There’s a lot that I want to become, and its overwhelming when I try to conceive of what it would take to fulfill my most ambitious visions of myself.
One good trick I’ve found that works for me personally is writing it all down. Once the words have been captured by paper and ink they seem more manageable, more well-behaved.
This almost automatically leads to doing a little bit every day. Or most days. Be micro-ambitious.
Which reminds me of my third helpful tactic: embracing imperfection. If I’m making good choices most of the time, even just 51%, I’m doing just fine. This helps me avoid black and white thinking about myself: bad choices leading to thinking of myself as “bad”, which makes me more prone to more bad choices. Or, good choices leading to me thinking I deserve to make some bad choices. A relevant reflection: humans are the only animals that can suffer for things not happening now.
If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.
― Lao Tzu
On the flip side, we can also be happy about things not happening right now. I’m not sure how to synthesize that with the above, but I feel it’s an important point to note.
The fourth practice is getting very, very clear about just what “good” is. Aristotle believed that truly knowing what is good necessarily leads to good action. While he might have overstated his case, I’ve found that the more clear I am about what I need to do, the easier it is to do it. One thing I’m that clear on is the importance of being well-rounded, not being pigeon-holed. I’m not sure why I want that so much, I just know I get really bored when there isn’t much change in my day-to-day work.
My primary occupation these days is software engineer and co-founder of a startup, but I’m also interested in:
- writing [active]
- drawing [active]
- mindfulness [active]
- physical fitness [active]
- learning to be more musical [inactive]
- overcoming stage fright / shyness [inactive]
- political activism [inactive]
For the ones marked [active] I’ve been doing a little bit, most days, that is 51%. The political activism one really bothers me. I see so much happening that I feel is wrong, but because there’s so much happening relative to how much time I have to give, I get discouraged. The same principle of doing a little every day should apply, but for some reason it seems harder in this case. Perhaps because it’s a rabbit hole, and one I’ve been down before. But if something you love is being threatened, is there any justification for not doing something? Anyway, I hope by the end of 2018 I can consider myself active in those last three areas, especially the last.