The last barrier to change
For me, the last barrier to making a change in viewpoint or behavior that removes a barrier to productivity or creativity is this: “I could have done it all along.” And of course, I could have. All I did was change my mind. I could have changed my mind at any time. I just didn’t.
That realization leads to this: “By not changing my mind earlier, I’ve been wasting my life.” Not my whole life. Just a goddamned big part of it. By being stupid.
And is there anything worse than being stupid? Stupidly, I don’t think so.
The idea that I’ve wasted months and years of my life—that I could have produced more and accomplished more—fills me with anguish. Why didn’t I have that thought earlier? There was no obstacle! Nothing but my own stupidity. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
And so on.
To fully get the gain, I’ve to accept the pain. It’s different from the pain of pushing your body to make it stronger. It’s different from the pain of working hard to learn something new. Those are noble kinds of pain. There’s nothing noble about realizing you’ve been stupid. It’s just pain. Stupid pain. And I don’t want it. I resist it. And that just makes it worse.
And yet, what of it? The me that was stupid is Past Me. And he’s gone. That me that knows better is Present Me. And Present Me now has a new gift to give Future Me: the gift of knowledge replacing the legacy of stupidity that I inherited.
And being mad at Past Me for that legacy is a stupidity that I’ve long since transcended. Whatever his failings and inadequacies, Past Me has given me the gift of life. So thank you, Past Me!
Instead of focusing on the years that I’ve wasted (actually that Past Me’s have wasted) I can enjoy what I have at this moment, and think about the years of productivity that Future Me’s will get to enjoy. Years unhampered by a wrong idea I’ve gotten rid of and the better idea I know possess. Years of creativity.
Looking back to what might have been and regretting it only causes pain. Past me was not ready. Present me is ready. Future me has the world in front of it.
Here are some of my other blog posts on discomfort. I'll be adding to them.
Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting
Family of Mind (Internal Family Systems)
Learning to learn: Gain without pain
Out of my comfort zone75 years old minus 9 days, WTF? On sleeping and sufferingWhatever it takes
Doing the hard stuff