i know i could be better

amateur antagonist
2 min readMar 6, 2024

i can’t get out of my own way.

i know i have the potential to be something, someone. but overcoming the inertia, to set yourself in motion, to get up and actually DO something, is quietly the hardest part.

there are some things you can’t avoid, like truly not having talent, which impact your ability to be successful.

but i should never fail because i didn’t try hard enough. that is simply not a good enough reason. it’s an embarrassment.

i find it exceedingly difficult to start the engines every single day. not just with writing, but everything i want to be good at. my health, my job, my relationships. some days i want to put my best foot forward, other days i want to scrape by with just the bare minimum.

and it’s a bargaining game too. one side of my brain will be overwhelmingly drawn to one of the pretty shiny screens that don’t allow me to think (tiktok, instagram, other people’s venmo transactions — literally anything). the other side is ardently trying to coax out any bit of productive work i possibly can. you can guess which side is louder. (fun behind-the-scenes author’s note: i’m actively switching between this screen and tiktok as i try to write this. living in my brain is a nightmare.)

i could blame social media and the rapidly diminishing attention span of the general public, but that doesn’t change anything. at the end of the day, no matter why my brain is styrofoam, i’m the only one dealing with the consequences.

struggling to eke out productivity in a society obsessed with being productive, especially as a type A personality who also hates purposefully relaxing, is its own kind of hell. especially when there’s always someone busier, richer, happier in your eyeline — it’s easy to blame your own ineptitude for your lack of success.

but i think the punitive approach has never worked for me — no matter how much i berate myself for being unproductive, i can rarely use that internal dialogue to incite change.

i sometimes like to think of my brain like a wet angry cat. yelling at it is only going to piss it off further. i need to treat it gently and cautiously. or else it’ll scratch my eyes out.

finding joy in the consistency of good work (personal, professional, interpersonal, whatever) has been the only somewhat effective tactic i’ve found. seeing how good it feels to try and succeed can be enough to generate some momentum. the initial catalyst is the hard part, but the system is still (heavily) a work in progress.

we can call this post an attempt at an initial catalyst. one push (of potentially many) to reignite the non-goldfish part of my brain. i miss that part of my brain. please help me find it.