Last semester a friend told me to slow down because I was going for days at a time, sleeping three hours each night and then going full-force the following day until my body just keeled over from the exhaustion. I pushed my body to the extreme, and I just accepted the fact that "this is what law school requires." One more year of this, and it will all be just the trials of an initiation into a career path. With regard to giving it all until there is nothing left to give, the analogy I am thinking about is a ferret; this furry animal runs around and plays as much as it can, all of its energy is drained and it falls asleep wherever it just happens to be at that moment. I am sort of like that ferret.
It was not until recently that I was instructed in the importance of stopping once in a while -- not to take a breather -- but to actually stop, relax and reload. There is no reason why I have to finish everything at the sacrifice of a normal life. Law school messes with our innate character flaws and brings them to the front. As they say, you don't know who is a true friend or a true hero until the hard times come. Then the weak and the selfish fall aside and all who are left standing by you are the like-minded.
But then there is another aspect that rings in my head, namely the thought of never giving up. The philosophy that I have learned from Anthony Robbins is called the philosophy of CANI, meaning Constant And Never-ending Improvement. The theory is to metaphorically never sleep, and to never be satisfied because there is always a higher level to reach, something more to learn, something more you can do for yourself or for another. This philosophy drives me and it is my core thought in everything that I do.
However, I've been having an "engine break" experience these past few months, and you've seen it in my writings. Those of you that drive a stick shift will understand this concept. Engine break is what happens when a car's RPM (engine rotations per minute) get too elevated. As a result, without applying the break pedal, the engine itself, the driving force of the automobile, changes its role from the mover to the inhibitor. To preserve itself, it slows the car down so that the engine rotations are within normal ranges. My life has been in high gear for so many months that I have forgotten how to stop, and so my body has been trying to slow me down lately and I realized I should probably listen to it before I burn out.
However, a poisonous thought that has entered my mind has been complacency. I chose my goals so long ago, and while I have modified my methods for achieving them, those stale goals decided by me as an 18-year old teenager in 1996 are the same goals that I have been chasing and taking actions daily to reach. My thoughts were limited then because I had a limited exposure to what is possible in life. Yet I do give those goals credence because they are guarded by an idealism that has recently faded from my eyes as I have become jaded by the forced direction I supposedly must go if I am to get anywhere in life. I have been proffered a poison pill by society to march in step with the pathways of mediocrity that have been laid out for me by mediocre people who live unfulfilling lives.
However, as I said, my mindsets have been poisoned -- brainwashed with ordinary in-the-box thinking. This is the poison with which I have been infected, and to which I have been struggling to understand but I really need to break away from. Somewhere along the line as a reaction to my incessant failures, to achieve safer, more predictable results, I adopted these mindsets that I realize today are currently in conflict with my fundamental beliefs. I don't want to live a regular life, nor do I want to get dulled down with the pathways laid out for the lame. I want to inject life into every moment of my existence! There are pathways that will lead to predicted stable results. But then again, there are less-traveled pathways that are not as kept as the trodden paths and in some cases are downright dangerous, but lead to places laden with meaningful experiences. Then my mind digresses to an equally strong, but dull thought with the voice of my conscience informing me of the limitations regarding what I can and cannot do.
I think that since yeshiva and law school, my inner voice has become harsher on me than it should be. I have become jaded by my perceptions of failure and I have forgotten my original goal. You ask me "what is the question" and the answer is that I honestly no longer know. The truth is that I have accomplished so much in these past few years that some people may work for a lifetime and they'll never accomplish a fraction of what I have accomplished in the last five years. Even the last three months have been life altering, but I have been getting annoyed because I have not been keeping score as to how well I have been doing. Years ago, I set massive life goals which through toiling and hard work have materialized. Yet now here is my problem. I am at a crossroads where I do not know what to do with what I have accomplished, and I haven't been able to set goals beyond where I am now in life.
I am experiencing the "okay, now what?" syndrome. I set my goals; I have gone through the changes to become the person I planned to become -- I admit, because of my recent blindness towards my goals from my poisoned mindsets, I lost sight of a few of these goals and now I will need a few more months to a year of tweaking to get back on track and to trim the metaphorical belly fat, but I still run into the problem where I have not thought past my goals to the next level. I must find the answer to the "now what?" question that has been plaguing me.
There's a breakthrough to make; I can feel it coming on. I have certainly hit my glass ceiling, whether it is self-imposed or whether it is programmed. It is becoming time for life to change gears and to power through that glass ceiling. I cannot wait to hear the sound of the shattering glass. I don't yet know what the next step is -- this will take some thought. A person who lives in first gear will deal with engine break their whole life. Ultimately, they will hit the gas, redline, and the engine will blow out. There is a solution, namely to change gears. Metaphorical as it still is, I don't yet know what needs to be done, how to do it, or why to do it, but life is due for a change. I've been redlining and engine-breaking for too many months.