Time And Emotional Control

It’s a cliché, but worth repeating that time is by far the most valuable thing you have. Except for money of course, but time is money as well.

I am terrible about doing productive activities. If I do two hours of productive stuff a day it’s a great day for me. I waste a lot of time on the internet and doing stuff I can hardly remember.

Goofing off or watching TV produces no stress because it demands nothing from you. Reading shit on the internet produces stress- if you’re liberal you’re outraged at the sinister right-wing conspiracy, if you’re conservative you’re enraged at the sinister left-wing conspiracy, or if your beliefs are not easily categorized you’re pissed about some other stuff people are doing- but it’s not about you, and thus easier to take.

Doing productive activities to improve yourself produces stress and for me it’s unpleasant. If I’m applying for a job I think I probably won’t get the job anyway, if I’m doing some self-improvement I think it probably won’t work. If I’m exercising I’m thinking I probably won’t get in shape, but I at least can think I’m keeping my condition from deteriorating. That’s not all that motivating so I don’t work out that much.

The confidence book guy likes to talk about your “inner voice”, which has had me evaluating my thought processes. Cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy are based on the idea that a person can examine his thoughts, decide whether they are correct or not, and then keep or discard them. A person suffering from mental anguish is simply thinking incorrectly, and can easily correct his thinking with a little insight. This is an excessively reductionist and unempathetic view of the matter, while not being entirely wrong. The truth though is more complicated.

“Positive thinking” is the mantra in our society. Negative thinking and unpleasant thoughts are to be avoided. Negative thoughts and beliefs about oneself are especially to be avoided. And yet one must have some negative and unpleasant thoughts, about the environment, and other people. In excess, even if true, they are destructive and counterproductive. But where is this balance?

I have trouble with the idea I shouldn’t think ill of others. As Roy Baty said in “Blade Runner”, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe….” I have less trouble with the idea that I shouldn’t think ill of myself, and yet I come from a religious background where intense critical self-examination is demanded.

Often lower-status people get a lot of negative feedback. There are different ways of dealing with it. You may have noticed some people who are very servile and always looking for positive attention. Usually these people are fairly goofy, and have a kind of forced bonhommie. This seems like a way of saying “Don’t hit me!” These people are usually treated with some indulgence, but they arent’ respected. On the other hand there are people who are hostile and surly, and they may wear certain kinds of clothes to project a tough or anti-social image.

If you have had an excessive amount of negative feedback you may become unable to process it. I have to figure out a way to process the right amount to improve myself, but not so much as to become discouraged.


6 Responses to Time And Emotional Control

  1. idontknow says:

    I started as a slightly eccentric kid and it seems like as I accumulated negative feedback I got progressively stranger and more withdrawn and this elicited even more negative feedback. It is a vicious cycle.

    I think for people like us, becoming more confident and social requires a lot of time and a lot of work but it is worth it. I mean, think of the alternative.

  2. estnihil says:

    I can’t really do self-help schemes for different reasons. There’s the crushing pain I get when it turns out that no one in the outside world acts any differently, or when they actually think I’m behaving worse, because I’m not my normal depressed self. Also, there’s this misanthropy I have. Most of these self-help schemes are pretty much based on happy-people-thoughts. It’s like trying to tell the blind how to see. When they try to tell me that somehow loving everyone else is going to make me better, I just stop reading. Empathy, I find, is just emotional masturbation most of the time – and when I actually had it, it was just yet another excuse for people to just walk all over me. I’d prefer if people could actually share useful advice with each other, instead of just reinforcing the beliefs that happy people already have. For example, I’ve learnt that, contrary probably to a lot of self-help/delusion books, that bullying other people actually wins you some respect, if you do it in a comedic manner. Even the so-called “nice” girls like it when you make fun of someone, though they may pretend to frown or look away when you do it.

  3. ML says:

    Every woman loves the boot of a fascist.

  4. […] Omega Man – “Time and Emotional Control” […]

  5. Lovekraft says:

    I disagree that the internet is inherently frustrating. One shouldn’t just read things he/she agrees with, and will search out new knowledge and filter it accordingly, provided one has a good filter.

    And good Bladerunner ref. “all these things and more, will be lost, like tears in rain.”

  6. tg moderator says:

    It helps to see daylight. The exercise thing is one example. I’ve been a skinny geek all my life, but finally started a serious weight training program at the age of 46. I’ve gained about twenty pounds of muscle in two years and rehabilitated a bad knee and shoulder. I saw no improvement at all for the first month… Education is another example. A graduate certificate may take as few as four classes and avoid the GRE exam for those that want to pursue a masters. Acredited online degrees are available and some are very good–buyer beware.

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