Overcoming personal challenges. And, Life is Suffering: is it true?

Deep contemplation (some would call it overthinking) is a blessing and a curse of mine. It’s a blessing because it allows me to gain deep understandings about the things I think about. It’s a curse because thinking too much often results in analysis paralysis (inaction) because “I need more information to make a decision!”.

Recent bouts of deep contemplation about next steps in life have caused me to experience a great deal of fear. I feel terrified. Not of failure. Well, a little of failure, but failure and I have become fairly well acquainted these days (the number of different things I’ve fucked up, and number of different occasions upon which I’ve fucked up is getting quite out of hand…). The more you do something, the less scary it becomes. So, failure, while definitely still and always scary, doesn’t quite scare me to the point of being a paralytic-sea-cucumber like it used to.

Paralytic Sea Cucumber.png

These days, I’m more paralytic-mouse than cucumber (at least I have legs, they just don’t seem to work).

Paralytic mouse.png

The fear I’m experiencing is obviously connected to my ability to succeed in the domain I choose to focus my efforts, but even more than this it’s a fear of my ability to succeed in mastering my own domain.

This, for me, takes unbelievably hard work because…

  1. I’m a swinger

I once participated in a gang-bang with three Sweedish midgets, a dude old enough to be my Grandad, an Ostrich, and an army of Botswanan Meerkats.

Okay, that’s a lie. I don’t swing like that.

However, I do suffer mood swings. The amount of work I can get done when I am high in mood would shock the tits off a bull. While the lack of energy and general ability to move when I am feeling down makes a slug look like a Ferrari.

While many people seem capable of banging out a 9 to 5, this impossibly structured way of living literally destroys me from the inside out.

On the flipside, without a Nine to Five to keep me in check, Seven to Eleven to the Six to the Five Eight Three, Fo O Fo, and Seven O Nine (shit, sorry been listening to too much Ludacris) can easily become my new norm… Living like this bodes for a Ludacris-ly difficult existence. Nine to five suffocates me, while Fo O Fo to the Six O Seven to the… destroys my ability to function without hauling around a permanent drool.

I’ve found setting and sticking to a regular sleep schedule is numero-uno, numero-deuce, numero-trey, and basically the most important thing to manage this mode of being. No exceptions. Period.

I’ll add to this: regular exercise, getting outside in nature, social interaction and meditation.

  1. Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. Ahh…Yes please.

I was in the USA last year for thanksgiving. Some friends and I had turkey. It was fucking delicious. My friends Matt and Juanita did a stellar job prepping the bird. And I did a stellar job dismantling it. I ate far too much, which led me to fall into a self-induced turkey-coma (no shit, I couldn’t move). Although a food coma is no big deal, other types of comas aren’t so good. Such as waking up in your bed covered in your own vomit next to an Ostrich named Felicity (this never happened only once). Hot succulent seasoned thanksgiving turkey taught me something very important about myself: hot turkey is difficult to resist.

I’ve noticed a by-product and sometimes cause of mood swings are my addictive tendencies and general lack of self-control/discipline when presented with enticing things (which to me is pretty much everything that feels good). Alcohol. Sugar. Sex. Drugs. Work. Gambling. I’ve chased them all in small doses. An Achilles heel I must battle for life. Some are seen largely as good (i.e. work). Some are seen largely as bad (i.e. drugs). Some sit in a weirdly largely misunderstood middle ground (i.e. poker, a skill-based game that falls under the veil of ‘gambling’). Of course, thinking in terms of good and bad is a fucking retarded way to live, but that’s another point for another day…

While I wouldn’t say I suffer from addiction as classically defined (“compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences”) – okay maybe a little – I would say I suffer from addictive tendencies. That is, chasing things that feel good for a little bit longer than most would consider advisable…

This may have you wondering, what’s the difference? Not much to be honest. Perhaps I’m making it a matter of semantics to make myself not feel like an ‘addict’ because this term carries such a negative stereotype. However, here are some things I’d classify under each to illustrate (forewarning: I’m NOT A DOCTOR, just some idiot):

