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.
We’re constantly being reminded to set goals. Since a very young age, the advice that I kept getting is set a SMART goal. I think we have grown accustomed to this goals focused mind-set. I think that’s wrong. I doubt that a goals focused mind-set is any good for you. Here’s why I think so:
- Goals are destinations not journeys.
You’re either there, or not there. When you’re there, you’re happy but that only lasts for a day or two. You spend most of the time fighting to get there, however, you never celebrate the fight.
- We set our goals so high.
Because we are encouraged to dream big and be ambitious. If you like pushing yourself hard (like me), you set a high goal and you don’t reach it. You fall down, pick yourself up and plan for another high goal that you don’t reach. You spend some time in this vortex till you give up the whole issue.
- You acquire a destination oriented mindset.
Your day to day mental voice is shouting “Results, Results, Results!”. It becomes what you eat, what you think about, what your breath. Until the pursuit gets the best of your soul. You start serving your goals instead of having your goals to serve you.
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?”
If you really wanna know who you are, don’t ask yourself. We all have this feeling that we are good whatever that means (it varies accordingly). It makes us feel better about ourselves. It is very hard to admit that you stand on the bad side, although you might be thinking that it is easy.
If you wanna know who you are (vital question to your growth), watch yourself act when there is no time to think. That is when your true self will be visible. You can talk about your values all day long, yet they are not what you’re about unless you act according to them without thinking.
We all love to talk good about ourselves. It takes courage to watch carefully what you do spontaneously and decide who you really are now. You will find lots of crap in there. Fix them. Watch again. Repeat.
You were too afraid to rebel against stupid rules, were you?
You were too afraid to choose your own college, were you?
You were too afraid that you conformed unwillingly, were you?
You were too afraid to say HI to that girl, were you?
You were too afraid to listen to your heart, were you?
You were too afraid to speak to that huge crowd, were you?
You were too afraid to lead those who trusted you, were you?
You were too afraid to make your dreams come true, were you?
You were too afraid to shift your career although you wanted to, were you?
Who is in control?
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart