The Gino Supremo Way

May 24, 2014 by

          A few years ago, I volunteered in my Grade 10 History teacher’s classroom. Even after four years of university, he was still the coolest teacher I had ever had. He’s chill, and his students respect him for it. One thing I always liked was his disregard for deadlines. As a student, I never had to take advantage of his ongoing willingness to give out extensions, but I appreciated that the option was there. It took the pressure off. Knowing that apathy for deadlines is atypical of a teacher, I once asked why he has never cared whether or not his students hand in their work on time. In Gino Supremo (the highly appropriate alias he used on sample essays distributed to his students) fashion, he referenced an important point in history (I can’t remember the exact one), sometime around the world wars, when an extension was given to a deadline that impacted the state of world peace. “If ever there was a time for a deadline,” he said, “that was it. Nothing is going to happen if these kids don’t get their assignments in on time. Why stress them out?”

          Society puts unnecessary pressure on people to adhere to certain timelines – not just day-to-day deadlines, but life milestones. We’re supposed to be out of high school by age 17 or 18, graduated university by 21 or 22, married by the end of our twenties, and popping kids by our early thirties at the latest. Why? Why is it necessary to follow these expectations, and why does choosing not to have negative connotations? A friend of mine raised an excellent point this week: deadlines make us feel like we’ve failed for no reason. She’s right. Think about it. When one of those birthdays rolls around that upsets you because you’re not where you expected to be by X age, what is the underlying reason for that unaccomplished feeling? You didn’t meet society’s deadline, and that’s how you’re choosing to measure success and failure. Society told you you’re supposed to be somewhere by now, and you’re not there yet. Therefore, instead of praising your accomplishments for the isolated successes that they are, you look at them relative to the deadlines society has set for you and assess that you have failed if those accomplishments weren’t achieved by X date. Your pride in yourself is dependent on whether or not you’re where society says you should be by your age. Don’t let it be. Instead, pride yourself on being bold enough to ignore expectations imposed upon you. Ignore society’s deadlines and ignore the deadlines other people have set for you. Moreover, ignore your own deadlines and ignore the deadlines you’ve drawn for other people.

          Actually, my friend’s point was in response to a deadline that I was unconsciously imposing on someone else. This is a definite don’t. As I discussed yesterday, you can’t control other people’s actions or their timing. Giving other people deadlines that they aren’t even aware of and applying significance to whether or not they meet them is useless. First of all, you can’t force anyone to adhere to timelines that only exist in your own head. Secondly, you can’t judge people for not meeting expectations that aren’t their own. You’re setting yourself up for a whirlwind of overanalysis if you try.

          Deadlines can motivate you to get shit done, but let them go if they’re not successfully serving this purpose. Get rid of them if they’re causing you stress. The only schedule you need to run on is your own; and, since you’re making your own deadlines, you can dispose of them as easily as you established them.

Happiness Tip: Disregard deadlines.

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