(a) Addictive tendencies

  • Drinking so much alcohol that you get to the point of throwing up in your sister’s ex-BFs car, your bed, on yourself, or on an Ostrich named Felicity…
  • Eating so much sugar in one sitting that you turn into a sour worm as your sweat begins crystallising to the outside of your skin…
  • Browsing Facebook mindlessly for no reason whatsoever…

(b) Addiction

  • Drinking too much to the point of throwing up in your etc etc etc… on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… All the time.
  • Eating so much sugar that you etc etc… on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… often and always.
  • Browsing Facebook 24/7

I think the difference lies in frequency. Addiction is getting carried away with things all the time. Addictive tendencies is getting carried away with things every now and then.

Addictive tendencies are in my blood. Things that feel good feel REALLY GOOD to me – this feeling incentivises me to want more of the thing that feels good (whatever that ‘thing’ happens to be). This can be harmful when the thing that feels good isn’t actually good for me (which annoyingly most, but not all, things that feel good are…).

Take for example Alcohol. I’ve had many (read as: MANY) a boozy night. Alcohol feels good when I’m drinking it. I get a buzz. I feel good in the moment. BUT, through extensive trial and mostly error, I now know that once I drink a certain amount, I’ll pay dearly the next day for it in the form of a paralytic-sea-cucumber level hangover.

Paralytic Sea Cucumber

These days if you put me in front of Alcohol, I have enough self-awareness to know when to say no (most of the time). However, put me in front of a block of chocolate and I’ll go nek-level Rabid Werewolf on the sucker. While this is definitely not as damaging as going Rabid Werewolf on some of those other vices, it’s certainly not good either.

These addictive tendencies of mine are one very difficult beast because it’s so hard to judge what’s ‘good’ and what’s not. It’s so subjective. Truth is, most of us don’t even know what’s good for us – we just rely on what we’ve been told and go from there. There are obvious things… i.e. if we’re constantly drunk, that’s probably not good for our physical health/well-being, or if we’re losing thousands of dollars a day playing blackjack that’s not good for our financial health. These are no-brainers. But, there’s plenty of things which sit in the grey. Such as if we’re suffering from workaholism that is causing us to burn out mentally and for our social relationships to suffer (not good thing) however is also the reason why we’re first line for that promotion or pay rise (good thing)…

Point is, it can get confusing.

I think it’s important to look at things in their totality and then to make a determination as to whether the activity or thing you’re doing is having an overall net positive or net negative effect on your well-being. This self-analysis is difficult to undertake, but absolutely necessary. We’re the one’s who know what’s best for us (even if we may be too stupid to see it from time to time).

In order to combat some feel-goods that have a ‘net negative’ effect on my well-being (i.e. alcohol, sugar), as boring as it is, I’ve decided it’s in my best interests to be more boring in everyday life. No more 2am benders. No more eating seven bags of lollies in one sitting.

Ugh. I think I just shed a tear…

  1. I have scatter-brains

You know how there are lots of people who aren’t completely satisfied with their lives (umm, everyone, everywhere?), who long to do something different, but they can’t because the one thing holding them back is that they “just need an idea…”

I can’t vibe with this. I don’t have this problem. In fact, I have the opposite problem. I have too many ideas.

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This may not sound like a burden “Oh, poor you, with all your ideas, how unfortunate”, but trust me… it fucking is. Why? Take a second to think about these truths about ideas:

(a) They’re worth one million eighty-nine thousand six hundred and twenty-four thirds of fuck all. Ideas aren’t worth shit. Nothing. Zilch.

Ideas are only valuable if manifested in the world in some way, shape or form. And even then it’s basically guess work as to whether they’re going to be worth anything to anyone anywhere. Ideas don’t matter. Execution does.

