Week 4: Failure to mind

This week is notable only for how badly I failed on almost every single one of my goals. It’s almost laughable really. Nonetheless, it’s worth it to do a post-mortem.

#8 Mitigate the Dopamine Loop

So, my Hollywood Marketing Guy told me to get on TikTok, and to post a new video there every single day. As I mentioned previously, I decided that this would be a space to talk extemporaneously about the sixty-some-odd virtues that we’d identified as being important to living a happy life.

Not that I have this figured out, mind you. I am not a particularly virtuous person. However, I can speak on the topic for one minute without being a complete hypocrite.

So, because I wake up at 4:00AM, I’ve made it a habit to post that TikTok first thing. It feels like a sense of accomplishment: doing the scary thing first. Once I’ve done that, nothing else feels quite as much like a challenge during the day. (Absolute truth, right there.)

No one watches the video in the morning: my audience is probably on their way to bed by the time the video is available in North America. No, my audience starts watching it around 11:00AM my time. And that is when my brand spanking-new smartphone starts buzzing. It starts telling me that people have liked my video or left me comments.

We’re not talking thousands of people here. But a couple hundred. And enough of them interact with it to keep my phone busy.

As much as I don’t want to get caught up in it, I cannot, or I do not yet want, to remove that buzzing from my phone. I like it that people are interacting with my content. I like knowing that the “scary thing” I started my day with is out there doing something for somebody, like that girl who told me, “I think this was for me today…” This does nothing, however, to eliminate the dopamine feedback loop that I have been wanting to mitigate.

The only truly good thing here is that I have so much going, and that I am putting so much stuff out there, that I truly can’t keep up with all the feedback. And, as my Teabag Proverb told me, “Live to impress yourself.”

Right now, the only dopamine feedback I care about is that I be proud of what I am putting out there. If I am impressing myself, if only for doing the scary thing first, then I am on the right track.

#9 Create a workflow and know how long things actually take

Thank goodness for small mercies. My painstaking (read obsessive) process of making a retro-planning over the last few weeks made it so that I had a doable day-by-day breakdown of what-needed-to-get-done-when to get the podcast and its communications, the French blog, the TikToks out on time.

This has never come more in handy when this week, my youngest was out of school because his teacher was sick, and my eldest was out of school because he was sick.

I was able, early in the week, to get a jump on some of my work. Plan a few social media posts in advance, record a few extra videos. By some miracle, I ended up making the visuals for next week last week, so was even ahead of schedule on a few things. How about them apples?

So, knowing how much time things really take, and having a plan for when they needed to get done actually saved my budding media empire this week.

Now if my boys would just go back to school. Oh, right. Winter break starts in two weeks. Yay.

#20 Articulate and savor the good moments

This is where I failed the most miserably this week. Let’s be honest. There were not a ton of good moments. As a matter of fact, there were enough bad moments that I might have said, without careful study, that we ended up lopsided this week.

Except that: in the sheer volume of time that those bad moments took up, they were significantly fewer than the passably not-horrible moments.

I should have, when the boys weren’t shouting or fighting, or when I was sitting with Titi in the bathtub, said to myself, “This is a good moment.”

But I didn’t. And so I feel like this week was a total loss.

It shouldn’t be hard to be mindful. I wonder if there is a certain point at which it becomes easier to notice the good moments, instead of just fixating on the bad moments.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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