We convince ourselves that success is hard. There is so much to learn before we even begin. Then you need a strategy and a plan and you need the right people….and that’s why we’re not successful yet.
I’m starting to think that all of it is bullshit. We know what to do. We know how to do it. But we’re choosing not to do it and putting all these things in our way to avoid getting to what is important.
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. One of the truest things I ever wrote I remember to this day, by memory, is this poem that I think I wrote in 2nd grade?
Of all the things I’ve wanted
I’ve always wanted this:
to reach success
and be the best
and not be second place.
I’ve never been the best,
although I’ve had potential.
I’ve been afraid of failing
the work just seems too hard.
I’d rather just be second,
than have done the work at all.
It’s the only poem I remember that I wrote, probably because it cuts so deep. I was reminded today about how often I don’t do what I intend to, even when I know how, even when I want to. I’m still not sure I understand why.
Since moving, I’ve also been working on a couple exciting side projects. I’m sleeping less, eating all the carbs, but I’m engaged with my work, I’m reading more, writing more. I’ve also been struggling to make the house a home. After enduring a couple weeks of mild hauntings, we’ve moved on to painting, weeding and still trying to unpack. I haven’t been this busy in all my life, where literally every minute of the day is filled up, yet I’m not overwhelmed and shutting down. I’m moving along, exhausted, slowly, using the last bit of energy to express the joy I feel, although at the end of the day, it mostly just manifests itself as patience.
I bring this up, because I used to think the why was exhaustion. I don’t do what I’m supposed to because I’m tired. And this was my excuse when I was only working a 40 hour work week with a couple of odd hours here and there and normal chores and having to make dinner every night. I used this as an excuse to be cranky and mean. I can’t use this as an excuse any more now that I’ve seen myself perform at this level. I’m doing twice as much, more productively, more happily while still being kind with myself. But I’m only taking on things that matter. Everything else, I’m letting it slip. And let me tell you, as a recovering perfectionist, this is hard. There is pile of dishes in the sink that stretches across the counter, that I will get to, but not right now. My car is a mess and hasn’t been washed since I moved. I have a full task list and while I could stay up to do the little things that bother me the most but don’t matter, I need to make sure I sleep 7.5 hours so I can accomplish tomorrow’s task list. Those things are already scheduled, but not right now. Today has it’s own list. The lack of resolution is new for me, but I’m learning to be ok with the discomfort of having little things hanging over me.
It is possible to do more than you’ve ever done and not die. You may even reach your potential. That’s what I feel I’m touching on now. Like I’m squeezing every last bit out of each day without doing damage to tomorrow. Because sure you can burn the midnight oil, but then you’ll have less fuel for the next day and I need every last bit of fuel. I want to be scared and procrastinate and let the instant gratification monkey take over, but I just don’t have the time because the panic monster is peeking around the corner. Funny how that works. It’s like a state of balanced chaos.
Which brings me to why all this came up to begin with. I want to do good work and get better and be a better person but that path is hard. There’s a lot of work on that path and sometimes I don’t want to do it. Most times, I don’t want to do it so I don’t. I’m settling.
I’m now starting to see that there is a huge gap between first and second.
It’s not like
1 a little more work that 2
2 a little more work
It’s more like
1 a whole lot more work that 2 and 3 combined times 100
2 a little more work
Not to scale, obvs.
First place takes so much more work. Is it worth it? Truth is, probably not. If you look at it through the prism of “is it worth it”, you’re never going to see the rainbow. You can not balance the work and the reward in a way that makes sense. It will never make sense, not even at 2nd or 3rd. Once you let that go, you can just accept that it will be ugly and get to work. If you’re not trying to maximize pleasure and get the damn thing to balance, you’ll have more time to work. If you’re not spending time looking for shortcuts, you’ll have more time to work. If you’re not trying out different strategies in the name of efficiency, you’ll have more time to work. And then one day you’ll be stronger and the work will feel like less work, but it still won’t balance out, it still won’t make sense. Don’t worry about it, that’s just the way it is. Keep going. It is the right thing to do.
Actually, don’t even call it work, that sounds hard. It is energy in motion. Just keep your energy in motion. It is the state of being you’re trying to achieve. That excited state will elevate you. And just like in chemistry, it takes so much more energy to reach a higher level and a even more to reach a higher level and even more the next time, more than you thought possible. The reason for doing it is not is the end result. You can not reason. You must just do.