(b) Execution takes courage because it’s very hard to gauge how good an idea is…

The world isn’t like University. You don’t hand in your idea to someone, and they say “wow, great idea, A+”, or “hmm, shit idea, D-”. No one grades your ideas. Actually, in the adult world for the most part no-one even looks at your ideas, because no-one really gives a fuck about your ideas (sidenote: this is one of the many reasons University sucks, as it accidentally wrongly teaches you that someone will give a fuck about what you think or have to say). Energising someone else to give a fudge-popsicle about YOUR ideas takes fucking hard work. Which means it’s pretty much always mostly up to you to do something with them. Up to you to execute!! For me, point (a) creates a serious friction which works tirelessly against me on this front.

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Actual picture of my brain

(c) Every idea leads to another idea to another idea to another idea to the fifth level of the shores of the subconscious where the WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH [*music from Inception soundtrack*].

Trying to pin down ideas is like trying to catch a squirrel.

(d) Picking one idea, feels like sacrificing the others.

If I decide to do this one thing, then what about all those other ideas I could’ve maybe tried to do instead? Do those ideas die? Do I lose the opportunity to do those things entirely? This is scary. I believe this is called having commitment issues.

These facts about ideas make it a very annoying thing to have so many of them.

The solution?

Pick something. Run with it. And BE DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO KEEP GOING WITH IT.

Discipline

This blog, despite being fairly irregularly updated, and teeming with incoherent and disconnected content, is maybe, perhaps, possibly, proof I’m capable of such a feat.

While this blog makes me no money, it’s most certainly has a ‘net positive’ effect on my well-being as it provides a creative outlet for my madness. I think this is why I’ve persisted with it despite only my Mum reading it for well over a year (and counting) – thanks Mum.

Many other projects I’ve started and given up on, or let die, are proof I’m perhaps not. However, I think the reason the blog has survived is simple…writing is something I value. I absolutely froth over it. I love it. Yes, it is hard work and frustrating as hell at times, but, it also isn’t because I enjoy it so much. Other projects I’ve started and not persisted with (such as attempting to become a youtube poker sensation) were started for other reasons (hope for monetary gain, prestige, because I was bored). Maybe if I’d persisted it would have worked out. Maybe. I don’t know because I didn’t. What I do know is (for me at least) it’s fucking hard to persist without the “value” piece in play.

  1. I’m lazy, prone to procrastinate and easily distracted

Let’s deal with these one at a time.

(a) I’m lazy

Well, not really actually. I’m not. I work fucking hard. But only after I get started. And only when something interests me (do you know how many hours it took to draw these stupid pictures in this post? Not many because they suck… never mind, bad example). This combination can both (a) incentivise the crap out of me to work my tits off; and (b) prove itself fairly lethal to productivity.

That seems a little off doesn’t it… How can I be incentivised to work my tits off by the very same trait that is also lethal to productivity? That’s contradictory.

I don’t think it is. It comes back to the value piece. If I’m working on something I value, or I’m doing something I value, I’ll work my tits off. If I don’t value something, or don’t feel challenged, I’ll struggle to so much as move my pinky toe, may become bitter/resentful, and definitely will become as bored as bat shit.

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I’m beginning to view laziness as more of a symptom of the fact I’m probably channeling my energies into doing the wrong shit, rather than as a root cause or reason for poor productivity.

(b) I’m prone to procrastinate

Truthfully, this is a massive problem of mine. I like to fuck around. If I had a superhero name it would have to be The Procrastinator Dominator.

Procrastinator dominator.png

In an attempt to avoid doing whatever it is I know I should be doing but don’t do, I do something I know I should probably not do but do do. Haha. Doo-Doo. That’s poo.

(c) I’m easily distracted

See what I did there?

I procrastinate to avoid getting started, and then when I do get started, I struggle to keep going for periods any longer than two hours at a time because of Doo-Doo. In other words, I struggle to maintain focus because Doo-Doo makes me think of poo and that makes me laugh because at heart I’m still seven years old.

(Un)fortunately if you’re anything like me, a perpetual seven-year old, then you’ll know this pain / pleasure. You too will see the world with near fresh eyes. You too will understand the difficulty of living in a world with all this distracting cool shit to see and hear and do.

