Cheer up

My cliff notes from “Detach the grim-o-meter“:

Our cultural narrative archetypes instruct us to act grim when we’re facing darkness, and feeling cold resolve. But, seeing the dark world doesn’t require you to be grim, or necessitate that you must become grim. We aren’t in a narrative, and are free to disregard that script.

We calibrate our “grim-o-meters” to be more or grim in direct proportion to our grim our circumstances. But tying grimness to the state of the world is a terrible idea: It’s a terrible world, and you’ll never be happy or joyful.

Your grim-o-meter is designed for local occasions. You need to get more grim (and more buckled down) as the work immediately in front of you gets harder, and you need to get less grim (so that you can spend time recharging and relaxing) whenever you have the affordance to recharge and relax. That’s the point of the grimness setting.

Being grim can help us express resolve and buckle down, but it is mutually exclusive with play, creativity, and joy, which we also need. You can change your demeanor to one that is useful for you, given what you’re working on. When actively working hard on a dire problem, maybe be grim for a while, to help power your resolve. But you don’t need to stay outwardly grim to continue to be powered by that resolve. And, you may find that lightening up is more useful to actually getting things done.

This post is part of the thread: Replacing Guilt Cliffs Notes – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.