Or… The process is the thing.
I’ve always liked to give short titles to my posts, but you can’t always be brief and clear.
So, this post has a long and wondering title, which is a great fit to introduce a long-ish and wondering post series. This series will be about what you can learn while doing something with consistency, for a long period of time, and realising that more than half the result is already in the process.
Things I’m learning from working ou. First:
- the body is easier to shape than the mind
No matter what Stoics say – that you don’t have control over your body, you have it just over your mind – I find it easier to order and be obeyed by my knee to bend that to be obeyed by my mind. Probably, it is all a matter of exercising the muscles of Will, and, while you started rather soon in your life bending and releasing knees and joints, following the examples of the other humans around you, having clear examples of people bending their thinking muscles in a personal yet wise way is more than rare. Don’t even think about getting encouraged to do it! The main encouragement you receive is to obey, to conform, and to have fun in the way and the modalities society proposes.
You have to:
- stay silent in class/respect the authority
- stay in school
- work at the appropriate age, doing appropriate things
- have fun on the weekends, preferably in fixed ways like:
- drinking (using/abusing substances. We say is wrong, but we encourage it)
- going to clubs
- involving yourself in shallow, real or digital, social life
- have casual sex because everybody is doing it and if you don’t you are a loser
- at the same, us the weekend to spot your Forever Love, who usually is a new lover, because the old one revealed to be just a brat asking to be loved.
- try to buy your happiness as hard as you can.
- believe that love, sugar, and sex are one and the same.
- believe that “love is the answer”, where Love is a quantifiable yet ineffable thing you are given and not an activity you do to yourself and others.
- believe that you can’t control the output of your emotions and that if you even try you’ll become less human. Emotions are the land of chaos, and we won’t teach you how to deal with them, but if you’ll screw it up the blame is on you.
- when in doubt, do what everybody else is doing.
- still in doubt? Complain. Everybody does it.
- feel wrong if you find glitches in the above logic.
I know, this is my opinion but is the opinion of a person who has done some reading for 35 years, some living for 41 years, and some working out for almost two years.
Believe me, even if you can’t (completely) control the health or the look of your body, the knees are easy, the mind is harder – mainly because it is difficult to find a good and trustworthy coach – but almost everything can be accomplished with the right work out. You just have to stick to it, forgive yourself when you fail and raise again to the challenge.
I think the first step is to start doubting. First thing, doubt the Authority. And by “doubt the Authority” I don’t mean that you should start not respecting the traffic lights and go straight ahead when the light is red, but wonder about the things that are in a way “because we have always done it that way”. Start asking “why?” you do some of the things you do. And when you find that you are acting on autopilot, following a routine you didn’t decide, then, you can exercise your reasoning and your will.
So, no. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m telling you, that you should tell yourself what to do. In this way even when you’ll end up doing the things you have always done, it will be because you have decided so. And that is the way a free human lives.
I’ve never preached so much in a post. Have I reached my preaching-limits? Who knows? I hope that you’ll find forgiveness in your heart. In the meanwhile, thank you for your precious time and have a great new week!