The Derivation of Guilt
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The Derivation of Guilt


There’s something about online presence in the last few years. Aside from the generally undereducated public opinions and over-activism, we see a ride in the everyday philosopher; you know, the people who post and repost those inspirational quotes someone once mumbled while drunk at a bar and thought it sounded nice. I mean, those aside, there are the leaders of the world who have said some very profound things. At times these quotes have undoubtedly changed the way I think about my day and how I’m going to roll down this road of life. But at the end of the day, even after all of these inspirational quotes are read, we still grab McDonalds on the way home and fall asleep to the 3rd rerun of Friends on Netflix.

Shit. I’m guilty.

Why?

Guilt is a powerful thing. After working on a startup and reading and writing more than I think is healthy for the average young Canadian, I’ve found that guilt, more specifically self-guilt, has come from my inability to act on the things my mind and body says I should do.

In the past little while, I’ve become a list guy. I’ve embarrassingly become someone who emails himself more than he sends to colleagues and peers. I scribble things here and there and I have a new app on my phone that makes a nice sound when I click the item to be finished.

Quite often there is a feeling to write one more email, eat one less junk food item, or go to the gym once more a week. Doing these things takes pressure off of our shoulders and makes the rest of our day clear. Often I talk about capacity, and to have these tings checked off and have our heads more free to think about the things that matter makes us much more effective and efficient.

Each day has 24 hours, and within those 24 hours we have time to think about a finite amount of things. The amount of time and space that guilt occupies is suffocating. It can lead to stress, and stress can lead to a number of things that will consume much more time than whatever it was that we avoided doing in the first place. Sure, this may be an extreme case, but it has to start somewhere. Every professional was an amateur once, and every high-stress situation that is caused by self guilt is very likely the inaction on something can could have been done if we turned off the T.V. one episode earlier or make a healthy (likely cheaper) meal at home.

We are complex beings. There are nearly infinite factors that contribute to our day and how we determine the outcome. There are things we can control and things we can’t. Guilt, when it comes to the action or inaction of ourselves, is something that can be avoided, as long as we are determined enough to make the decisions that will pay off for us most in both the short and long term.

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