It’s early, as I write this. 4:38am.

Halfway through a daunting 40-day personal commitment to productivity and redesign of my lifestyle, late last night, I had a small breakdown. It was mostly mental. An overwhelming, self-perpetuating stress had a choke-hold on me.

If any aspects of it were physical it was my lack of movement that got to me for once—odd, considering I’ve always erred on the side of ‘complete bodily destruction’ in my workouts, seeking that dangerously deteriorative exercise high to lift me, physically and mentally, through the day.

Now, with a renewed dedication to several personal and career objectives, this “40-Days of Areté” as I’ve coined it (more on that later this month), has me focused on my mental output.
Last night, I stayed up until 12:45am shredding my sanity, page by page.

…this is a waste of time.
…no matter how good it is—
…loads of time and energy go into BEING GOOD.
…it’s too late. This ship has sailed.
…find a new passion.
…find a new muse.

I was tired. But beyond that, from the research I was doing on Google Analytics, SEO, Web-Design, and the rest of any newly committed blogger’s bang-my-head-against-the-brick to-do list, I’d lost site of the positive by-products associated with being committed to a worthwhile cause.

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the

I’ve had darker phases of my life, where I’m not committed to anything that I personally considered to be worthwhile. A runaway, if you will. I may have wanted to be committed to one thing or another, but that’s not the same.

This morning, I thought about running away, quitting some of this writing nonsense; it made me sick.

Realizing how jealous that me would have been of the current me, I immediately tilted my head upright, pulled my shoulders back, and started to walk. I forced myself to hold upright, like I was worth a damn.

The comparison trap can rip us apart.
The well-established sites and blogs, automated by bots and paid content programs had me discouraged beyond belief! (What the hell was I thinking?)

I love writing. How can I dissect this angst? Make sense of it?

How can I FIND MY WHY?

Then, John Henry!

John Henry cartoon Folk Hero

Alas! I am the rugged steel-driver racing the steam-engine drill. That’s a damn awesome story to be the hero of! I’d like to be more like the great John Henry, I thought. I need to get back my sheer, fearless commitment to my craft.

Legacy – It’s more important to me to be known for ethics and effort than for victory.
Folklore – Living out the ethos of our heroes is an incredibly impactful way to live.

“Tilt Walk” – how I plan to carry myself on my reflective walks from this point forward: head tilted up, eyes forward or up – not down, shoulders back, grin or smile, deep rejuvenating breaths, and THINK!

Not far into my walk this morning, the perspective really hit me. Commitment. John Henry. These blogs and websites, they’re the uniforms we wear, the arenas we play in, but they are not the sport. We compete in the boundaries of the sport, but our play has limitless expression!

My game, my flow, my muse? That’s my writing and speaking, or whatever I choose to commit to. To be committed, inextricably implies that I have a right to the comfort and composure that come with the chaos.

I’m earning it.

Because of commitment, I have comfort and composure today.
Because of John Henry, I have another storyline to trace, and a hero to emulate.
Because of my newly established habit of Tilt Walks, I can’t wait to get back to the keyboard.

About the Author Jakob Gollon

I have re-written this section countless times. This is the crisis of our generation, defining one's self in an 'about me' box knowing that 95% of our peers will log that as 'who we are' without ever speaking to us, because reading the long-version is just too cumbersome for our over-crowded, busy lives. // In short: I'm a polymath with a hyperactive mind, curious about and fascinated by the complexities of, basically, everything. I'm firmly committed to living a life of "areté"—omnipresent excellence, and my mottos are 'making the best of this life' (Mt. Botl), and "Do it now or forever wish you had". // I had a 'famed' basketball stint (captaining the 2014 Mercer team that upset Duke in NCAA Tourney + winning a Nat'l Title as a coach). I quit the sports industry all-together, cold turkey, soon after. I had an existential crisis with 'glory' and 'meaning' and other challenging thoughts revolving around how many hours (90+/week) I was spending trying to 'win games'. // Since 2017, I've been in pursuit of several entrepreneurial ideas and am educating myself on a few new areas of focus. The following is a condensed list of the countless curiosities and industries that I've explored, worked in, or studied the last 3 years (of which I will need to choose 1-3 of to focus on sooner than later). Writing, Podcasting, Teaching—Adjunct College Professor, Public Speaking + Workshops, Building & Construction, Sustainable Real Estate Development—Industrial + Urban Repurposing in particular, Negotiation, Marketing—Branding/design/communications, Woodwork, Gardening, Permaculture-based farming and homesteading, Psychology, Industrial Engineering—Process Improvement + UX consulting, Project Management, Renewable Energy, & Executive Coaching for (select) clients focusing on leadership, personal brand + career development, health habits, productivity, networking, and communication skills. Yes, all of it, and since I sleep minimally, and my mind races like an ostrich all day and night, I know a fair bit about each of those topics. I have an obsession with learning. I'm always looking to connect and have conversations with folks, so, hit me up. I hope my work brings you joy, value, a challenge, or a ripe perspective. Much love, Jakob

4 comments

  1. I had to read your post twice. It’s very deep and heartfelt. Keep writing, your work will shine through. Sometimes the playing field is unfair but over the years the bots will go chasing greener pastures. Don’t let the noise distract you. And maybe get some sleep too:)

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    1. Thank you so much. I do need the sleep 🙂 I will keep writing. I do feel a duty to stick to this. I’ve always said, if even one person is changed for the better because of my writing, then it’s ALWAYS worth it.

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    1. Kristy, thanks for the kind words. It’s a thankless hobby. Idk that I’d ever quit writing. The difficult part is deciding whether or not to quit blogging I guess. My writing has always been my own until recently, and at the suggestion of some wonderfully successful mentors, they said that more folks needed to see it. So I started the blog. But the current landscape of the internet can be VERY frustrating! Having folks like you that appreciate my writing makes it all worthwhile though. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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