Based outside of Boston, Massachusetts, The Thought Porch is a personal blog by aspiring novelist Max Ghannam. Posts explore the mind and body, as well motivational thoughts on life and sources of inspiration.

Showing Up

Fun Fact: I have legitimately ZERO desire to be productive today.

Subtopic tangentially related to the fun fact, but not directly related to the theme of this post: I would much rather be reading The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea, which just came in the mail yesterday. Why?

  1. Because I'm a sheep and had to see what all the rage is about.
  2. Because I am a sucker for a story about fucked up families and friend groups (those who know me will probably understand why). 
  3. Because I read the sample online -- my god is it well-written. I'm going to be highly critical of all my writing after reading it, I can tell.

In a round about way, that tangent just helped me locate a thread that leads back to the topic at hand, so thank goodness for tangents, amirite? 

That topic is a difference in opinion (which is still technically only related to the direct topic, but I'm trying here even though I don't want to, so cut me some slack).

I saw T.H.O.B.A. recommended by a slew of bloggers, writers, and publishers that have a literary taste that I know is in line with mine. That's why their opinion mattered to me. I listened to their advice out of respect and knowledge of common ground.

I've recently come across a vein of people online who produce great content that I love, that relates to and moves me, but that have an opinion that differs from one I hold. The subject of the opinion is: what do you do when you absolutely don't want to work? 

The reasons to not want to be productive are abundant and varied. We all have shit going on in our lives. Life is a crazy fucking roller coaster that we all ride -- except we get given different tracks, with varying inclines and speed of ascension, scattered and unpredictably placed loops, completely unexpected plunging drop-offs. 

Some people say that there are no obligations to "force" productivity if you just hit a loop, or a drop-off. Others say it's all about showing up.

I'm in the "showing up" camp on this topic. Not all people in this camp share all of the same viewpoints as me, but we do have common ground -- as people in the take the time off camp and I also share, but on different matters than this.

The way I see it, if I show up and produce when I'm not feeling it, then I will always show up when I am feeling it. I will have put in the work. I will have something to show for it. I won't place myself on a slippery slope that leads back into the sloth-like funk that just ravaged my entire 2017 and left me with nothing in the way of work to show for it. 

An entire year just went by where I didn't work on myself at all. It all started with one day off from my grind (god I hate that word but can't help using it). I am going to do everything in my power to avoid slipping into a slump like that again. That means pushing myself to show up to work, ESPECIALLY when I don't feel like it. I don't see any way around it.

Jocko Willink is somebody who does have differing opinions on certain subjects from me, but he understands life, resolve, and determination in a way that I could never even aspire to grasp. In certain regards, he's lightyears ahead of me as a human. 

I bring him up simply because he's such a different figure than I am, yet we have common ground around the idea of showing up to work. No matter what.

There are obvious exceptions to this, which he details in his discussions on the matter. But they won't be in nebulous gray area cloud of reasons to avoid work. You will know when something severe enough is affecting you that it becomes acceptable to take a day off. But that decision, the one to NOT work, should be the one decision in your life that you procrastinate making the longest.

Everyday in life is a battle of showing up. That's what today is about for me. And I'm willing to push myself to live that. Because I know all of the reasons I am feeling adverse to working today are superficial, and detrimental to the foundation I have been working to build in my life. 

If you're truly struggling, take a day off. But if there is any shadow of doubt in your heart as to what your motivations to rest are, then push your limitations.

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for." - John August Shedd.


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