Is Living In Dormancy Worth Anything?

“I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.” – Sean Carter lyric

What is dormant living to you?  In this lyric, Sean(Jay-Z) was talking about how living in a low-income housing area was a constant struggle, as the area he was in was packed with people in 20-story buildings next to messed up roads and schools, making for low-quality neighborhoods.  He was calling this living experience “living dormant”, because it was like wasted time to be around such conditions, as it was not a conducive environment to becoming a valuable person to society.  Later in the lyric he adds, “if this is what I have to live for, I’m going to take the chance to get more.”

Relate His Message To Your Situation

Now, that was his story.  If we switch to your story, you may not live in the same type of conditions as he was in at that time.  However, I invite you to take a look at if your conditions lend themselves to dormant living.  It doesn’t have to be about low-income housing or a certain type of neighborhood as well.  Maybe you have some individuals around you who are continually demotivational, or are stuck in a routine that makes you give up on trying something new.  Maybe no one in your neighborhood talks much to each other, and so that makes you want to fit in and not talk much or make much noise as well.  Maybe you persevere through an occupation that is hectic, but not very involved, so it leaves you little energy to formulate a plan.  This could also be the case if you are going paycheck-to-paycheck, as are something like 75% of Americans(survey).

Dormancy And Frustration Are Good Friends

There are many examples of situations that lend themselves to the people in them living in dormancy, and although they differ in look from Sean’s case, the effect is the same.  They bring about inaction and a frustration with lack of socioeconomic or self growth.  Now, if you are in one of these situations, ask yourself if your time spent living in dormancy is worth anything.  Are we satisfied when time passes and we have little to show for it except remaining similar?  Most at the top of the socioeconomic ladder would be very disappointed when no growth is to be found.  It is in our best interests to think like those at the top of the ladder, because most of us want to be around there.

Think Through The Words

So, then, if that dormancy is “what [you] have to live for”, are you “going to take the chance to get more”?  I ask this question somewhat rhetorically, but this is a thought process that is worth traveling through.  Most people would instantly reject a proposal that they lead a certain unchanging life for the rest of their days, regardless of how good or bad it is, because not only do we desire certain things we don’t have, we want growth to be related to our usage of time.  We want to feel like we were relevant, and that we improved.

Leo Babauta Battled Out Of His Own Dormancy

To relate this to someone in the personal development scene for an example, Leo Babauta seems to fit right in for this topic.  Although he wasn’t in the poor urban ghetto like Sean Carter, I can see that his thought process was similar a few years ago.  He speaks now about how to go for less, and to focus and so on, but looking at his message-spreading desire now, and the message-spreading ability he had when he started Zen Habits, it is easy to see that, even though he had many children and a loving wife and job, he thought “I’m going to take the chance to get more”, because that was a time of socioeconomic dormancy for him.

He guest posted and wrote more than anyone else early on in the self-help scene, and when you put in more effort, regardless of how good you or your content is, you make it to the top.  Now he gets free publicity all over the place regarding how he has 200000 subscribers, or however many it is at the time, and so his site grows faster than any other personal development site can, through exponential gains.  He took the chance to get more, and that is what the “more” is.  What are some of the chances he took to get more?  Some include guest posting when it wasn’t as popular, or picking a short domain name that makes people think it is clever, or other efforts like these.

A Minute Of Dormancy Is A Lost Minute

If your position/condition is not usually satisfactory to you, ask yourself “is this what I have to live for?”, and the answers will come to you quickly.  It correctly sets the tone in your mind that a life of whatever you deem as dormancy is not worth spending another second living.

23 thoughts on “Is Living In Dormancy Worth Anything?”

  1. Armen,

    I think there are many people we can learn from in life. Leo is one great example as you pointed out. The best thing about him is that he is doing what he loves and passionate about, it was never about being authority or making money (based on what I can tell) yet he achieved both and more.

    1. Hi Preeti.

      I think I may have written a bit too much about Leo there. This was more about the song lyric about taking what you want, and how Leo is an example of someone who took their position forcefully, or with a vengeance, as the lyrics put it. Anyone who gets into a strong position and maintains it is like a lion in the jungle, regardless of how innocent they seem or appear in conversation.

      There sure are many we can learn from, though, as you mentioned there.

  2. Hi Armen,

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and loved the message that you were sending out on self improvement. I have recently been taking more chances and trying my hand in avenues that have before seemed inaccessible to me. I am especially drawn to the part where you say ‘a minute dormant, is a minute lost’ It resonates with me because it is easy to say I wish I could…. but it takes courage and and work to take the chance to go after what you want to make that wish come true.

    There is an old Swahili proverb
    ” Mtaka cha mvunguni sharti ainame” meaning, that if you want what is on the floor you have to reach for it and pick it up. .

    I believe that if you want something badly enough, you should go after it.

    Reflecto @

    1. Hi there.

      That proverb makes sense, and is simple, so the message comes through clearly. Thanks for sharing it.

      I don’t want to have dormant time. It is a shame when it occurs.

      Your last line does ring true.

  3. Thanks Armen,
    Reading this post came at a good time for me. I’ve been distracted by all the things happening around me, and just reacting to life.
    A very well written post Armen. As usual you have given me plenty of food for thought.