Through my eyes the world is a total fucking miracle. I mean, have you ever really thought about it? The absurdity of being on a crust just floating within a vast blackness that the only dude who seemed to know anything about just exited? It’s ridionkulous. It makes no fucking sense. None at all. And don’t try to convince me that it does. Because it fucking doesn’t. Despite this, I still really love to talk about it (the Universe). However, I haven’t seemed to progress any further in conversational ability than ‘seventeen-year-old-stoner-level’ “woah man, it’s soooo, like, huge and shit”. Unless you’re an Alien or Octopus (possibly the same thing), this is probably as deep as you’ve gotten with it too. That guy I was talking about earlier who recently called it quits, Stephen Hawking, he probably knew a fraction more. But I hazard only a small fraction. Something like 1/18298462187631672942. But don’t quote me on that.

This lens through which I see the world is a real joy sometimes. Like when I’m looking at a caterpillar munching away on a leaf and I begin to contemplate just how fucking remarkable it is that this slug looking thing is chomping on this green thing and all this is only made possible because of some big yellow-ball-of-fire thing thousands of miles away, and I’m standing there witnessing it all happen! But, it’s also a real pain in the ass other times when I’m meant to be doing adult-type-shit like working, paying bills, and then doo-doo makes me think of poo-poo which makes me laugh which makes me forget what it was I was meant to be doo-doo-ing…

  1. I like Kinder surprises

This may not sound like a challenge. But, trust me, this is the hardest of them all.

Why do I like Kinder surprises? Simple:

1. Chocolate.

2. You get a toy.

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Image freakishly close to scale

Seriously, what’s not to like?

In other words, you know partly what you’re getting (some chocolate), and partly not (a mystery toy not-suitable-for-three-year-old-children but definitely suitable for Seven year olds).

What’s this got to do with life? It’s two-pronged:

  • If I know too much of what’s going on, life is boring.
  • If I don’t know enough of what’s going on, life is chaos.

I desire to live life like a Kinder surprise, with a little bit of chocolate (knowing what’s going on), and a little bit of mystery toy (not knowing what is going on). Too much chocolate turns me into a fat depressed lazy fuck. Too much mystery toy turns me into an irresponsible six year old.

Kinder’s are perfectly balanced between boring and mystery. I’m not. This is why I respect and love Kinder surprises… because, striking this balance is a right fucking hard thing to do. Also because they’re delicious and you get a toy.

6. Every other person seems to have their shit together except me

Literally. Everyone. Except me. Facebook and Instagram tells me as much.

 

But, that’s life!

If there’s one thing that achieves one seventy fifth of fuck all its complaining about shit (you can quote me on this, I’ve run the math, it’s legit). Negative energy is as useful as tits on a bull, and as pleasant to the palate as sucking on a fat ballerina’s toes. Got no time for it. So, don’t come up in my grill with it eh? I don’t want to hear it. Go suck those toes somewhere else please.

The question remains: what to do about these challenges? How to overcome them?

I’ve always been competitive, and so I like the idea of gamification. I choose to view the challenges I’ve outlined above as Bosses within a game.

What game am I playing?

Life.

What types of bosses are there in the game?

There’s broadly two types of bosses.

  1. The bosses you don’t get to choose

These bosses are the parts of yourself that you don’t have much say over. They are part of who you are. Although I’m cautious about believing we are born certain way, there are certainly parts and quirks of who we are that seem to come with the machinery we’ve been given (such as my propensity for swingy moods, creative vs rational brain battles, and deep feels). Certain parts aren’t easily replaceable because they seem to be welded to the chassis.

  1. The bosses you do get to choose

These are the bosses you choose to pick fights with. Some kind of goal, or new endeavour within the game. Typically, something outside of yourself. Things within the game you can go after. Optional challenges if you will. Whether it be a new job, a new career path, a relationship, a business venture, a project, running a marathon, learning to chess-box, taming a lion, hunting for unicorns…literally anything you can think of.

