When a man cannot find pleasure, he distracts himself with meaning

25 July 2021


Or the reason I made it, intuitively, difficult for myself to go out. In case you need a refresh about Viktor Frankl, the author of "Man's search for meaning", the title is kind of taken from there.

viktor frankl's quote pleasure

Growing up, I somehow managed to become a huge extrovert. Can't say I've ever been one of those coolest guys but I've been close at times. I had all the satisfaction one can have from being around people. Neither the topic of the conversation mattered nor if it was meaningful. I just developed a need to be around people. My thinking almost stopped when I was alone. I couldn't think for longer than an hour when alone. Maybe it's a slight exaggeration but it's a close one. And you hopefully get the picture.

Then I said that I'm going to learn English. Then programming. Oh boy. I wasn't one of those "intuitively getting it" if that even exists. There are kids who, although haven't invested much in learning English understand it because they've had some natural interest, or their parents maneuvered them well into being into it, or others just watched and read a lot of kid stuff in English by luck. I was none of these kids. I was the one that was out all the time doing crazy experiments like putting electricity generators on fire. Yeah, that literally almost happened once. I was the kid with a natural interest in fighting others, like physically, lifting heavy, or just lifting.. my dreams literally consisted of me beating a cool guy in front of the girl that I really liked. For no reason. Just beating him because he was obviously cool.

That said, I was all about not learning new things. At least not the standard way. I was definitely interested in street smarts. The year when I set out to learn English was the year I stopped going out almost completely. I probably went out to see friends once every couple of months. It's not like I didn't try but it was just impossible for me to learn the language in less than a year and keep going out. For me, the two activities required two contrasting personalities. I didn't have the bandwidth to maintain them at the same time.

That's the start of my introverted personality where I almost made myself forget how to talk. No joke. Going from taking pleasure from talking to feeling jittering anxiety if there was a chance where I'd be made to talk. Straight into the unknown. I had no idea what I'm getting into and how much worse it'd get than that. I'm just going to say that I even started stuttering about 4 years in. So it didn't start and finish quickly.

I slowly but surely lost contact with almost all the people I used to hang out with. But you know what? Now... I had all the time and desire in the world to get better at things. Things I used to previously find excruciatingly painful to focus my mind on now were the default thinking. I went from dreading the times of studying, just trying to find the shortcut, to intensely looking forward to it. From love to hang out for hours, every day, to having a dreadful, anxious feeling, in my whole nervous system, if I even remotely sensed that I'd be around people.

"What does that have to do with the quote" you may ask. To which I say - "think, before putting on a mask". You just witnessed a stupid person calling a smart person stupid. Beautiful. It has everything to do with the quote. I was so desperately struggling to attach myself to something that would make me learn these very foreign to my being subjects. And going out for me was a huge pleasure source. I couldn't combine them, so I had to give up my biggest pleasure. And slowly I found meaning in "getting smarter".

I'll write more on this.