Getting back from travel really leaves me on something of a back foot.
Of course, I spent like two hours today on a call hammering out some game design stuff, so I suppose that one could say that I really wasn’t unproductive so much as not doing the normal things that I would consider productive. There was some of that too, but not as much as I had been doing.
Strength and weakness of mind are mis-named; they are really only the good or happy arrangement of our bodily organs.François de La Rochefoucauld
Right now I have an appreciation for this statement in ways that I don’t think I would always have. I’ve got a headache and I’m exhausted, and I’m also a tad hungry. It’s amazing how a couple little things have such a big impact on my abilities.
Of course, none of these are novel. I’ve been tired and had headaches before, and I get hungry with regularity. In fact, I’ve experienced this exact combination of detriments over and over again.
But one of the things that I note about this is that I tend to lead myself down very different paths of behavior when I’m in “good” condition than I do when I’m not, despite the fact that my actual abilities are probably not significantly impaired by the way I am right now.
Of course, Rochefoucauld has perceived a reality that definitely justifies the statement he makes. Being tired definitely gets in the way of functioning. Pain and hunger impact mood, but how much they really impact functioning is probably pretty dependent on the individual. I’m afraid to say I’m something of a wimp. I have a very good pain tolerance on the high end of the spectrum–I broke my arm as a youth and was more concerned with getting dinner than any pain that it was causing me even as it gave way under my weight when I attempted to stand–but I also have a tendency to whine and moan. Worse, I enjoy this sort of complaining and I let it lead to a certain self-indulgence in which I am less productive than I really should be.
Of course, this is the antithesis of what I should probably be doing. When you face a trial, you are presented with a unique opportunity to overcome something that poses a challenge to your unique being. This allows you to move along several different paths, most of which can be labeled clearly as heroic or unheroic (and perhaps there is only one heroic path).
Generally I find that I miss these opportunities, and this makes me something like a fair-weather friend to myself. This is not a good place to be, because part of the act of becoming fully human is to figure out a way to take care of oneself.
Fortunately, there’s always going to be room to improve on this. I like to think that I get a little better at dealing with things each time I encounter them. Of course, this probably doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but I’ve been on such a process of self-improvement that I might actually have a chance to change it now.
I guess the lesson to take away from this is pretty simple: You are a creature of circumstance, but you don’t have to be defined that way.
Don’t let circumstance overcome potential.
Be willing to sacrifice the moment for the future.
Remember that you are a being of flesh and blood.