“This is what you deserve. You could be good today. But instead you choose tomorrow.”
– Marcus Aurelius
1.) The Philosophy of Time
2.) Drama Avoidance
3.) Create An Elitist Bubble
4.) Love The Grind
5.) In Closing / Relevant Reading
1.) The Philosophy of Time:
An ambitious man feels like he never quite has enough time, for vision is vast and time brief. A man who lives to achieve must thus do so constantly, for considerable gaps in productivity lead to self-loathing. A man who respects time disrespects himself for wasting it, his very reason for being tied inextricably to his productivity.
If an ambitious man is productive, he is happy, if he’s not, he isn’t; he doesn’t achieve because he wants to, but rather, because he has to. Such a man has no choice in the matter, but rather this is the way his life must be, for if his happiness were not tied to his productivity, his life would not be a life worth living.
Only a man without an appreciation for time is content to waste it, for absent ambition he is ignorant of the path forfeited. If the unambitious man could peek into the life of his productive self, he’d believe the greatness strewn in front of him were a con. Consumed by ignorance and unable to appreciate the relationship between greatness and productivity, the mundane man does not even dream dreams, let alone build them.
An actualised man bereft present or future achievement is a shadow of his former self, for achievement is addictive and ambition cruel. A man who’s given up is not really a man, he doesn’t feel like one and nobody sees him as one, for expectations of men are great and the achievements of such men, poor. Many struggle to optimise their time and few master the endeavour, but he who does not try or no longer tries is held in contempt by those who retain a respect for time.
To be an actualised man is not merely to have achieved, but to continue to do so; actualisation does not entail retirement, for a man’s work is not done until his time’s spent. Time is limited and ambition gluttonous, and so a man must separate the worthy from the unworthy, make firm choices, and live with them regardless of their retrospective efficacy.
A man cannot choose to spend time like he can money, for time answers to no man, spending itself until spent. Armed with the knowledge that time is spent regardless of one’s will, the wise man endeavours to spend it as wisely as possible. It is from this knowledge that the productivity obsession is born, born from the realisation that although one’s quantity of time is fixed, its quality need not be.
The ambitious man is all too aware of mortality’s brevity, and with a scope of mind that can tap into the infinite, he is compelled to lead life in the knowledge that nothing he does will ever be enough, but that to not even make the attempt is an act of self-betrayal.
If a man can optimise his time but his competition can’t, he beats the competition. If he and his competition have equal time, but he can do more with less of it, he beats the competition. We are all allocated an amount of time to do with as we see fit, but not all time is of equal quality. It is the man himself who determines the quality of his time, whilst chance determines its quantity.
The quality of time is determined by three core factors: vision, energy and focus. Absent energy a man cannot act, absent vision he cannot strive, and absent focus he cannot actualise. Master all three facets and the quality of one’s time vastly improves, lack even one facet and one’s potential escapes them. Vision alone is inadequate, and this is why many men dream but do not achieve. Vision bereft energy lacks the impetus to manifest, whilst vision bereft focus lacks the discipline to implement.
An underachieving man should pay particular attention to the three facets, and take the time to honestly introspect with himself. He should identify which aspect of his character is lacking, and form a plan of attack for rectifying the dysfunction.
2.) Drama Avoidance:
The internet contains a volume of knowledge beyond even one’s wildest dreams, and yet it is a sea of theatricism full of people violently competing for your attention. The average person’s self-discipline is inferior to the average narcissist’s lust for attention, and so in light of such a reality, one must exercise great care in who they apportion their time.
To be used effectively, the internet requires great discipline. The internet is an attention economy, and so histrionic narcissism sells, and sells big time. This is fine for average people, but a man who wants to become great has no time for such trivialities.
Drama is attention porn and junk information, it psychically robs a man of his focus and time the same way junk food robs it physically. People who create drama do not care about your struggle to be a better man, they are all too happy to take the time you need to build yourself to build their brand. Do not let them.
A man’s time is valuable not only to him, but likewise to those who would prey on his emotions to monopolise his attention. Fortunes are built on capturing attention, and the easiest way to do this is through drama. Everything costs a man time, but not everything gives him value for his time. If productivity is about enhancing the value of time by doing things that enhance the practitioner, then drama at best gives a man nothing for something, and at worst ruins his mental state with no pay-off.
Drama creates hysteria, and hysteria’s real value is to serve its master, not the pawns that it consumes and controls. As such, the optimisation of one’s time all but necessitates the avoidance of drama, great men create drama as a strategic gambit, but they are not pulled into the webs of others.
3.) Create An Elitist Bubble:
It is important for a man to filter the information he consumes, for he becomes what he exposes himself to. If he watches mediocrity, reads mediocrity and discusses mediocrity, then he is destined to be mediocre. When stated so plainly it seems obvious, but in practice it is typically anything but.
A man should not only avoid the dramatic, but likewise the low value. Average people are a drain because the average are mediocre, they have no thirst for greatness nor vision, and thus an aspirational man has not even the slightest hope of relating to them.
Average people aren’t going anywhere in life, so they deify trivia to keep themselves distracted. When a man is not building a life, he is busy commenting on how other’s run theirs; this is a manifestation of the consumer/producer mentality that distinguishes winners from losers and these are the type of people you want to avoid.
The average are fuelled by triviality, but the great do all they can to avoid it. The reason it is so difficult to avoid the trivial is because the average are numerous, and triviality is their prime interest. To become great you must avoid triviality, and in order to achieve this you will find yourself becoming more elitist in your associations. As the standards you hold yourself to rise, so do your standards of others, those who no longer meet the bar must be left behind, lest they drag you back.
4.) Love The Grind:
Unaccomplished men have a tendency to complain about how difficult it is to improve instead of using the energy spent complaining on improving. The trick to grinding is to enjoy the grind. If a man enjoys doing something productive, it doesn’t feel like work and thus he performs better than if he looked at it as work. A man should always go into something with the idea it better completes him to do it, that in doing it he gains, and that gains require effort and effort is normal.
It should be a man’s goal to mentally reach a place where he’s so in love with the game he can’t imagine doing anything but playing it. This is in contrast to those who avoid the game because they fear it, a full conversion from escaping into the mediocrity of pop culture and entertainment, to reading, lifting, networking and creating.
Emotions dictate a lot of what a man does and doesn’t do regardless of how weak or strong his logic is. A negative perception of a task makes it subjectively difficult regardless of whether said task is objectively difficult, as such a man should construct positive perceptions for difficult tasks if he seeks greatness.
5.) In Closing / Relevant Reading:
A man can build himself a great life only if he pursues the difficult and relishes the pain of challenge. He should not waste time on regret, as although one should not aspire to squander time, they should forgive themselves for doing so; punishing one’s self for past frivolity is an act of present frivolity – carpe diem.