I wake up at 3 am, dazed and confused, and all I can think is: "where did my pizza go?" I roll over on the couch, looking at the empty coffee table. Nothing there.
I walk to the kitchen, nothing.
It's my junior year in high school, and I've signed up for more AP classes than I should have. This week, my solution to surmounting the towering pile of homework is to optimize my sleep schedule, based on the cold hard facts of what sleep pattern is best: one hour naps between one hour work sessions, and repeating until the morning.
I continue this cycle for a week and a half, until one of my friends in calculus looks at me, taking stock of the deep bags under my eyes: "Grant, you look exhausted - are you ok?"
No, I wasn't. Operation optimize sleep schedule had not panned out, and it was time to abort.
It turns out, I had already eaten my pizza earlier that night, in between naps. But I was so out of sorts from my hair-brained sleep plan that I forgot all about it.
It's ok to try new tactics to get new results, but you need to be able to notice how things are actually turning out along the way. I didn't have the self-awareness to see quickly enough that the sleep schedule was a dud. My friend helped me with that.
Better awareness of ourselves, the people around us, and our environment is what helps us learn faster. That's the difference between lightning fast feedback loops that help us learn quickly and grow, and sluggish feedback loops that relegate our learning to a slow trod through mud.
I want to know what's going on quickly, so that I can course correct and get better.
Maybe then I won't reach for pizza that isn't there.