an exercise in willpower…

“I’m gonna do it this time! I really am! Just you watch!”

As an infomercial host would say, “Sound familiar?”

I was locked into deep conversation with my best friend (who I’ll call Dub) the other night. We talked about many issues near and dear to us, but the topic which prompted this post (and blog) is motivation. Specifically, motivation to achieve happiness.

“Really?” you say. “That’s your problem? You don’t know how to be happy?”

Let me explain…

My mind is filled with grand ambitions, like many whom I’m sure have sat in the very same coffee shop Dub and I chatted in. Also, like many of those same people, I go to work every day and put up with a bunch of bullshit. I do this partially because I enjoy the technical challenges involved in my line of work and partially because I make decent money. With that money, I am able to support my family’s somewhat expensive hobbies as well as provide a secure financial future for us all. But I’m always asking the question, “Is this what I really want to do for the next 30 years?” Sure, I could put up with it. But if I had some way of supporting my family without putting up with it, well, that would be nice. Really nice.

I think I’ve finally matured beyond the point of believing that this is something I can do on my own. Maybe groups like AA have it right. We need friends to support us. If we go at this alone, the odds are that most of us are totally doomed.  Sure, we may be able to light a fire and get things warmed up for a couple months and everything seems just so wonderful and cozy. But when things get tough and the rain comes pouring down a month later, who’s going to break out the umbrella you so conveniently forgot? When you’re beat down and wore out from dealing with emergencies, who’s going to force you to plant the seeds necessary for you to have a successful crop next year?

Now, I’m not saying this lofty motif of comradeship will guarantee success. If I were a betting man (which I am), I would bet the odds. And based on past failures of commitment to such goals, the odds couldn’t be any clearer. But this is different than how I’ve done things in the past and I’m doing my best not to fit the definition of insanity.

In essence, I want to thank Dub for being there and I hope that I can return the favor.


0 thoughts on “an exercise in willpower…

  1. […] Thanks to John Howell for passing on this particular challenge. It’s a little frightening to peek into the past, but here I am for all to see. […]

  2. How nice to be here at your first post. 🙂 Glad you took the plunge.

  3. I really like the first post. The subject of how much we need others is one that could be discussed for eons. The idea of pairing it with the desire to question long-term goals is a unique position. Well done.

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