My apologies if it seems like I'm just using this as a public journal to express my thoughts at any given moment. Feel free to comment or not.
Earlier today I spent a decent amount of time reading some of Steve's articles and these forums. Two things stood out in my mind: meditation, and his article on self-acceptance vs. personal growth.
Meditation is something I have tried in the past for varying periods of time but never stuck with it. I think it is because every time I tried I hit a wall which restricted my growth. The first two times I think I merely came to a plateau and I didn't fully understand the ideas behind it so I stopped. The third time I tried it my roommates were constantly so loud and/or drunk that even with earplugs in I could hear them, their music, or feel the music so clearly through the walls I simply couldn't focus.
I have already started back on meditation earlier this morning, and after each session I will be keeping a journal (on paper and private) of my progression and thoughts. I think that the act of writing it to track progression is one thing that inhibited me in the past. The same act of writing down my workout plan (in the gym) and recording the weights and sets really motivated me in that area, and I have every reason to believe this will enjoy the same success. From the meditation I hope to find out more about my inner workings. I once described my thought process as watching a big screen TV (analogy for my field of view) with up to 10 picture-in-picture channels of separate thoughts going on in a consistently rotating circle around the main picture. Just like might happen when actually watching TV with picture-in-picture you start watching the small screen and forget what is happening in the big one. For me, that essentially means detaching myself from reality for short periods of time. It's hard to stay focused, and considering meditation is the ultimate form of focus, that may be just what I need.
As for the self-acceptance vs. personal growth, I have always been a maniacal worker when I have been motivated. Recently my motivation has been lost. Perhaps my current lack of focus has something to do this. In the past my maniacal habit resulted in a repetitive stress injury because I didn't properly take care of myself (lack of sleep, poor posture/ergonomics/diet). I also applied my maniacal work habits to World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs that came before it. I wouldn't recommend doing that. The physical pain that would result in my attempts at working hard (or playing hard) taught me to become lethargic to avoid the pain. I believe it sent me into a form of depression in one way or another. I'm not expert in this area though and have only recently began to even think about it as a possibility.
When I read that article of separating your self-acceptance and personal image from your success in life, it made a lot of logical sense. If you wish to protect your ego and confidence, simply remove it from an area in which it could be harmed. It's a fantastic idea. I know that will not be easy for me as I am constantly comparing myself as a person to anything and everything I can assign a number system to. It may not even be possible and could be so ingrained in my head I will never change, but I will make an effort, and I believe over time (possibly months or more) through meditation I will gain a greater insight into myself. My goals may change, but if they do I feel like I will have a stronger understanding of why and what it is that I'm looking for.
I also read some more articles on concepts such as Intention-Manifestation, and I simply cannot get on board with that line of thought. It just screams pop-psychology scam and my skepticism and BS sensors go through the roof. To me it is nothing more than prayer minus the god and I will not be pursuing it. My issues with religion have little to do with the presence or non-presence of an actual God. That is a simple yes or no question (there either is a God or there isn't) to which we do not have the tools to answer at this time. My issues with religion (as well as ideas such as IM) is that it lifts the responsibility off of the individual and places it on something else. In the realm of religion this responsibility is placed on God. In Intention-Manifestation the responsibility is placed on "synchronicity" or other terms which I cannot recall, which to me seems like nothing more than random chance, except that your state of mind has changed to one where you're looking for a sign, which means you will dig deeply into things that are most likely insignificant. That may work for those that can work on faith, but I require much more substantial evidence to act on. I'll leave my skepticism there, I don't wish to create an argument or debate this, it's merely my thoughts out loud.
In conclusion, I will be taking some of the advice from Steve's article "30 Days to Success". One of those suggestions happens to be "Give up online forums". While I have very few posts on this board, I would estimate I have over 10,000 posts on other boards over the past 5 or 6 years, and likely 20-30 times that number of threads read (literally years of time on forums). It's not a fact I'm proud of, and I don't think anyone in my "real life" is aware of that. It obviously has filled a need of mine, which helped put me into the position I'm currently in, but I wish to break that habit. Whatever need forums have stepped into replace, it didn't do a good job as a replacement. Of the other suggestions, I will pick and choose those which I feel will fit my lifestyle, and in combination with my journal I will be reviewing them as time progresses.
What all this means is that I'll keep checking back to see if anyone responds to this post, but after several days of inactivity I will leave it behind for good.
As a final measure, I will be running all of this by a shrink/therapist/counselor/[insert helper title]. I will start the process of looking for one qualified to help me tomorrow afternoon.
How's that for a long-winded response to my own thread. Hopefully at the very least someone finds this entertaining. Thank you for providing this space for me to vent ideas. It may not have solved anything but I think at the very least it sparked my motivation to at least start actively improving.