Yesterday was the first day of blogging about this experiment, and actually, the third day of following Steve Pavlina's voluminous material on self-discipline. At present, this is like being in a great marsh at dusk - hard to get through and hard to distinguish where I am.
Yesterday I deleted all the games from my PC. I only had the standard ones that come with Windows, but I played them a lot, especially when I felt too tired to do anything else. A time-waster. Today I find myself moving the cursor toward where the game icons were, thinking of playing a game of solitaire, but now there's nothing there.
I should say that I don't feel that self-discipline means becoming humorless and never playing. In fact, PC games for me were never really simple fun - that's part of what was wrong with playing them, for me. They were a distraction - they left me feeling both edgy and tired at once, and sometimes I compulsively played one game after another. The more tired I felt the stronger the compulsion was. In simple terms, I think I played games to avoid getting up and facing some task I didn't like. Years ago, back before I retired, it was what happened at the end of the work day - I would be too tired to get up and deal with putting stuff away, leaving work, and starting my hour-long subway commute. Well - no more games - not until they are just fun. Another time-saver I hope.
Of more substance, I also explored more of Pavlina's site, and settled on an article on "The Meaning of Life". Working with this material seems to involve, at the moment, stepping back - from self-discipline itself, which is simply a tool - to articles that might help me discern and define project(s) I could use the tool for. So - the meaning of life.
In this article Pavlina speaks of exploring one's beliefs about the nature of reality itself since these beliefs form what he calls the "context" that actually determines one's goals and projects. I found a lot of insightful material there - but one point was unsettling.
Do your current beliefs empower you to be your best, or do they doom you to live as a mere shadow of what you could be? Can you honestly say that you are doing your best or very close to it? Are you living congruently with your most deeply held beliefs? Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, how well do you practice them? Do you walk your talk?
Actions, not words, reveal beliefs. If you want to understand what you truly believe, observe your actions....
This is all fine - but then Pavlina makes an unexpected suggestion. He doesn't recommend the obvious, changing your actions so that they become congruent with your beliefs. Rather, "I say first get your beliefs in line with your actions and reach the point of being totally honest with yourself, doubts and all." I was very uncomfortable with this apparent suggestion to abandon my beliefs (since my actions do such a poor job of manifesting them.)
Yes, my actions do reveal my real beliefs - and a comparison of the two is illuminating in the extreme. The result of this comparison however, is an opening to discover tacit, unexpressed beliefs that have been determining my actions without even being recognized, and as I come to understand them better, I now can choose between these and my more conscious beliefs.