I need a frame. A solid frame. A frame that keeps me engaged into routine. A frame that keeps me doing mundane things, over and over if need be. A frame that forces discipline, so I can keep my creative and lateral thinking away from leaking and cluttering every possible aspect of my life. I need a frame.
I am a creature of habit who ought to remain such. And this applies as much to you as it does to me. If you can get carried away with a discussion that tilts towards vague abstraction; enthusiasm over a new project while a current one is pending; obsess over a taste of an apple pie, and cannot sleep until you eat your way through the bigger part of it; have decided that, regardless of having to get up early, you will allow yourself and your partner a marathon-long enjoyment in the bedroom…
Every time when you consciously exchange your frame and discipline, with your whims and wishes, the child within runs the show. And this aspect of your personality, this capricious nature, it dwarfs in significance every intellectual capacity. For when confronted face to face, it is the rational aspect of you which subsides.
Understanding this, we need a frame.
Regardless of what you think your surroundings are, you still need a frame
Tim Ferriss, bestselling author, angel investor, and a person who I like to call a mentor of mine, has said this:
“I was told I will never understand the meaning of hard work. And I never did.”
And while I’m convinced through and through, and understand that some things in life can be done without much in the way of punishing ourselves through the lenses of routines and norms, I still sense the need of a hamster wheel- something that will keep me doing repetitive things so my creative capacity stays at bay.
Is it fear? For our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but rather powerful beyond measure; creative beyond measure; doing jack shit and still succeeding in realizing our dream, vision, goal… Is this that we, I myself, fear? So be it. I still need the frame.
Once the frame is allowed to get loose, it tends to move, rather progressively, towards blurring into oblivion. It tends to make you more indifferent towards most problems at hand. Your start-up statistics going awry… Your shape becoming… well… less shaped. And your schedule open to accepting so many changes it doesn’t even resemble your schedule at all. Real world shit that matters suddenly starts to matter less and less. And this invites lethargy to the table, depression, even crooked cycles of anxiety, even bigger fear. But I digress.
The absence of discipline will allow your capricious nature to consume you entirely
Why am I writing this? Ok, in all fairness, I do it partially for myself… For it is nice to tap yourself on the shoulder, providing rationale when you can simply brand yourself as lazy and infantile. But I don’t see myself as lazy; or infantile. Not in particular at least. Certainly not more than your average twenty-something confronted with the responsibilities and roles that the opportunity of starting a family brings along. But that doesn’t matter.
I did many projects while abandoning discipline altogether, managed to form deep connections with people, build relationships that prosper and hopefully will continue to do so. What I see in myself is how bad a circumstance can be propelled into, if we allow creativity, whims and wishes to run the show.
These are projects that I completed even while living in a state of chaos. But as much as some projects might prosper in this state, we can forget real shit that matter, hurt- though unintentionally- people that are dearest to us. We can abandon our progress, jeopardize our future.
Take this site for example. I updated it regularly, worked on it regularly, thus ensuring, as a side effect, higher Google rankings for handful of profitable search queries. During this creative and chaotic period of mine, where discipline got exchanged with haphazard productivity feats, those rankings went down the drain.
A successful model has subsided, only to leave room for something born out of impulse. I, and the partner who works with me, have lost dollars upon dollars as a result of this. As a result of starting new projects, getting enthusiastic about meeting with potential investors… In other words – allowing our creative spirit to get the better of us. Or me, at least.
And though there is not a large sum of finances involved, it is sufficient to make a difference in our lives. It is enough to prove that discipline and consistency, not creativity and intelligence, are the largely deciding factors. It is, just about enough, as to make us settle with the idea that we need a frame.
The sooner you install the frame, the better, for otherwise…
The frame that I speak of, the one that you’ve already pinpointed and realized for yourself, needs instalment. Sometimes, if we are lucky, the circumstances will allow an easier instalment process. Sometimes we can do it solo handed, yet other times it requires an intervention. A friend, a concerned parent, a loving spouse… A therapist, even. Times will come in our live, when the frame might even be welcomed with hostility, when we resist the instalment of one altogether.
So we will live the lives we dream of, only when we are ready. Allow me to reiterate with an analogy:
Remember how someone recommended a movie once, told you that it very closely depicts what you feel passionate about, convinced you that it will inspire/motivate/entertain you? Let assume for the sake of the argument that we are on the same page.
And then, after you are convinced, are juiced, are excited… You decide to postpone it. For tonight, tomorrow, next week, or bookmark it for a better day. Now look closer and see what happens here- you have decided (intuitively or consciously) that this experience, though possibly life-changing, can wait.
And so we do with our lives. We know things, we know how to do things, yet we decide not to. That someday, somehow, we will most definitely close the deal, but for now why not take it slow… This is a pattern of thinking, allowed only by neglecting the importance of discipline, the importance of placing the hamster wheel in your life. And you need the hamster wheel. You need the routine. You need the frame.
Forgetting discipline altogether makes you transcend into other leaps of awareness. And realizing that this sounds looney is an understatement. For it does, more than anything else. But somehow this doesn’t alter the fact that getting out of the hamster wheel rubs shoulders with broadened perception. And here in lies the problem. The more you “broaden” your perception, the more your thinking processes tie with the abstract. Done just about enough, it becomes a kaleidoscope run wild.
So the same way I feel nostalgic over something I haven’t lost yet, I feel proud of something I haven’t done yet. I guess thinking about the future, planning for it, occupying yourself with your direction rather than your current, mundane nature of things, makes you able to feel that same future before it occurs. Not predict, but feel. Feel the accomplishment, or joy, or disappointment, or loss, of countless of iterations from one scenario or another. You obsess over the abstract, only to find out that you are constructing a life within the confines of a rather abstract reality, day after day after day.
And reliving in the present, what is an iteration of the future, mostly turns towards negativity. For negative iterations almost always tend to predominate. So we need to detach from the abstract, from the creative visions and daydreaming, or the compressed negativity and fear. I must remember this- for every second enjoying daydreaming or mapping all the negative things that might happen, I must spend hundredths focusing on the here-and-now.
This post and similar “deep insights” occur when you are letting your creativity run wild. But as much as these “discoveries”, these ideas for projects, these curated lists of books or videos or other content improve you as a person- they also might run you flat on your back (…decapitate you, or chop your manhood, whatever serves you more as a scarecrow).
Every time you are cutting yourself a slack and allowing the routine to get bypassed, a kitten dies.
There is nothing to conclude that we are already not aware of
No two people are the same, and I dare not assume that what works for me will do the trick for you. In this article at least, I will suppress my brainy-smurf-nature, and let you come up with your own answers. As will I.
What remains though, as a fact, is that we all need a frame. Those of us who are carried through life by a greater creative force, and more whims and wishes- we need a more rigid, more detail-made frame. The less impulsive you are, the less driven by your capricious nature, the looser the frame might be. We can debate this to our hearths content, but such debate goes against what we already know. And we know that we need a frame.