I’d like to talk about the bosses you don’t get to choose because I reckon these are the most important to overcome. If you wish to move your ass into the space where you’re able to choose the bosses you wish to fight, first you’ve got to figure out how to beat, or at least subdue, the ones you don’t get any say over. Otherwise, right when you’re neck deep in a battle about to lose to an optional boss (for example attempting to write a novel) and you’re channelling your inner comic book hero to strike the winning blow right at the last second when it seems all odds are stacked against you, one of the bosses you didn’t get to choose will pop up and kick you in the ribs and laugh in your face. Then you’ll cry because you’re seven years old and it hurts to get kicked in the ribs. No one wants that.

How to fight non-chosen bosses?

This is the approach I’ve adopted toward the boss battles with non-chosen bosses:

  1. Recognise who the most crucial bosses to battle at this very moment in life are

This is hard. You got to do a deep dive within to find this information. In my experience, this seems to be a place many of us avoid because we’re afraid monsters might be hiding in there. Truth is, they are. And that’s the whole fucking point. The monsters are the bosses. Go find them. So, you can kick their ass. If you don’t, you’ll just end up kicking around in the dark like a total fuckwit. Maybe you’ll get lucky and kick a boss in the shin, but that’s just going to piss him off. I’ll freely admit, I’m notoriously bad at this (which, by contrast means I’m good at lying to myself). Right now I reckon there’s a tonne of bosses I’m intentionally keeping myself in the dark over, intentionally choosing to fight with the admittedly poor kick-around-in-the-dark-like-a-fuckwit strategy because the prospect of confronting them makes me want to shit my pants…

  1. Take ownership of the fight

You can’t pay someone to fight your battle. They aren’t you, which means two things: (a) they can never care as much as you do that you succeed in defeating your boss; and (b) they’re pre-occupied with their own battles against bosses you don’t even know about. This is not to say others can’t help you to fight the bosses. It is to say, others cannot take charge of the fight. You’ve got to lead yourself into battle.

  1. Enlist an epic team of Power Rangers to help you

Or the Hulk. Or Batman. Or Pikachu. Or whoever. Someone who’s beaten the boss you’re trying to beat is always a good place to start. If you don’t know anyone who’s beaten your boss, no biggie. Other people can help, even if it is just by listening. You already know the answers. That is to say, you already know how to defeat the boss you’re battling but because you’re an idiot blinded by your own stupidity you can’t see the answers sitting under your nose. Having people (friends, family, therapist) who are willing to non-judgementally listen to you ramble incoherently will most certainly help you find the answers you’re too stupid to see.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up for being a Backslide-Bandit

You know how above I wrote about how I’ve recently discovered the most crucial thing for me is to maintain a regular sleep schedule? Yeah… well… so… about that… Ummm. Last weekend I stayed up until 4:30am, and midnight respectively. Woke up at 10am one day, and 9:30am the next. #BackslideBanditoBaby. This literally fucked my entire week up. I felt like shit multiple days during the week because of it. And have vowed not to let it happen again (I’ve even imposed upon myself a personal penalty system as a result, committing to charging myself $25 toward paying off my student loan for every half hour after 11pm I’m not in bed). #Grandaditobaby #nomorebackslidebaby.

You’re going to shit the bed. Guarantee it. Everyone does. Some more than others. In other words, you will backslide. Personally, sometimes I feel like my diet must be 94% diuretics, 6% chocolate. I’m the king of the bed-shit. Done it professionally. Done it personally. Done it in pretty much every way imaginable. And multiple times too. And you know what? I’ll fucking do it again! So, what? When I shit the bed, all that really does is make me appreciate washing machines. Wash off the shit. Try again. Don’t lament yourself for being a Bed Shitter – that helps no one, and doesn’t help clean the sheets either.

So, what happens when you win the battle?

They make a movie about you.

Kidding.

Nothing happens. Nothing at all. You get to pat yourself on the back. That’s honestly about it. But, that’s not to say that a pat on the back doesn’t feel good. And if you’re the one who’s giving it, it feels a lot better than one given by someone else.

When do the bosses stop appearing?

They don’t.

Even if you’ve been gifted with ZERO non-chosen bosses (I don’t see how this would be possible…), you still have to deal with the ones you choose. And they’ll never stop.

