Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017: Resolutions

I used to be a mad fan of making New Year’s resolutions. People have come to place a large amount of importance in the arbitrary starting point of an endless orbit around the sun, as a means to change their own behaviour.

After a bunch of years of finding that the date of announcement of any intentions to change had no correlation whatsoever to the success of stated venture, I decided to poo-poo NYE Resolutions altogether and go back to changing whenever I felt like it, spontaneously, and without effort.

Problem is, that doesn’t work either. 

Change takes time, and it takes effort, and sometimes pain. One thing I learned in 2016, possibly above all other learnings, was that my mindset had everything to do with my efficacy to create change in my life. I walk into 2017 with a more powerful mindset than I’ve ever had, and while there is still much self-work to be done to get me up to maximum capacity for success and growth, I feel better equipped to really make change happen. 

How did I get a better mindset? 

Well there’s a bunch of things, but I’ll bullet point a few of them to give you an insight:

  • I clarified my understanding of metaphysics and epistemology. Finding philosophy and gaining a clear understanding of what I believe to be the nature of the universe and existence was a profound shift for me. This is the advantage that the religious tend to have over atheists; they’ve chosen their metaphysical path and they walk it with conviction. Even if they are wrong (which I believe they are, at least about the nature of existence) their conviction guides them to be able to make radical changes when necessary. Finding my metaphysical conviction in objective rational philosophy was a game-changer.
  • Finding my tribe. I probably have less friends than I used to, as far as people that I actively socialise with, and yet I feel more a part of something bigger than myself than ever. I haven’t joined a cult or a church, but I have found a lively tribe of human beings on the internet, all over the world, and in my own neighbourhood who share my values, and I choose to fill my social time with their company over those whose values are antithetic to mine. I still try to engage with others of course, especially to test the consistency of my own arguments, but having a family of friends and acquaintances that I can turn to for understanding has been hugely powerful for me.
  • Reading lots. I consumed more books in 2016 than any other year of my life. More than 30 in the year, in fact. Books on philosophy, money, mindset (I high recommend checking our Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich. That book helped me change my behaviour more than any other, particular around my physical health.)
  • Doing therapy. I started solo talk therapy last year. In my younger years I’d gone to clairvoyants and other such nonsense to find an emotional bandaid for the emptiness of my existence, prior to philosophy. Later I took personal development courses like the Landmark Forum, and read pseudo-spiritual works by Eckhart Tolle to find the same comfort. I didn’t want to go all the way across to being a religious church-goer, but I guess I emotionally wanted what my Christian friends have - certainty and community. So I looked to cult-like self-help programs and books, and dabbled on the fringes of collectivistic worship. But nothing has ever affected me as profoundly as doing talk therapy. I did it over Skype with a fantastic therapist in Scotland who was recommended to me. I went in there specifically to get help with the extremely painful process of deciding whether or not to continue my relationship with my mother. My therapist helped me get to the bottom of some feelings and memories that I had been glossing over my whole life, and he triggered in me some major emotional catharses that I really did not expect (being such an intellectual and all). Underneath those buried traumas, I found the hidden truths about myself that were chaining me, and I cut the bonds.
  • Continuing to work on my marriage. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. And a good marriage takes constant work, just like a business or machine with moving parts. My wife and I have invested heavily this last year in improving our communication with, and compassion for, each other. We’ve built a lifestyle where we both get lots of time together with our children and where we get time to hang out as adults. My wife’s support for my creative and business ventures, as well as her partnership in our parenting journey, has been incredible.

There are so many more things I could list, including emboldenment from the political events of 2016 that give me hope that we can turn the west around and get back to more conservative values, with which to grow our great civilisation into even greater possibilities! But I’ll leave it there so as not to suspend you any longer from what my actual resolutions are.

And they are simple ones, I know I can do them.

1) No more gear. 

No, I don’t mean cocaine. I mean music equipment. I have a recording studio and a live performance setup that I utilise as my main bread-and-butter work. The trouble with the music game is there’s ALWAYS more gear to buy. It’s a money pit. You always just need that ONE more piece of cool circuitry for the studio, and THEN it’s complete. But I realised that it’s an addiction like any other, and me and a lot of my friends are addicted to gear. So, this year, with a complete studio that works fantastically, and a number of live setups that I can use for different contexts, I have decided to get through the whole calendar year without buying ANY music equipment (except if something breaks and I need a replacement for my usual work).

2) Write something every day. 

I want to be a professional writer. That’s going to be a slow transition from music performance, into philosophical journalism and science fiction writing, but it’s my goal. The only way to do that is to get really effing good at my craft. I’ve done my 10,000 hours of music production/songwriting; I’ve mastered it. Sure, there’s always more to learn, but I’m a damn good producer and people are happy to pay me large sums of money to do that work. THAT’S what I want for my writing. So in order to get really good at writing, the journey to 10,000 hours commences. I will write something every day. Be it a chapter of my novel series, or novella, or a blog entry here, or an article or video for the Rational Right; something will be jotted down and published for all to see. Some of it will be good, some will be lame. But I’ll push through and get better and better, and by this time next year I will be an author with a following, and some sales of my published books to show for it.

Those are my resolutions for 2017. We’re 4 days in. So far, so good!

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