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Was today a good day? The way you answer that determines how you work, what you choose to do, and what you count as important. It determines if you’ll be successful in magick, business, or anything else.
And it’s one we rarely think about.
Is it the hours you worked? The problems you solved? The daydreaming that let your unconscious create a new idea?
Some days, learning magick means activating dormant structures in my brain for 30 minutes, then hours of rest to let my nerves absorb those changes. To an outsider, it looks like I wasted the day.
There’s a certain guilt that comes from seeming lazy. As a child, I learned that hard work is virtuous. I still feel it, even when working more is the wrong solution.
A lot of strife comes from poor unconscious metrics. Measuring hours worked, when we should measure problems solved or ideas created. The wrong metrics create exhaustion and guilt, not success.
I’m writing this post as I think this through. (Most posts I write about something I figured out a while ago). There’s an answer that works for me at the end. Hopefully it will help you, but if not, post a comment letting everyone know how you handle your metrics, so you can help another reader.
Why “Working Hard” Fails
Hard work is important, even necessary, but…
Only working hard means you to grind on the slow solution you can see, instead of creating a better one.
Working hard means you feel virtuous for exhausting yourself, even though it makes creative, insightful work less likely tomorrow.
Learning magick means figuring out how reality works. There’s no recipe, no simple guide to that. You can get help (from this site and others), but ultimately, learning magick comes down to insight. And insight withers with overwork as much as it dies from laziness.
Feeling guilty for not working enough yesterday makes it harder to do important work today. And every day you give in to your unconscious metrics and overwork yourself makes it harder too.
Everything so far is true of creating businesses, poetry, and most other worthwhile endeavors.
But there’s an additional problem with overwork in magick. Each new magick skill requires awakening dormant parts of your mind. You can do this through practice, but you can do it much faster by activating those areas with energy. When you do, the magickal structures in your mind advance more quickly than your brain.
You need to rest to let your brain catch up. If you don’t rest, your thinking will slow down and your mental muscles will stop responding. On an average day, I’ll wake up energized, activate my mind for 30 minutes, then nap for 3 hours. It happens to friends, too.
Measure Problems Solved
This is really the holy grail of metrics: Did you solve an important problem?
But there are 2 problems:
- “Important” is tricky without seeing where ideas lead. It’s easy to identify important ideas a month later. But you need to know if today was good.
- Solving problems requires lots of days spent creating bad ideas. Those days are important too. They give your mind the space to create the good ideas. But if you only measure problems solved, those are bad days.
If my unconscious metric already focused on problems solved, I’d probably keep it. But it doesn’t. And the work required to win my unconscious over doesn’t seem worth it for a semi-useful metric.
Make a Map
I have a text file with all my current magick questions. It grows more than it shrinks. At the top are goals for the next few months and tasks for each day this week.
Logically, if I set good goals for the day (meaning I didn’t low-ball myself), and I do all those things, it should be a good day. But it often doesn’t feel that way, especially on the days where I activate my mind, then nap.
I don’t think logic can defeat unconscious feelings.
Live Without Metrics
There has to be some secret to doing this, to knowing that today was a good day without needing further justification. Anyone have it?
Use Magick to Change Your Unconscious Metrics
Friends sometimes joke that I solve all my problems with magick. It’s kind of true.
While drafting this post, I kept coming back to the idea that the metrics we learn as children don’t work in the adult world. The third time, I remembered a technique I developed last year. It’s called “consciousness integration,” and it’s for updating unconscious habits developed in childhood.
Here’s the gist: You connect your conscious mind with the unconscious piece that handles these metrics. You let them talk. Especially if you’ve thought through the problem and consciously know the answer, your conscious mind explains how the world has changed, which updates that unconscious thought process. It’s like a month of personal growth in an afternoon.
So I took a break from writing and did the effect. (It takes a few minutes once you know how). So far, I feel much more at peace with my rest time, and more focused on doing something worthwhile today than worrying whether I did enough yesterday. I’m also more productive: Notice the layout changes, updated Classes page, etc.
So I’ll count that as a success. Here’s the series on consciousness integration. It’s advanced direct magick, so this probably isn’t a universal solution. But hopefully it helps some of you.
I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment for other readers telling us what metrics you use, and how you overcome unhealthy unconscious ones.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.