On Effort
Last Updated: 2019-12-11 23:16

I used to better at just doing the thing I needed to do. Lately, I've been needing to resort to effort. I don't think this is the optimal ontology. Ideally, I'd just be inclined to do the things I want to do. So probably this is a sign of some disconnect, and I really just need to check in with my gut about what feels improtant and restructure my intuitions.

But in the meantime, I am taking the opportunity to meditate on the feeling of effort.

Effort feels like a shift when I plan to do something I hadn't previously planned. If I see myself doing something, or if I expect myself to do something, then it's not that effortful to make it happen. Effort is the thing that happens when I deviate from my current plans.

Effort is about directing attention (or is that what focus is about?)

Effort seems correlated with energy level. If I feel excited to do something, I feel more energized to do it. My body feels lighter, there's no weight in my chest, and I don't feel like it's "a drag". Putting in effort means making something happen even when it feels like I tearing myself away from some other path. It also feels like pushing through when I'm fatigued. I think exercises analogies can help bridge some of this intuition, but not all of it.

It's super annoying when my body sends me a signal that I'm tired, when I'm working on something that requires effort. This makes me think it's a good idea to take a break. Which incidentally also has the side effect of making me stop whatever thing was effortful. Huh.

So something about how I think that the effortful thing is actually being harmful or something. I don't think you can escape effort.

Unclear if stuff should be easy.

I think it could be a struggle still, but it could be a good sort of struggle.

Stuff that hurts but feels good because you wanted to do it.

Wanting to do stuff for myself and of my own volition ranks super, super highly, now that I reflect on it. There's something about how it's really related to my sense of identity. Huh; I don't think I ever connected this to the philosophical notion of freedom. Maybe not free will, but something about feeling more motivated if I decide, rather than the explicit notion of someone else deciding for me.

But deciding to put in effort doesn't always make it happen.

It might still just be a struggle. The bad things can't just disappear. (Maybe they can? Hedonic treadmill says no?)