    1. Hi Martin.

      I appreciate these words. I do the same thing as you described there at times. I sure don’t like it. These quotes I put out there run through my mind at times of inactivity or fear or wherever they fit in. This line “if this is what I have to live for, then I’m going to take the chance to get more” makes a lot of sense to me, so I use it. Some quotes are just as valuable, but they aren’t hard-hitting in my mind, so I don’t use them.

      Also, dormancy can mean various things. Dormancy for a super music producer can mean producing anything less than 5 songs a week. Everyone has their own knowledge of what dormancy is to them. Once we assess this, then we know we can’t let ourselves drop to that state.

  4. Wonderful post! Just discovered your site which was listed as no. 4 on the top 100 self help blogs (Squidoo article). I’m so glad that I clicked.

    The story you start off with about Sean Carter is very powerful. It really motivates me. I had never thought of using the word dormant to describe how I’ve been living – but that’s it. You’re right, this quote is strong: “if this is what I have to live for, then I’m going to take the chance to get more”

    I really needed this today. I’m going to try to keep this concept in my head for the next weeks as I try to push myself to escape total dormancy. I’ll definitely be reading more – you’re on my daily reading list now.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynn.

      Thank you for this message. That Squidoo article sure is cool.

      That use of ‘dormant’ is full of impact, in my view, and in yours as well it seems. Once we look at a certain type of living as ‘dormant’, we quickly realize that we have to get out of it. Who wants to live like they are a slow-moving turtle? That other quote completes the thought so well. Lately I am using these two quotes quite a lot, so it is nice that we are on the same page.

      I appreciate your kind words. My ability to create and spread the material I have to provide expands because of individuals like you.

    1. Hi Roman.

      Good stuff there. That’s how I do it. I like to hit on the main points of an issue(I guess everyone seeks to do that in their writing as well).

      I feel like I analyze certain lyrics way more than other folks, but there may be others who are similar in this aspect.

  5. This article makes a great point.

    The way I see it, living in dormancy is settling for the conditions around you. I would say that for 99% of us, that’s bad. Why? Because there’s no growth. Not that we need to be in a state of constant overhaul, but even a stable life experience needs MOBILITY. It’s integral to the human experience.

    But here’s where it’s interesting: dormancy doesn’t equal stillness. And I would argue that by consciously and intentionally cultivating stillness, you foster your own mobility. A little paradoxical, but true.

    Interesting distinction. Cool post.

    1. Hi Travis.

      Settling for the conditions around us is fine for staying in one place(while moving), but is not fine for those of us who see something bigger in our future plans. Not everyone has these aspirations, and I have seen many who don’t, but some do, and those few that do need to view their current conditions as dormant compared to what they will be.

  6. Hi Armen, excellent post you got here, I like the overall message.

    In short, I don’t think that you can be dormant about anything in life; life is a series of magic moments strung together, each one as beautiful as the last. To be dormant about something is to not bother, not give the right amount of effort. Which is a sad thing.

    Thanks Armen 🙂

    1. Hi Stuart.

      To not bother sure is a sad thing. Bothering and caring and putting in effort and agitating all go together.

      We must bother and cause a ruckus if we are to move to the next step.

  7. Arem..(I bow) amen to your words of wisdom. Like jay-z said, ” I’d rather die enormous than live dormant, that how we one it,” Always be willing to get where you need to go or die trying. I think, this is the only mindset to have or you will inevitability fail.

    1. Hi Jonathan.

      I will follow up on what you said. The reason that we inevitably fail if we don’t have that mindset is that we start to cut corners, and then we stop way short of our goal. We have to be ready to go much further than our goal.

  8. Armen: What a great message. I think you are so right that we have to make sure we aren’t just settling with the conditions and circumstances around us if they are not going to allow us to get where we really want to and essentially hold us back. I appreciate the Jay-Z lyric you shared. It really drove the point home and reminded of a post you did sometime ago showing your freestyle abilities 🙂 It really is so true that we have to always make sure we are pushing forward in the direction we desire and not let anything hold us back. Great inspirational post.

    1. Hi Sibyl.

      Thanks there. It is interesting that you remember my freestyle post well. I don’t recall if I have posted a rap freestyle on here in a post, or maybe you are referring to my piano playing. I do rap freestyle very often, but I have not released the recordings here(unless there was one that I did). That is the current status.

  9. Very motivational subject Armen. I think whenever we get too dormant we need to shake things up and try to get to that next plateau. As you said, it doesn’t matter what our “dormant” is – for some it is living in the ghetto, for others it is working at a dead-end job – the point is that we change the status quo for the better.

    I always have fun coming by your site and reading your thoughts. I’ll try to comment more often. Good luck with everything.

    1. Hi Steven.

      How you pointed out what I most wanted to convey through the post is quite cool. We have our status quo, whatever it may be, and so that is our ‘dormant’. I don’t know if folks listening to that song of Sean’s were able to relate to his situation in this way, but I certainly see the relation.

      Thanks for the support and I will continue to provide such material.

  10. Some great food for thought. Life is definitely all about taking chances, but I believe that sometimes the periods of dormancy can also be valuable. We need time for reflection, and for ideas and inspiration to simmer and build steam. I guess it is just choosing the reflective kind of dormancy rather than the trapped and discouraged kind! Thanks for a great read.

    1. Hi Amanda.

      Thanks there. I do agree about periods of dormancy being necessary occasionally, but feeling dormant for days on end is an item that must be tackled as soon as possible. A reflective dormancy is valuable in the short term.

      We have to traverse our way out of a broken routine before it causes us long-term damage.

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