A Man's Gotta Have A Code

I'm not a believer in the idea that the simple inertia of life will deliver you from unhappiness to some glorious utopia where everything is awesome. I'm not sure I've ever believed that, but I can look at how I've behaved at different times over the years, and whether or not I believed in what I was doing, that's what I was doing.

Something that's occupied my mind a bit more than usual lately is the value of consistency. In any given situation, I have any given number of options for how to act, not act, whatever. And I can typically make a case for any number of those actions by appealing to different parts of myself. My desire to get laid might want to hit on that woman. My desire to be seen as a gentleman might see that as uncouth, and would prefer to sit back and nurse a drink until she notices me. My desire to one day be known as a great writer might want to get the hell out of the bar, go home, and write something, anything, to keep me inching toward my 10,000 hours.

The challenge is that these forces and desires pull me in different directions that often impede each other - a more extreme kind of opportunity cost. A consistent vision and drive is valuable in situations like this - a compass you can always refer back to to judge the wisdom or folly of a given action. Even though I disagree with most religions, I feel like I get why they appeal to people for the first time in my life. Without clear aims, progress in one area can undermine another and you don't make much forward progress for the effort you're putting into your life, and religions provide those rulesets (even if the endgame is typically bullshit).

This isn't anything I've finalized or decided on, and I'm not even sure if it's something I'll publicize when it's done because the only person who'll hold me to account on it is me, but it's something I'm working on, and I feel really good about it.


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4 comments

  • It is indeed late. We can talk more on this over lunch tomorrow.

    • Brian Alkerton
  • I was thinking about exactly this earlier this summer. Came to a different, but equal in spirit, framework.

    You coming in for CanLIT? ‘Cuz if so… let’s discuss more beforehand

    • Aidan Nulman
  • I would love to make CanLIT, but I have obligations keeping me in Ottawa that weekend. There’s a good-to-decent chance I’ll be in Toronto in early April for a few days. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Brian Alkerton
  • I’ve been struggling with this for the past year myself actually. 

    Looking at highly successful folks, I keep noticing a general trend-line, which is that most have a higher standard to which they hold themselves to. 

    A more sophisticated version of shoot for the moon, if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars. While that’s a rather simplistic allegory, and you can technically argue that if you miss, you’ll end up as another 1000+ asteroid/meteorite, I’m sure you get the point. It’s late, I have nothing else up my sleeve and this is an unnecessary digression.

    As much as I don’t like Edison, because he was a perpetual bully to Tesla, and Tesla’s ideas, I do respect the man’s hard work ethic. In a similar style to Ben Franklin, when interviewed about his success, this is what he had to say:

     ’You do something all day long, don’t you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most men, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.’
    The problem that you and I might be facing, is finding that one “problem” which is worthy of our life’s time.Multitasking is overrated.

    • A+B Alexander Bakus