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.
Mitchell Waldrop notes in his book Complexity:
There’s nothing very complicated about the water molecule; it’s just one big oxygen atom with two little hydrogen atoms stuck to it like Mickey mouse ears. Its behavior is governed by well-understood equations of atomic physics. But not put a few zillion of those molecules together in the same pot. Suddenly you’ve got a substance that shimmers and gurgles and sloshes. Those zillion molecules have collectively acquired a property, liquidity, that none of them possesses alone … The liquidity is ’emergent’. …The mind is an emergent property, the product of several billion neurons obeying the biological lows of the living cell.
He continues quoting Kenneth Anderson:
‘At each level of complexity, entirely new properties appear. At each stage, entirely new laws, concepts and generalizations are necessary, requiring inspiration and creativity … Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry’.
Your consciousness is not your neoral signals.
Your soul is not your beating heart.
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.
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!
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.