Life is a never-ending procession through these mini-battles and mega-battles against Bosses. If you’re anything like me, you’ll defeat a Boss, raise both fists in the air in triumph and look to the sky. Suddenly Queen will start blasting from a stereo somewhere (probably inside your own head) “Don’t stop me now, Don’t stop me now, Because I’m having a good time…”

And then the music slowly begins to fade away, and with it, so too do the feelings of triumph. Which leaves space to look around and see what’s going on. Of course, standing right there is another Boss smiling smugly like an ass hole. Sometimes a brand-new one you didn’t even know existed, sometimes an old one you thought you’d defeated. Always a fuck knuckle.

For me, some non-chosen mega-bosses I’ve battled I’ve mostly kicked to the curb. Binge-Drinking Boss being one of the baddest of them all. I like to think I’ve beaten his ass way down. High five to that! But I also try to live by a philosophy of not celebrating too soon… now the Sugar Boss, with its sweet tender embrace is looking me directly in the eyes, “You beat Binge Drinking Boss. But he was only a level 1 boss. I’m level 2 bitch. Got horns and shit. You can’t defeat the sweet. I’ll fuck you up Hombre.”

Fuck!!

I wonder, is this the way it is for others too?

Do others have to fight Bosses, or is it just me?

“Life is suffering” is the common translation of the First Noble Truth of Buddhism.

I’m by no means a Buddhist, to say such a thing would offend every Buddhist everywhere who’s ever lived. But I have grown to believe in the truth of this statement. We’re all human, which is enough to convince me the first noble truth of Buddhism is true. Life is suffering.

Others everywhere are battling away. Everyone is. That’s life. Despite what the perfectly curated Instagrams and Facebooks would have you believe, it ain’t all rainbows and butterflies out there. It’s hard fucking work. When things are going well, a relative or loved one dies. When we land a new job, we lose a relationship. When you shit the bed, it just so happens you’ve got diarrhoea.

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Depiction of someone who has shat the bed

But, I believe there is a tiny element of choice involved. We choose to suffer. There exists within each of us the ability to let go, and to live in the present moment. To enjoy everything life has to offer, which includes the pain. But we struggle to find it. We struggle to find now. We push and pull against it. Clinging to pleasant feelings. Pushing away or running from negative ones. Reminiscing over the past, when we were full of youth and everything was great. Striving for future, when things will be better than they are now. All this back and forth takes us away from precisely where we need to be. It takes us away from NOW.

The thing is, I know all this to be true. Intellectually speaking. Live in the now. Yada, Yada. I know this. Deeply. I do. I get it. Yet, sometimes when I’m in the moment I can’t help but forget all about the moment (such as when in full-blown Rabid-Werewolf-mode with block of choc in hand)… know what I mean?

And so, I too battle away tirelessly.

Push. Pull.

Push. Pull.

Push. Pull.

Maybe you do the same. Maybe not with Sweet Sugary Nectar Bosses like me. Certainly, I know a lot of people who don’t seem nearly as affected by such things. Gawd damn these people make me jelly. How can you say no to that piece of brownie? Seriously? How!!?? Teach me!!!

But maybe you’re battling other things, like a Crappy Job Boss, a Debbie Downer Depression Boss, an Antsy Anthony Anxiety Boss, a Shitty Relationship Boss, a Lazy Lackadaisical Larry Boss. I don’t know. That’s your business. Whatever it is, it may have you wondering…

What’s wrong with me?

Nothing.

It’s called being human.

For much of my life, and admittedly sometimes still today, I’ve thought of the world as this place put here to make me feel good. I realise how fucking disgusting that may sound, but I’m just being honest. With this belief in mind, whenever the world would start to shit on me, instead of realising Life is Suffering and therefore thinking “oh, the world is shitting on me again, better get my shitcoat and saddle up”, I’d wonder “why do I feel this way? what’s wrong with me?”

