Fix Yourself Maybe

Become Immune to Burnout Through Honesty

Are you working too hard?

Are you working too hard? Are you working too hard? Are you working too hard? Did your answer waver at any point? Are you working too hard?

I propose that burnouts caused by internal motivations arise when a person has lied to themselves for too long.

I’ll paraphrase a guest speaker on Scott Barry’s Psychology Podcast, who claimed that people can achieve at peak performance for a certain period of time before their resources shut down or go depleted. What this means is that if you are fatigued, you will still be able to work at max potential before you experience symptoms. This is not sustainable. I presume that a burnout will therefore occur if you reach this stage and continue to push regardless.

Great, now let’s prevent this.

Are you working too hard? Ask yourself. What are your responsibilities? Have you told yourself to put your clothes away, or your dishes, or to do your homework at any point recently? If so, this may be a failure waiting to happen. Do not tell yourself to do these things, ask yourself to do these things. If you learn to maintain a dialogue with yourself, then you will learn what your body and soul truly yearn for. You will be able to see what motivates you, and what things you detest. In order to get a chore done in a sustainable fashion, you must always remember on an almost spiritual level why exactly you have chosen to prioritize it at the given moment.

Imagine you have decided that you should clean your room, but then your mother walks in.

She screams, “clean your pathetic pigsty of a room this instant!”… How do you feel now? Do you still feel motivated? Or do you feel robbed of the meaningfulness behind deciding to clean your room – or something along those lines. This is no different from commanding yourself to do something. If you command yourself to do something, you are robbing yourself of the ability to conclude that it was a meaningful thing to do. This will crush your motivation over the long term, if you do so frequently enough.

So ask yourself if you want to put your clothes away.

You may find that the answer is no. Great, then don’t do it. But at the least, consider your second priority. Do you want to put your dishes away? No? Great, then don’t do it either. But wait, it’s important that I do these things – so how can I just hold them off? This much is for you to figure out. What has worked for me was to be honest with myself – if I didn’t want to do something, I would discover why. I would analyze myself. I would break down my motivations into smaller parts, and then come to terms with them and understand them. From these, I would research any psychology that seemed to be related to the components of my issues. I got down to the grains of my motivation, and there I found similarity behind all grains of chores. If ever I faltered and failed at doing a chore I thought was important, I would ask myself the questions listed in this article, and break it down to fundamental flaws in my internal systems for completing that particular chore. Was it not important to me? Am I too lazy to do this? Am I too tired tonight to do it? Am I too tired every night and therefore require a system restructuring? I would answer these questions, as honestly and critically as I could manage, and this usually yielded in a better understanding of myself.

If you want to avoid burnout, then my suggestion is that you learn how to ask yourself to do something rather than tell yourself to do things, and that you answer your own questions as honestly as possible.

In my personal experience, a burnout forced me to reflect upon what was not working in my life.

What patterns have I maintained to cause myself such hopelessness and lack of energy? I discovered the answer lied in dishonesty (haha) towards myself, towards my motivations. In that regard, the experience of a burnout has been priceless to me as it has taught me the importance of self honesty. However, I presume this is not a road that necessarily needs to be traveled in order to understand the lesson. A systematic and thorough person who is able to stay on task is likely to have automatized the procedures that I have discussed, whether they may be conscious to having done so or not. Of course, as I hope you do with all my works – consider them nothing more than hypotheses and catalysts for necessary or deeper reflection. Thank you for reading, and I hope you decide to leave your thoughts below.

Fix Yourself Maybe

Fix Any Problems Using the Grain Model

The meaning of life is not a thing. It is an idea. The self is not one component, but instead a collection of things that have birthed some sort of illusion. Your day to day problems are not real, tangible things, they are concepts – like self and the meaning of life – that you’ve been thrust upon.

A forest is a concept – which is to say a conceptualization created by humans. In reality, a forest is just a collection of trees – trees, wildlife, grass, weather, fungi, dirt – these are the sub-concepts that a forest is comprised of; we’ll call these identities. Let’s work with one of these identities – trees. A tree is large, it is brown, wet, it is hard and sturdy. These are the characteristics of its identity. We will work with largeness. A tree that is large must actively maneuver around shadows to reach the sun, and it must absorbs nutrients. These responsibilities that bring forth characteristics will be referred to as grains or actions.

