A New Hope

Well, it’s been awhile.

But this is my blog.

There’s no reason to invent another one. And I like the fucking name. ChuckingRocks.

Originally the name was an offshoot of my first attempt at a novel: Throw the First Stone. I won’t say it was shitty necessarily but it wasn’t good enough to publish.

Anyway, I gave it the name thinking I’d just kinda chuck my thoughts around on whatever I happened to want to write about. And while I did some of that, I mostly wrote about politics–and I think, sometimes at least, well.

I say all this because I want to get back to that first idea–so as a reader, here’s what to expect: just my daily thoughts. I intend to publish something everyday, usually by 7 or 8 am, Pacific Standard Time. I don’t know exactly what it’ll be always, but I can promise that it won’t be uber contentious or political. Because frankly, that stuff isn’t fun to read and there’s enough of it out there as it is.

So… here it goes!


Lately I’ve been reading a book called Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin, about forming better habits. It’s incredibly interesting and insightful, but what really caught me this morning is how absurd our world is, if we really stop to think about it.

For example, she’s talking about scheduling habits–how they won’t happen if we don’t, and especially the good ones (like sex or reading or entertainment). And for some reason a realization caught in my brain at that point. Like: how silly is it that to be a high performer we have to schedule pleasurable activities for ourselves? How absurd is it that we’re so busy we have to pencil in time for sex?

And this relates to something I was talking about with a student the other day–the fact that, in actuality, there isn’t as much work to do as we think there is. Not necessary work anyway.

I mean, even my job as a teacher, which we take for granted as an important job, is useless for a certain portion of my students. There’s a cohort that doesn’t care about reading or writing–hell, some of them won’t pick up a book for the rest of their lives. Indeed, about a quarter of all adults haven’t read a book in the past 12 months.

What’ll those students do? I don’t honestly know: most will probably work a minimum wage job or do some other sort of white-collar, low-skill administrative work. But given the fact they don’t give a shit about learning, they’d almost certainly be better off just entering the work force or being an apprentice for a welder or brick-layer or whatever.

But let’s expand the scope: how many jobs exist out there that essentially boil down to creating and/or selling a product/content that no one truly needs or wants? A lot. And how many of our wants are fabrications–products of advertising and bullshit? A lot. Like, no one needs fucking Doritos or Pepsi–both products are terrible for you. And yet, these are billion dollar companies.

I’m not arguing that we should live in a world without Doritos or Pepsi–just trying to point out that we don’t need those things, nor should we want them, and yet a hell of a lot of work goes into producing and selling Doritos and Pepsi because: money.

And that’s the root of it, right? We all have to make money to justify our existence. To pay for it. But the things we end up doing to justify our existence are divorced from what we actually need to survive. I mean, what we need is food, shelter, clothing, love, etc. But very few of us actually work a job where we directly acquire those things. Instead we work, essentially, as mercenaries, who then purchase our survival.

Anyway, I’m not sure where I’m going with all of that–just a weird observation I had at 3 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep and decided to crack a book.

Today’s Nugget!

OK, so I’m going to try to end these posts with a nugget of helpful information, and this I’m taking directly from Rubin’s book (Better Than Before) about habits, how to form good ones, etc. However, before she gets into all that, she talks about our base motivations and how we deal, individually, with expectations. She separates people into four categories in terms of how we respond to expectations–here’s a quick summation:

Upholders: people who meet both outer and inner expectations (outer expectations are those placed on us by others; inner expectations are those we place on ourselves). President Obama strikes me as a good example of an Upholder: he was nothing if not what the nation expected of him in terms of acting presidential (objectively speaking anyway), but he also championed causes near and dear to his heart, such as healthcare, the de-escalation of the war on drugs, etc. Oprah is another example of an upholder.

Questioners: people who question the validity of outer expectations, but will meet inner expectations. Rubin explains that Questioners will only meet outer expectations they can turn into inner expectations through logical justification. Elizabeth Gilbert and Tim Ferris are questioners (so am I, for what it’s worth).

Obligers: people who meet outer expectations, but have trouble meeting inner expectations. Rubin uses the example of a friend who has a hard time exercising on her own, but worked out everyday when part of the track team. I hesitate to use this example, because being an obliger doesn’t make someone a bad person, but President Trump is a near perfect example of an obliger: he says what the people around him want to hear because he wants to be loved, but it would seem he doesn’t have any inner expectations that truly guide his decision making. As an example of a more positive figure, Kelly Ripa seems to me like an obliger.

Rebels: people who won’t meet any expectations but those they decide to act on in the moment. Rebels value the freedom to choose to act independently over anything else. This is going to sound cliche, but Johnny Depp and Courtney Love are rebels.

Anyway, you might consider which kind of person you are and how that affects your formation of habits. It’s a good book as well (so far, at least)–worth checking out!

Thanks for reading! Cheers!

About The Author: Jay Scott


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