LOL, well, nothing’s wrong, because…

Life is suffering

The world is here to throw Bosses at you and make you cry, not to make you feel good. It ain’t here to gratify you. It’s just here. That’s it. Nothing more. End sentence. Fulla Stoppus (Latin for: Full Stop, meaning end of sentence). [Note: that last part was Bull-Shittus, which is Latin for Bullshit, meaning I made it up].

At times the sun will be shining on you. And you’ll probably feel good. At times shit will be raining on you. And you’ll probably feel not so good.

sun.png

Part of it is about understanding you’re going to get shit on a lot. Acknowledging this and still choosing to carry a positive attitude with you into battle, maybe with a shit-coat and shit-goggles to help avoid getting crap on yourself and in your eyes, but that’s about the best you can do.

Instead of doing this, my default has been the ‘something is wrong with me’ approach. This stems from the falsely held belief that the world is here to make me feel good. If you believe the world is here to make you feel good, when you feel bad you won’t attribute fault to the world, you’ll attribute fault to yourself, because the world is here to make you feel good, hencethereforth it must be your fault you feel bad.

Certainly, this is the case for myself. And with a default that tells me something must be wrong with me when I’m fighting a Boss and getting my ass kicked, my default way of dealing with the Bosses I’m fighting is to try to cover them up lest someone else see my flaws (the ‘somethings’ I perceive to be wrong with me). In other words, to suppress, ignore and/or hide my Boss battles away so other people can’t see who it is I’m fighting against. In other words, to “pretend-perfect”.

“Me, fighting a boss? Hah! No way Hombre. I’m like Superman, except without the cape” I say as I wipe my face to clear away the odd concoction of guilt and shame smeared across my face from the six milky bars, two bottles of coke and bag of lollies I’ve just engaged Rabid-Werewolf-mode on seconds earlier…

If you buy into the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, then the game of Life for each of us is actually all about Suffering through our unique battles and trying as best we can to triumph. There ain’t nothing wrong with you or me for this. Our only real fault lies in an insistence on holding onto the misguided belief that the world is here to make us feel good…

It ain’t.

So why do we pretend perfect?

Not sure really. To me it seems to be a weird game of chicken.

You see, if one person portrays themselves as Superman or Wonder Woman on Instagram / Facebook / whatevs, it sends out the message to the world that they’ve got all their shit together. That they are totally self-reliant. That Life is Not Suffering for them. This makes others want to do the same lest they appear less “shit-togethery”, which makes others want to do the same as them, which makes others want to do the same as them… which… you get the point. And so we end up with this vicious cycle of perfection-toting, where everyone is saying they’re perfect and no one is admitting they’re suffering. This weird game of Chicken then creates this weird fucked up community of imperfect people insisting on their perfection…

But, what does this really do for us?

Two thirds of one fifth of a bull’s testicle times zero. Fuck all. That’s what.

We end up having to live up to these perfectly-curated creations of ourselves which are total and utter Bull Shittus, which in turn makes everyone else who knows they aren’t perfect feel miserable. This causes problems because when the Shittus starts to hit the Fannus (Latin for ‘fan’) – which it undoubtedly will – we begin to find that because we’ve insisted on our perfection, there’s not many people for us to turn to for help.

In other words, the propensity to perfection-tote costs us something very important: a supportive community.

Why?

Well, do you want to be part of a community of people who insist they’re perfect? Because I don’t. That sounds fucking terrible to me. Not to mention total 100% Bull-Shittus.

I know the truth of the matter is a Boss has just caused you to literally Shittus your pants and some is now trickling down your legs, so why come at me with the Bull Shittus?

No?

Is it actually just me who’s shat his pants?

Is it actually just me who’s kicking around in the dark like a fuckwit?

Is it actually just me who admits I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing?

Is it actually just me who struggles to remain rooted in the present moment?

Is it actually just me who suffers?

Somehow, I highly doubt it.

Perhaps we choose to perfectly curate our Instagrams and Facebooks because we wish to believe we are perfect. Perhaps we want SOOOOOOOOOOOO bad for our shit to be perfect, so we can avoid admitting to ourselves that it ain’t. Or maybe more-so, to avoid having to admit to ourselves that we ain’t… OH, DEAR LORD NO… HEAVEN AND HOLY WATER FORBID, I AM PERFECT!!!

