Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Life Between Worlds

I often feel as though I'm living in a world somewhere between fantasy and reality. On the one hand, there is the world of dreams; a mystical place where everything is possible and there are no limitations as to what one person can do; where there is only happiness to pursue, and all ambitions lead to prosperity for all. On the other hand, there is the world of systems; where all aspects of life are governed by mundane processes, and where it is difficult to even continue to exist--where happiness is not a part of the question, but rather, part of the problem itself.

If I were to choose between these two worlds, instinctively I cling to fantasy; but in fear of losing my world of fantasy, as logic tells us it is bound by the limitations of reality, I harbor to the world of reality for guidance, creating somewhere between it, a world of constant confusion and frequent unhappiness, not beneficial to either world, or to the individual.

In recent years, my only loyalties have lied with the world of dreams. It was self-evident that this world is in all respects superior to the world of reality; however, as I began to accept more personal responsibility, this world seemed more in danger of complete collapse under the pressures of reality.

Now trapped between my desire to survive and my desire to be happy, I am often times conflicted as to where the balance lies. Unable to fully commit to the world of dreams because of the chains society has placed upon me, I must abandon freedom for intermittent servitude to the greater system of society at large, which as a collective group, has lost its desire for this world of dreams a long time ago. Yet, for the individual, nothing is more desirable.

As a man so entirely entranced by this world of dreams and so far from fully experiencing its glory, whose vision of happiness is so frequently eclipsed by the endless monotony of the real world, I would easily risk everything given the opportunity to fully rejoin myself with this world of dreams; yet, as the eclipse becomes more complete and the dreams become more distant, such opportunities become increasingly unclear; and left without the vision of a clear future, it is impossible, if not altogether too much burden, to try and find exactly where my lot is to be wagered in order to make such a daring attempt for freedom.

It is impossible for me, for instance, to understand how one of my acquaintances at work can routinely respond to me, "Same shit, another day," and having realized the fruitlessness of his continued day-to-day efforts, after having worked for the company for 3 years and having come to the point where his labors are all-together undesirable, if not for simply surviving, that he should become complacent in doing so, and having acknowledged his plight, continue to do nothing to better his situation. Caught in the world of reality, society at large, in this same manner, has abandoned the world of dreams upon taking up personal responsibility. Even the entrepreneurs are now giving in to the plight of society, giving up on the dreams that so inspired a younger more vibrant society.

And yet, given all of this, having acknowledged the state of society, and having acknowledged also my own personal plight, I am left without any clear understanding of my own dreams or how to get there.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Procrastination Produces Better Results

Procrastination is a pervasive phenomena common among most college students. Rarely will you find a college student that says they rarely procrastinate, and you are never going to find one that says that they never do. (And  in either case, they are probably lying!)

Procrastination is one of few key mechanisms that students use to cope with the insurmountable amount of work that they have to accomplish each week on top of daily inconveniences such as work, socializing, and daily activities such as eating and bathing (which we would hope people do on a daily basis!). Most people regard it as a bad trait; however, many people I know (myself included) will regularly proclaim: "I do my best work when I procrastinate." And despite how counter-intuitive this may seem, I find it to be very true.

I, myself, procrastinate all the time. When I know I have a lot of work to do, my first instinct is to jump on it as soon as possible, but yet, after a few failed attempts of getting ahead (or even keeping up for that matter), I often find that under the enormous pressures of daily college life, I retreat to the comfort of procrastination, putting pretty much everything off until the last minute.

That being said, I am actually a pretty good student. With a few exceptions (especially this semester), I have pretty much always gotten A's and B's my whole life, but at the same time, have rarely gotten anything done in a timely manner. In fact, despite my academic success thus far, I can positively say that I've been a chronic procrastinator pretty much all of my life.

However, I feel like this has only enhanced my work, not held it back. When there is a looming deadline right around the corner, my work actually seems to improve in quality. I say this having just finished another essay that I couldn't be more proud to call my own work.

Procrastination, though very stressful, can actually cause a person to become more focused and to understand ideas quicker, faster, and in a more connected sort of way. When pushed to get something done, our minds automatically jump to focus in on the important details and connect things in a way that will be immediately useful, which I hold is substantially important to producing good-quality work.

However, in contrast, when due time and preparation go into a project and the understanding of a subject has been spread out over a longer period of time, it is easy to dwell on unimportant facts, take shortcuts, forget large portions of the material in a time when it would be most useful, and even to be lazy, feeling an undeserved cockiness in your preparedness.

I'm not necessarily recommending procrastination as a method of producing higher-quality of work, as much as I'm marveling a the potential benefits. In fact, I would recommend pacing yourself when possible and then working in a manner as if you had  procrastinated. Then, after spending a good day or two of really intensive work, coupled with a very good grasp of the subject from several weeks of preparation, you can even have some time to go back and review your work once your done and fix any looming errors.

However, don't feel bad if you procrastinate, and don't beat yourself up for it either. You have to realize that we all do it, even in the "real world." It's perfectly natural in a society so hell-bent on working you to death and then still demanding more. Yet, at the same time, it is important to remember that it has its up sides as well.