-- A blog maintained by a pessimistic over-confident High-School kid.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Mental Blocks vs Bursts of Ambition

3 weeks into my summer vacation, I have faced an issue. While the number of duties that I have has decreased, I seem to be more frustrated about the work at hand. Be it academic writing, coding or even my stress relieve,  drawing. In times of tight schedules, creative ideas of possible programs or contraptions spring into place, and I am often left wishing for some free time to pursue them. But when this kind of free time finally came around the corner, I no longer want to do what I wanted. I tend to drift off to an option of least resistance. In my mind, this is the situation in The Tell-Tale Heart with the phrase "be careful of what you wish for". You might lose your ambition when free time is accessible. While this situation might seem ironic, ironically, this happens to me all the time. I would die to work on projects when I do not have time but be frustrated with the project just a week into it. I still remember my wish to become a full-time self-employed engineer during the school year, but now, I cannot even finish one project.

What happened today was mostly depressing. After finally finishing the two programs with higher priority, I was set to do college preparation today. I woke up at 6 in the morning only having 5 hours of sleep, and I carried off to follow my carefully thought-out plan from the day before, and that is to write a few test college applications and research a dozen or so colleges. Mind you now, I also had taken a whole day off yesterday, spending time doing easy tasks such as cleaning my room and sketching. But what I wanted to do did not match what I did do, and I end up spending the whole day using basketball and youtube to procrastinate my time away. I accomplished nothing in the end. There is this strong opposing urge for me to write anything important even when the stakes are clean and it being only a mock. I have no understanding of why I behaved such way. My writing while not the best, had been polished a lot through all the blog posts I have written and proof-read. My earlier habit of reading from the start of the month definitely helped too, but I just did not want to write today. Burnouts aren't an explanation as I am well familiar with it and had taken a whole day off to prevent it. And as I had mentioned, it was also not about me being an idealist as the stakes were low. Except for youtube, there were no distractions, and I can personally say that the friction to start working would be enough to influence me to stare at a wall gladly instead of typing. This pattern of resistance does not make logical sense as it does not tie to factors of mindset, environment and stress. To make the matter worse, this opposing urge to work is not only on college applications, but rises when I am programming as well. The first two days of coding any program are always splendid, but the third day is where the frustration of working on the same task sinks in. For me, this also applies to video games. Anything that is attached with a goal, and where you are grinding indefinitely to achieve the goal annoys me, and I do not understand the reason. I love coding. I love writing. In a way, I even love grinding. Why on earth would I not want to do it?

I finally drew something.
Don't mind his right eye, this is a ROUGH ROUGH draft.

Two years ago, I discovered self-help books, and it had taught me immensely about how to set goals and manage my time. It engraved a relatively efficient mindset into my brain. But after following its rules of "Just do it", "Ship it", "Start with just 5 minutes", "Write bad", and countless others, I now seem to be less affected by them. It is like my anti-bodies had adapted to all the medication I have took, and efficiency is slipping through my hands. "Just do it" does not work, as I am doing it. I am staring at the screen and thinking about the next possible steps, but I am not typing. "Ship it", similarly, does not work either, as I am already aiming low and coding the bare minimum. "Start with just 5 minutes" does not work because I am already into it for half an hour. "Write bad"..... go look at my code [facepalm].

I wrote this blog trying to find the cause of my behaviour, but 750 words into it, and I still do not seem to get the problem.

To take a blind guess...    (I sat here for 5 minutes, and I cannot come up with anything).   I can only say that it is how the human mind works. With all the complex system of dopamine realises, motivation, and hormones that affect one's mood, it is another war that wages on an individual, and it is a certain phase of efficiency that I have to fight through. While blaming my mistakes on the biology of the human brain is lame, I cannot come up with anything I could do except "Just Just Do Do IT". Although all this is a definition of a first-world problem, I still think I am entitled to say, "When life throw you lemons, make lemonade", as cliche as it might sound. (My Calculus teacher's favourite word) Greatness, is for the people who work for it.

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