There’s been one thing that has been bothering me for the last few years. It is our relationship with entertainment. Just last year, I wrote a book about my big break up with being mindlessly entertained because I had found the only way to find fulfillment in my life was to not seek distance from being disappointed by it.
Everyday I would mindlessly stare at a screen. I’d watch entertaining videos, read entertaining articles, and keep myself entertained with games. I continued to live my life as a means of an adult amusement park where I got to choose all the rides and never had to wait in line.
The problem was that I knew I had to move on, but I had no idea where to go in terms of my everyday motion and the blip that represents my whole life. To live a good life, I must know where life leads.
Everyday I’d feel a lingering guilt that a life lived this idly was not what I was meant to be. That my life should consist more of a struggle and a journey. That I should have a natural struggle with the many evils in my life and the truth should struggle to overcome it.
This turned life into a movement. A walk of life to one’s natural fulfillment of those ideas which illuminated me to do more. That nobody will ever come through the door to rescue me, but rather that I already possess all the material from which I can create my ideal self.
I would start to study the media more. The more I’d learn about it, the more I felt that it would manufacture my consent of being okay with my presuppositions of what life is really about. I’d take a look at my family’s past and their consumption habits. As a kid, I remembered that I was practically raised in front of a television or a Nintendo. I’d watch my parents take a preference to live idly in front of a television to stay in the 24-hour news cycle and watch the latest product of entertainment.
I’d take a deeper look at advertisements through my consumption. I would see a perception of the world which only benefitted those selling the products where the consumers could be severely harmed from consuming. While an extreme example might be a cliche pharmaceutical commercial, there is no going to say that every commercial that airs is akin to the opposite of what you should be doing.
There’s no commercials on the benefits of exercise and getting outdoors. There’s no commercials on eating well and the benefits of sleep. There’s no commercials on modestly priced goods that better your life. How do I know? Because I lived this life for majority of mine. Everything I consumed and bought into harmed me. The fast food, the energy supplements, the need for a brand new car, and the dire need to watch an upcoming series coming this fall.
All of that consumption kept me trapped. I’d get fat, dumb, poor, and paralyzed by continuing in the habit. I’d have to learn a bit about psychology before I could follow Pavlov’s footsteps to recondition me salivating at the manufactured stimulus I received for most of my life. I had no role models to show me the way, and I had to break free from it myself.
Once I’d get the taste of the inversion, my lifestyle completely changed over a couple years. I’d go from constantly staring at a device each and every day to being on it the minimum time I’m required to do so. I’d take entertainment in doing more things with my kids and bettering myself each and everyday. I’d ignore the mainstream news and follow this inversion principle that has helped me become fit, smart, wealthy, and able to do whatever I set my mind on.
If I now wanted to write a book, it would get done. If I wanted a promotion at work, I would get one. If I wanted to find financial freedom, I’d be well along my journey. If I wanted to run a half-marathon or a Spartan race, I would show up and be done with it an hour and a half or so later.
My training is a constant unlearning. It is unlearning the bad to be able to learn the good. It is addition by subtraction. It is being okay with disappointing yourself rather than entertaining yourself from it.
Along the way, I’d have to disappoint myself many times each day. When I first began, I would look in the mirror to see the disappointment of how fat I had got. When I wouldn’t understand words in books I would read, I would be disappointed that I was not very well read. When I wouldn’t eat well and felt like shit afterwards, I would be disappointed I was never taught a better way.
Life is one big disappointment. That’s a constant we need to keep in mind as we pass through it. People will disappoint you. Life will disappoint you. You will disappoint you. How you react to the disappointment is what differs your life from others. This isn’t to say to have envy for others as that is another topic for another day, but to have envy for the future version of you who was strong enough to work through the disappointment to the point where you are proud of how far you’ve come.