Building a Better Me

In December of 2014, my efforts to change myself from the inside out began. During that year, I had read a couple of books that really started me down that path — the first was James Altucher’s Choose Yourself, and the second was Seth Godin’s Linchpin. And while these books are generally business/career-oriented, they inspired me to take a good, hard look at my life and where I was in relation to my goals and how I was impacting and being impacted by the people around me.

And I didn’t like what I saw. Things weren’t great. My marriage, despite 12counseling, wasn’t doing too well. My career was floundering. I didn’t like my life much, and when I was honest with myself, I knew that there was one root cause for much of it: me.

You can’t change the world around you. You can only change the world’s response to you.

So I decided last fall that I was going to fix myself, goddammit.  I was going to build a better me.

First Steps

When you’re going to rebuild a house — tearing out the cruft, and adding new floorplan — you start with the foundation. To do that with myself, I needed to start with a therapist. So I found one. Been going weekly since December. The first few weeks, we spent some time going over my history, my issues, etc., discussed my ADD issues, and then we leapt into EMDR, using it to process a lot of traumatic shit that’s happened to me. I leave each session just fucking gutted emotionally. For awhile, I’d hit the gym after every session and work myself into a physical state that matched my emotional one.

I’m still doing weekly therapy. It’s helping. A ton. I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

A few months months ago, I opted to get an ongoing issue resolved — my ADD. I guess I’ve always known that I had it, but my fear of pumping medication into myself kept me from doing anything about it, or maybe the stigma? Something. Whatever the case, after a first month on a light dose, we adjusted things and HOLY WOW, what a difference. I feel ten times sharper on it, than off. And Kate, co-workers, and friends have noticed a difference.

So What’s Next?

I started this whole process because I knew that my issues were having a negative impact on my family, my friendships, and my career. And now that I am resolving my issues, I am trying to find a balance between the development of the things I want to accomplish and the development of relationships with family and friends.  Both of these things are important, both deserve equal weight.

As I’ve laid that groundwork, I need to figure out a complete end-to-end system for running the clunky meatcomputer that my “me software” is installed in, so that I can accomplish the things I want to.  That means figuring out how the core of my operating system works — optimizing my sleep, exercise, work, and home patterns so that my energy levels stay optimal, and I have feedback loops in-place to catch me before I drift too far off plan.

When you look at self-improvement stuff, everyone has a plan.  David Allen’s Getting Things Done has one, and so does every other one I can think of.  You can always break a self-help book down into steps or a plan.  Personally, I’m quite fond of Adams’s How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, but I also know that it’s not the end-all, be-all of books, because what works for one person is definitely not going to work for another, no matter how eloquently they present their anecdata.  So it’s becoming my foundation, and then I’ll build atop it using stuff from other books and stuff I think up on my own, in a way that works best for me.

Is There an End Point to All This?

Honestly?  No.  There’s not.  I don’t think figuring out life is ever a finished product.  We never figure it all out.  The only thing we can do is refine our approach to it.

Two years, five years, decades from now, you’ll be reading similar posts from me as I refine, refine, refine, in pursuit of a better me.