From concept, to identities, to characteristics, to actions. You can subtract a few identities, and you may still have a forest. You can subtract a few characteristics, and you’ll perhaps still have a tree. You can subtract a few actions, yet may see that your tree managed to become large. However, once you have enough actions, a characteristic will form. Once you have enough characteristics, an identity will form. And once you have enough identities, a concept will spring forth. If you truly want to understand the self, then start at the grains.

For the broader issues such as the meaning of life, or general problems, it seems to be counter productive to analyze from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. The human cannot comprehend the amalgam of grains if the grains have collected enough to build a concept. He must look deeper and understand many individual grains, and only once the logic behind many individual grains has become automatized within him may he fathom the whole concept. Remember this when trying to solve a problem – break it down to an action: if you focus on the whole before understanding the grains, you will likely lose.

Fix Yourself Maybe Outlandish Ideas

Should Children be Psychologists?

It is silly that children aren’t taught basic psychology at a young age. We want an educated society. There is no basic knowledge that is as practical as the science of motivation. Children who do not understand themselves until it is too late will eventually be tainted by unfair self-loathing. They grow into emerging adults who witness an earth shattering incongruity between the psyche that they have seamlessly been forced to ascribe to, and the psyche that their souls have been unchallengeably striving towards since around early teenhood.
But what is the cure? An early understanding of the self. This can be attained by studying the basic mechanics of the brain and behavior from an early age. How in heaven’s name can we expect a child to be motivated if he himself does not even know what motivation is? How can we expect them to pay attention if the concept of attention is invisible to them? Humans desire to understand things, hands on. If you tell them not to go into a burning hotel, yet they don’t see the fire, they will not learn to see fire. We cannot command children to remain more attentive or motivated if they themselves do not understand the mechanisms of those processes.
How does motivation work? How does attention work? Will you truly claim that robbing the child of the potential to discover these things for themselves is productive? People, in their souls, have a need for personal moral virtue building. I propose that learned people or authority figures should expose children to concepts of motivation, proper habit formation, and basic functions of the brain, and also that they haven’t been doing so enough in the real world. We can solve problems by breaking them down to fathomable and tangible pieces. For example, if we truly wished to do well on an exam, we would not tell ourselves simply to “do well on the exam”. We would analyze what constitutes the behavior of one who would do well on an exam. A person who does well on an exam will study systematically, take the time to go over the questions he has made mistakes on, will understand a concept fully before moving on from it, and he won’t allow his phone to distract him. Only once we succeed at these broken down micro-problems, will we realize that the collection of these problems – the “doing well on the exam” is attainable. Now, does this sound like something you’ve always known yet haven’t actually been aware of? Imagine being told this, and being retold this as a child. I suspect that children do not receive this sort of advice nearly as frequently as they should.
Let’s extend this to a grander scale. Many people in life have no direction. They drag their walking corpse through a series of movements that they may call a routine day, as they curse the world and their unfortunate combination of genes and environments for the constant throbbing pains in the back of their skull. They lack direction. In a university setting, this may be akin to “I have no idea what I want to study so I’m in Film Studies”. Now, how might one find a direction? You may consider figuring out where you want to go, for one. And to figure out where you want to go, you would need to understand why you want to go where you want to go. To understand this, perhaps one must practice being honest with themselves. What does your soul think? If you are in science, and you have always hated science, then there may be an incongruity between what you want, and the actions you are taking to get what you tell yourself you want. If you continue to be ignorant to this deception, you may risk allowing it to grow and consume you. This doesn’t mean drop science, as we can never know what ends up being good or bad for us. It simply means acknowledge the mental and physiological indicators that your body is imposing on you so that you can understand the most productive way to proceed. Acknowledge your every “why” behind being where you are, and make sure you understand it well, or at least are on the way to understanding it. Success at this indicates a success at understanding what motivates you, and more importantly, that you know how to be honest with yourself. This skill will not likely show you a direction. You will likely realize that the new direction was no better. However, mastery of this will at the least help you determine when to change directions, and this is perhaps the true purpose of looking for direction to begin with. Does this also sound like something you know in your core, yet weren’t aware you knew? Now imagine being told this, and being retold this as a child. I suspect that children do not receive this sort of advice nearly as frequently as they should – and I do believe that the role of any great teacher figure in a child’s life is to get them to actively undergo this kind of decision making, so that they may have a chance to refine this fundamental wisdom.

What do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Tell me your thoughts down in the comments below.