There are, sadly, days where you have almost nothing on your mind to direct your focus on. And as a writer, that couldn’t possibly be any more frustrating.
The TV keeps delivering news, but nothing sounds ridiculous enough for you to rant on. The people you know and follow on Instagram keep posting photos, but they seem so self-repeated that you hit like as a natural response rather than from the bottom of your heart. You even start unfollowing some people whom you used to like a lot just to avoid the annoyance from the things they post.
On days like these, my mind tends to wander to a point where I start to throw myself against a train full of ill-conceptualized questions on my existential stance, how evils manage to have its role in the world, or something like that.
That’s how I usually end up on a reading marathon on Kindle, reading books I barely touched before even though I’ve had them for a while. Maps of Meaning by Jordan Peterson, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People by Les Giblin (I have a job interview next week if you may excuse me).
I’m not trying to sound smart here. In fact, the first ones made me feel inherently stupid no matter how hard Mr. Hawking tries to make it as easy to understand as possible.
As I skipped from one book to another, I discovered a few interesting things from each of these extraordinary minds.
Jordan Peterson used to be a socialism advocate before turning to psychology and eventually became an Internet dad (yep, I was only scrapping the preface).
Stephen Hawking reassured me how right I was to give up the dream of working for NASA, because no matter how much I enjoyed exploring the world of astronomy and his work, I couldn’t possibly remember a thing.
And then there was Les Giblin who was talking about how important it is to listen to others when engaging in communications, yet his spectacular ideas somehow directed me straight to the problem I was stuck with.
In Giblin’s words, “modern psychologists do not tell us anymore to deprecate the self, or overcome the self, or even to do away with all selfish instincts. What they do tell us is to get our attention off ourselves—to stop being self-centered and selfish in a petty, stupid way.”
I can’t recall how many times I’ve tried to turn my articles into the ‘Pulitzer-winning worthy’ kind of thing. And obviously, that is something unreachable (at least for now) considering how amateur and uneducated I currently am in the field of journalism, but whenever I sit down and start writing, I can’t resist the desire of creating one hell of a masterpiece. Yet, this mindset is the same thing that refrains me from striking the keyboard and let the words flow.
Any good dancing teacher, however, will tell you to “get your attention off your feet” while dancing. Let a dancer become foot-conscious and think too much about his feet, let him begin to wonder whether his feet are really going to do what he wants them to do, and he is apt to stumble, or at least appear awkward and mechanical. Dancing teachers do not tell you to “cut off your feet” or “amputate your legs” just because they have discovered that paying too much attention to the feet and legs can be a handicap. In fact, they encourage their students to strengthen their legs by certain exercises. When a dancer knows that his legs are strong, and that he can depend upon them, he is more likely to be able to forget them while dancing than if he secretly fears his legs are too weak to see him through.
A good dancer must “listen to the music.” The secret of dancing, once you learn the basic steps, is not to consciously say to yourself, “Now I must be sure that my right foot goes right over here—and then I want my left foot to take one short step.” If you do this, you can’t listen to the music, and if you don’t listen to the music, you can’t keep in time or in step. A good dancer directs his attention on the music the orchestra is playing and lets his feet do the right thing.
Les Giblin – How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People
Sometimes, you just gotta let things flow, and for now, I’m listening to the desire of sharing whatever the heck is going on my mind right now.
Psychologists help fixing their patients’ problems by allowing them to share what they have been through. We all need to get things off our mind every now and then, and by deciding to go free-flow on this one, I confide in you to be my psychologist.
Is there anything that you want to get off your chest? What are you suffering from?
Speak up, and screw the stress away.
Featured image by @llt1711