It’s always good to strive for excellence. To be better. To advance yourself. To do good for yourself. After all there’s so much to learn and so many things you have to master.
This pursuit hides a black hole behind it.
Look at your mindset and the things you do daily. Deeply. If they are concerned with you learning something new, getting your work done, getting your body in shape ,etc… then you have a problem.
All of that will make you feel like you’re advancing and that you’re doing very well. It might as well feel like you’re getting closer to your goal day by day.
You’ve to be careful. Behind all those well meant actions is something that will destroy you. When everything you do is all about YOU, then selfishness will kick in. Selfishness can easily consume you. There will always be something you need to do, something you need to learn, something you need to catch up with or check out. The list is endless, isn’t it!
If you delve into this endless circle where everything is about you, nobody will be there to pick you up when you fall.
It’s good to strive for excellence. It’s really bad to only see yourself.
There is always this hype to start something up! A business startup, a social startup; whatever. The point mostly is to ACT and do something useful. Which is GREAT, but it can fireback.
The “Impossible Project”, coined by Seth Godin, is “a project that you plan to carry out but it is so hard and so big that there are no clear steps that you can take now”. Consequently you never take the first step.
Having an impossible project gives the soothing feeling of “I’m good because there is something I’m working on”. However, the impossible project never moves you forward.
If you think you’ve a project, here’s a simple question:
When was the last time you took external action (like reaching out to investors/partners/potential customers/audience) regarding your project?
If it was more than a week ago, your project is impossible. You’re far better off not having a project at all.
Here is a theory worth thinking about:
Shift your focus from long-term goals to ensuring high quality day-to-day experience that makes you get up out of bed filled with excitement and energy looking forward to doing things that you enjoy and respect.
Here is what I think is wrong with this theory:
Firstly, if you have the best day-to-day experience that is fulfilling and satisfying that makes you the happiest person on the planet, is that a guarantee that you will reach a great achievement one day? Will you keep floating around in a sea of great experiences that do not connect to any grand meaning?
Secondly, how would you find a great fulfilling and satisfying day-to-day experience anyway? To know what I mean by such experience check FLOW.
If you happen to find it, will there be any guarantee that you can always draw excitement and fulfillment endlessly?
Lastly, is finding such experiences about a lifestyle change or about a mind-set change? Is it about changing what you do day-to-day? Is it about changing how you see what you do and how you conceive the world around you?!
In AIESEC we have this tradition of “Check-In” that we do before we start a meeting. You simply state what you have done today so you can put it aside and focus on what is about to happen in the meeting.
Loving the concept so much, I started to “Check-In” to my bed every night.
Because I believe in watching myself not asking it, I wanted to separate me from myself as much as I can.
Just like as if someone else is asking me one simple question: “How many productive tasks have you done today?” I would answer only in numbers. No emotions, no criticism, no frustration. Just a number. I would keep track of this number in my mind for days.
I did this for a week. What I found shook me and shocked me.
I wonder what will you find out?
Of discipline I speak; for it’s mandatory for success.
Here’s what I learned of it so far:
- I lack discipline.
It’s true. I was never forced to do anything I hated for all my life. I’m passion driven not discipline driven.
- Discipline is paramount.
Rome wasn’t built in one day nor anything else worth building (your dream). You ARE to do things that you don’t want to!
- Discipline is about saying NO.
Saying no to things you like, to people you love and to things you want to do.
- Discipline is about FOCUS.
The more focused you’re the easier it is to say no.
- Discipline is simple, yet HARD!
Get focused and consistently say NO!
The road is undefined and hard. Guidance is scarce since it’s your quest. You might get lost. You might even forget who you are, who you want to become. Your goals might become vague. Changing the world is an overwhelming task. Having a myriad of options, getting lost is eminent.
I’d say go back to basics. Go back to certain principles that you know about how the world works. Go back to those things about you that you love, appreciate and think that they define who you are the most.
Most importantly, have the courage to work up from there and commit yourself to certain actions and decisions that you feel come out from who you really are.
To start with, you get a life.
To start with, you get a soul. Hopes. Dreams. Passion. Love. Compassion.
To start with, you get a body. Muscles. Neurons. Arms. Legs. A heart.
You might be thinking “Well then what?! Everybody has these.” But you’d be missing the point.
The point is what you can do out of what YOU have?!
Einstein changed the way we see the world.
Malcolm Gladwell changed how we think about thinking.
Abraham Lincoln freed millions from slavery.
Steve Jobs changed the way we listen to music.
Seth Godin changed how we see the new economy.
Clayton Christensen changed how we see startups.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi changed how we see the things we enjoy.
Elon Musk is changing the way we drive cars.
Bill Gates is changing facts about third world countries.
To start with, they all got a life.
The point is “What are YOU going to change?”