The Interim Mindset

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I've always been convinced that Niccolo Machiavelli was on to something when he wrote “the end justifies the means.” Sure, he was talking about cruelty and ruthlessness being acceptable and necessary in order to achieve political dominance. But the sentiments are, in my humble (and, very likely, flawed) opinion, highly transferable to something more relatable and a little less frown-worthy. (I hope.)

Let me introduce you to the concept of the Interim Mindset.

The Interim Mindset takes the aforementioned Machiavellian idea, twists it into a Möbius Strip, bonds it with versatility, and wraps it in something commonplace but sensible. If it were food, it'll be something with chocolate and marshmallow. And bacon-wrapped. 

This is an outlook that stems from the certainty that an otherwise unbearable situation is transitory; an interim to something anticipated and far more superior. You set a date, say “I won’t be here for long anyway,” and wait it out.

It is also the act of justifying your choice of residing in the same awful circumstances by convincing yourself (and everybody else) that you absolutely need to put up with it so that you can have the means to do the thing/s that you actually enjoy doing.

“I need this job so I can travel.”

Hmm. That sounds familiar.

Well, The Interim Mindset is one of my many coping mechanisms. It helps me process the inherent tragedian nature of life in general, a dreadful job in particular. If we are going to be honest, it borders on being counterproductive; but I think the term “corruptible” is more apt.

See, the Interim Mindset, like bacon-wrapped marshmallow and chocolate, can either be good or bad for you. It is good when viewed in the context of patience, perseverance, strength of character, and optimism. Being able to stomach wretchedness because you believe that something better is waiting for you—that is a Herculean task, and highly commendable. But this instrument of hopefulness can easily morph into a chimera of complacency and misery, especially when you’re utilizing the other feature of the Mindset. I think, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not alright to be miserable most of the time just so you can do, for a brief while, whatever it is you truly enjoy doing. I mean, when you’re in this zone, you should ask yourself if that whatever is worth all the unhappiness. If it is, if it truly truly is, then suit yourself. But if it’s not, then why not get rid of this soul-sucker of a middleman and find something you also enjoy as a means to your other enjoyable end?

I have been a subscriber of this Mindset, and I don’t recommend you to do the same. Because, just as it is with its food representation, too much of it would result into a congested artery and a lethargic soul.

Let me put my point into something less prosaic:

And all this passion may fuel our fire
But our callused hearts will eventually tire

Eventually, whatever incentive we have, that allows us to tolerate the sorry state we are currently in, will run out. The time will come when we’ll lose our enthusiasm. We’ll get tired. We’ll stop caring. And when you get to that point, believe me, it’s difficult to turn it around.

The truth is we don’t have to wallow in misery and self-pity. I know it’s easier said than done but we should at least try to chase that ever elusive happiness and give ourselves a chance. We always have a choice. It’s hard to take the first step, I know. Courage is key. And it doesn't hurt to have an awesome support system.

Do me a favor and stay clear of the Interim Mindset because, I tell you, you deserve to be happy.

We all do.

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