Last few days I’ve had a lot of paralytic anxiety, so I’ve been aware of that and had it on my mind. I’ve gone through this process enough times to know that the key is the pressure I put on myself, but I can’t always find my way back in my head to the origin. I start by saying a lot of mantras to myself (this is why I often have good quotes for living) and repeat them until something breaks through. I often think of the Samurai mindset where survival comes best from assuming death; it works by analogy very well elsewhere in life, such as achieving monetary success, doing well in a class, starting a relationship… focusing on the journey, not the risks. So, I keep that rolling around.
Earlier tonight I happened upon this awesome quote again by Max Planck:
Scientific discovery and scientific knowledge have been achieved only by those who have gone in pursuit of it without any practical purpose whatsoever in view.
Pressure started to lift. I continued thinking about all the pressure I put on myself and how my “potential” feels like such a burden when I let it get to me. And later I found myself eventually thinking “I’ll never change the world. That simply isn’t feasible. The best I can do is change a few lives, and I’ve even already done that.” When I say the world feels like it’s watching and laying a burden on me, I mean it. Why have I created this tremendous and powerful watchdog in my own psyche that hounds me every day, saying tsk tsk tsk, why aren’t you accomplishing more? It’s as if I’ve made my own internal version of god. When I let it crush me, the only end result is that I sit around and dawdle, watch YouTube, play games, not really wanting to, not really enjoying myself, wondering why I’m not doing something else. Why is it so often true that directly pursuing a goal is antithetical to achieving it?