Why Personal Growth is Like a Roofie Circle

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It’s Sunday night again, and once again, legions of nine to five workers find themselves in silent lamentation of the of the weekend and the impending return of the work week.  I’m very much in that category…okay, not as much.

I signed up for Netflix this weekend, and I got myself caught up on the new “Arrested Development”.

This has given me a rather interesting self-help thesis: personal growth is a little like a roofie circle.  And there’s no better time to write about this than on a Sunday night before a return to the work week.

We’ve set up an economic system in which the weekend becomes the time during the week when we can be ourselves, when we have the time to spend the money we’ve earned for our time and labour from Monday to Friday (or whatever full time schedule you happen to be on).  In that time, we tend to get into a good vibe, a rebalancing of our Zen.

We get back to ourselves, remember and live the reasons why we work so hard the rest of the time.  And if you choose to make your weekend a particularly good experience, you’ll find yourself in a prime state that, if properly maintained throughout the week, will help you face all the challenges of the work week with like a motherfucking champion.

Being in Prime

And that prime state….man.  In the Zone.  In control.  Centered.  So many words to describe the feeling, but that’s really it.  Prime: the big “goal” of all personal development programs and self-help books.  If you can live in Prime all the time, you’ve got full command over your life, and the greatest things and happenings just flow to you and through you.

Some of us learn to keep the Prime going throughout the week, like a hula hooping record holder or a master juggler, and so they’ll get back to their desks and assignments and tasks and take them head on.  Better yet, they use that energy to create their own businesses, sell books, make movies, or otherwise break themselves out of the nine to five for good.

For these people, every day, from Sunday to Sunday, is like the weekend for them. The good results are continuous.  These people are no different than you and me, they’re just better skilled at keeping centered, a skill that anyone can learn with practice, even if it takes a long damn time.

And that’s where, somewhere along the line, the rest of us mere mortals swallow the roofie, and the circle begins.

ImageFor me, it usually starts with a break in the pattern of the rituals that have given me that state.  You know when you get bored of the same routine and you decide to, say, skip morning meditation and then sleep in that extra fifteen minutes?  Skip out on the gym? Go on a date instead of staying home? That kind of thing.

When I break my routine, I get the variety that I’ve been looking for, but sometimes it’s at the price of losing the good results and the higher awareness that came with the pattern.  Then, one day I wake up, go to work, and find myself losing my shit again: anxious at work, despairing in relationships, and otherwise forgetting the glory of Prime.  I lose my awareness, cultivated during Prime, that no matter what the obstacle, if we get fired or get our hearts broken or anything else, survival is always guaranteed.

How does this become like a roofie circle?  Well, for instance, I can intellectually remember the idea that no matter what happens to me at work, I’ll be okay, but there’s no energy behind it, like seeing the moon in daylight sky.  It doesn’t feel real….until I get back to my centre again.  Then I just run with it until I’m back up in that same routine that generates the Prime state.  And then I run with that until I forget what happened when I broke it the last time and fall off the wagon again.

The People Who Care About Personal Growth Feel This More

This probably doesn’t apply to most people reading this.  Still, I’d like to think that most people who are into self-help and personal growth are people who have that inner inability to reconcile themselves to the same nine to five routine that others seem so comfortable with, or have otherwise resigned themselves to.

I’d like to think we can see the system for what it is, and want to find a place outside of it.  I choose to believe that we are unusually uncomfortable with pretending to care about things that, really, we just don’t care about, but have to in order to stay connected to workplaces, lovers, friends, families, religions….just others in general.

The anxieties that we feel are symptoms of that kind of inner wiring, anxieties that vanish when we are in Prime.

That’s why we buy the books.  That’s why we take on coaches.  That’s why we repost the inspirational memes on Facebook, attend the weekend workshops, meditate and think positively wherever possible.

We are always striving to master that state of Prime, however imperfectly, until we can sustain it for ourselves, all the time.  We’ll keep this going for as long as it takes, until Prime becomes our default setting, and Sunday nights no longer give us cause to sigh.

(Related article: Hyperbole and a Half’s “This is Why I’ll Never Be An Adult“.)

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