing the value of your time and the cost of doing something else.

Because of blog exposure, you are now making silly amounts of silly easy money, but that easy money may actually be making you lose out because of the cost of doing something else than the best speculations that you can implement at this time.

If your writing makes you more on an hourly basis once you've figured in all of the other crap, especially if it produces the "scale of multiples" that such people as Jane Jacobs, Tim Ferriss, and Nicholas Taleb have written about, then by all means that's the speculation you should be pushing on instead of dealing with time-consuming "successes".

And so you may need to put a bullet in Asshole Consulting or at least sub-contract out to other Apprentice Assholes in order to get to what you need to be doing ...

This is also once again notice that you are still not fit for Upper Management and that these little interludes of management advice are being offered because there is still hope for your meagre soul, Everyman Aaron Clarey, Junior Division. :-)

Until you get it right, this will be a Black Mark ... on your ... Permanent Record, and it will follow you throughout the rest of your life.

What's the point of all of the money then?

You have not yet reached the level of True Fuck You Money, in which you have sufficient cash and other wealth accumulated that allows you to instruct other people as to how they may Insufflate Large Amounts of Caulk and other such things as may be required by your particular situation.

And you are not ready for Upper Management until you succeed at being so successful that you don't need any more success, and that you're going to become Upper Management because you actually like it.

In other bits of Upper Management Scumbag Consulting, you are still not pretty and your shit still stinks, so suck it up, buttercup, there's still work to be done while you're wanting to fuck around! :-)

Roger Browne said...

You correctly identify the weekly cycle as being the problem. More than anything else, it's the weekly cycle that marks the difference between being a 3-year-old and being old enough to be sent to school, or being in employment.

Sometimes it can be worth loosely following an inverse cycle. The best life is lived off-peak, and the inverse weekly cycle can help people to do that.

inthebriarpatch said...

How did you come to the conclusion we all have the same destination? If that were true, then not being Hitler is no different than being Hitler.

inthebriarpatch said...

I'm at a point in life at age 44 where I can do what I want when I want. And I've faced this EXACT conundrum of late. You nailed it Cap.

Bill said...

Go ahead Cappy: put the could in front of the should. That would allow more opportunity to come to Victoria, BC Canada to hike, savour scotch and other fun stuff someday (soon).

I'll still buy your books whenever they appear.

The Real Cap'n