Well I’ve been busy folks and have been learning a great deal since my first post on Deconditioning.
Firstly, I’ve been singing in public a lot. So much that I don’t even notice if I am doing it or not. At first it found it very threatening. Then I pushed through that and I realised that often no one else is even paying attention anyway. We think we’re exposing ourselves and then when we make the vulnerable step we discover it was totally safe after all! It is pretty hilarious to be a human being.
The singing has caused me to have a much better baseline mood, too. We’re made to sing, it is what our bodies are for, so to sing as much as I have been is really good. I’ve come up with various interesting musical ideas, and my singing skill is increasing a lot too.
I’ve found that singing in public causes me to feel more present, and I seem to naturally have more interactions with people, too. Short conversations, whatever. I’m not always the initiator either. Simply singing has already made me much more present in the world around me as my own true self it seems. Or something along those lines.
Seeing as how I am looking for a job I decided, purely as an experimental exercise, to go to a local shopping centre with a bunch of resumes and try to get rid of them all by going into shops and enquiring for work. I’m not actually looking for retail work, but I decided this is a lot more demanding than the usual thing of writing job applications.
I’ve done this sort of thing before, but always viewed it as an onerous misery to be gotten done as soon as possible. This time I decided to take it as an experiment and try to detach from outcomes.
Before I started I spent quite a while journaling in a café, trying to uncover and counter all of the protective but unhelpful thought processes that might interfere with the task. The biggest one was fear of failure or fear of success – and I had to work hard to dismantle this with the view that the whole exercise was an experiment in trying out proactive behaviour without reticence: outcome was irrelevant. In fact, I decided that my objective would be to fail to get anywhere.
Even with this armoury, I still felt myself assailed by fear when I started – fear of failure. I found that it was easier to consider approaching shops that sold things I was interested in than not, despite the “aim to fail” attitude which meant I wasn’t planning on getting a job at any of these places anyway. I decide to work with my resistance, and let it steer me towards places that seemed more interesting. After a few of those I was more able to approach places I was less interested in.
I also worked hard to not have the attitude of “I have to tough this out”, as that has been my attitude in the past and it doesn’t help me. Armoured will power is a finite thing. I wanted to sufficiently jam my beliefs about proactive behaviour that I would not feel threatened by it. Oh, and I found a mantra of Elhaz, Ehwaz, Gebo, Sowilo to be helpful too.
As it happened it did take a bit of willpower to get started, as well as repeating the “aim to fail” objective to myself over and over like a mantra. But once the flow got going I didn’t need willpower, my natural spontaneity took over. Not without some fetters still, but mostly free. That was awesome.
So after all this prevarication, self-debate, and the rest, I nerve myself up to walk into a shop, a health food store. I walk in, say “do you have any jobs?” “Yes”, comes the reply, “got a resume?” I did and I handed it over. Voila. Instant job in a context that I’d actually enjoy: talking to customers all day about why they should have cod liver oil or organic sea salt or half a hundred other cool things that I’m interested in anyway. And the staff discounts are very generous too.
I still canvassed a bunch of other places. Most didn’t have anything, but one place took my resume.
As you can imagine, though, the smashing success of the experiment really bolstered me. In fact I was on a total high. It felt so good to “put myself out there” as it were, to take an experimental course of action like that. My new job is just one day a week, but that actually suits me as I can get a full time job as well, using my health store job as a tool to learn more about food, nutrition, and natural remedies…as well as generate more much needed cash after a year of being an impoverished student.
So far, then, I’ve been very successful with the deconditioning process. Curiously, though, the list of tasks I set myself has not proved helpful other than as a tool to get me started. For example some of the tasks, such as having interactions with people, being a difficult customer, and so forth, have been just happening naturally as my public singing unlocks my courage to be in the world. Since I am spending a lot of time asserting my identity in public space I just don’t think it anything special to do so in specific interpersonal contexts.
I am now actively looking for a job in sales, too. The dare of being able, as someone who used to be so damn shy and socially anxious, to make a living out of sales is just too enticing. It is a bit of a digression in the map of my career perhaps, but as Clint pointed out, sales skills are relevant to anything. For me, though, this is about discovering just how much I can expand the field of actions that I believe I can succeed at.
I’ve never applied the whole chaos magic deconditioning thing to my life in such an organised way (the closest example I can think of would be the way in which I learned to ride a bike), but it is really bearing fruit. It is important for me not to get lazy or rest on my laurels though, I have to keep upping the challenge level: hence seeking a sales job.
I really hope this experiment inspires others to get off their rears and challenge their limitations. I’m feeling very positive about life: my success in breaking down self-imposed limitations so quickly is making me feel a lot more capable and able to direct my own life. I’m not sure what happens next, but I am confident I am equal to the challenge. A-Viking we go! As I explore further experiments in this vein you can be sure to read about them right here…
Tags: Chaos Magic