Monday, August 18, 2008

Half Victories

Before I start a bit of explanation. I've been reading an interesting book on the nature of influence recently. I could ramble on for a while about it, but the reason it's salient to this post is that it discusses the power a commitment gains when it's made as a public declaration. In essence it's a group identity thing, but getting into why this is true is not the point right now, I simply want to point out that it is.

The matter I'm actually writing about is another pattern of anxiety behavior that I'm seeing. Like most of these discoveries it's also true in retrospect, even several months in retrospect, but mourning past mistakes gets in the way of making future corrections.

The basic behavior is this. I go to do some thing which is still clouded, I lose the battle with that cloud, but because of this I end up spurring myself forward to do something else. The something else is basically always something lower on my list, and something less clouded by anxiety. The thing about this behavior that bugs me is that it's spurred me on to doing a number of things which I think really needed to be done, but all of those were done at the cost of some larger more important task.

The pros and cons of this aside I'm interested in this because it represents a step up from what I call "slipping" which is going from a failed attempt at piercing the cloud goes to doing something worthless. The "something worthless" is almost always defined as playing an MMO. I'm still getting things done, I'm just not getting the right things done. This makes the issue of fighting this behavior much trickier. I can't look back on what I've done with true scorn, but I know that this is ultimately a destructive behavior.

The more I think about it the more I find myself thinking that the way to fight this is the same way I've been fighting everything else. Keep myself pointed at the task, and keep moving forward. It's the almost insultingly easy solution that's unexpectedly difficult to implement.


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