Doubt it.

“Perfection is shallow, unreal, and fatally uninteresting” – Anne Lamott

Perfection is perfectly Bull-Shittus.

To portray ourselves as such seems to lead only to more suffering for ourselves (as we can’t keep up the ridiculous image of ourselves we’ve created) and others (who believe the ridiculous image we’ve portrayed and so by comparison feel inadequate). Who the fuck wants to see your perfectly curated Instagram or Facebook while they’ve just indulged in the ultimate backslide and are lying on the couch as a hungover paralytic-sea-cucumber with Rabid-Werewolf mode engaged on a bucket of KFC?

Werewolf.png

No one. That’s who.

So, if we accept Life is Suffering, and that Bosses are coming for us, what strategies should we employ to fight them?

  1. Pick a strategy
  2. Try to remain present throughout the battle

But, what strategy?

I told you mine above. It might work for you. It might not. Different strategies will work for different people. This might have you thinking “so, what then I’ve got to figure it out on my own??”. Well, yeah, to a certain extent. But, not all the way.

We live in a world that worships self-reliance. Intuitively, you’d think this would be a good strategy for fighting Bosses. I myself have tried it multiple times against multiple different Bosses. But this strategy sucks. Employing this strategy is like trying to win a game of Snap by snapping the cards with your forehead. It takes longer to snap the cards than if you used your hand, while you also risk knocking yourself out. An adherence to a strategy of stringent self-reliance is a fucking lousy strategy for fighting Bosses.

Despite my tendency to write like a drunken Moose, I do appreciate some good old-fashioned cold-hard logic. And when it comes to fighting Bosses, “1 v Boss” simply isn’t as logical a choice as “Multiple v Boss”. In other words, adopting a strategy of stringent self-reliance is silly. Logically speaking.

Recently, I’ve decided to be more open with the people around me about my struggles (read as: less perfection-toting, more Shittus toting). And I’ve found it helps a great deal. It’s amazing some of the insights people have to offer. It’s shocking to me to hear just how much other people aren’t actually self-reliant at all. Like a friend who recently bought a house, something that seems incomprehensible to me as a Millenial, but who also told me they’d received substantial financial help from their parents in order to do so. Or my other friend who once owned his own business, but admitted he was gifted a bunch of gear without which he could never have gotten started. People rely on other people for support, because it’s EFFing hard to go it alone.

The issue is, we can only help each other fight these Bosses if we know who the fudge-popsicle it is we’re all fighting. I can’t help you fight Crappy Job Boss if you don’t tell me about it, much the same as you can’t help me fight the Sugar Boss if I don’t tell you about it.

If you can somehow couple your self-reliance in terms of coming up with your own Boss-battling strategies, with a strong (and real, not perfectly Bull-Shittus) community to support your attempts to implement the strategies you’ve come up with, I’d say you’ll be giving yourself some pretty good odds of defeating your Boss. This may seem obvious. But, honestly, I don’t know that it is. Sometimes it’s hard to see past the perfectly-bullshit Facebooks and Instagrams out there.

Despite how bad this may sound, I find great comfort in knowing that other people struggle with Bosses and shit running down their legs too. Not because I wish for them to experience discomfort. But because it makes me feel less alone knowing the perfectly curated Facebooks and Instagrams are fronts. Truth is, I’m not the only one battling Bosses while shit trickles down my legs.

Or… maybe I am, and by admitting so I’ve just embarrassed myself.

Whatevs man. I don’t give a Flying Fuckapotomus.

Flying fuckapotomus.png

Life for me ain’t all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, most of the time it’s a bunch of different Bosses trying to kick me in the ribs and make me cry. I do my best to remain present throughout each battle. Present in the struggle with a positive attitude. But I’ll admit, every now and again the Sugar Boss’s sweet tender embrace happens to get the better of me…

 

3 thoughts on “Overcoming personal challenges. And, Life is Suffering: is it true?”

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