Right now, you’re probably sitting or lying. Maybe you’re standing. You are somewhere, maybe outside, maybe inside. Life is happening around you. Maybe there is some music in the background, maybe only cars, maybe silence. You have some things you have to do today, or tomorrow, or in a week from now. You’ve also had some obligations today, or yesterday, or a week from now. You also have things you want to do, not just things you have to do. The things you have to do you don’t want to do, maybe all of them, but probably some of them. These things can be relatively unimportant (i.e. errands) or they could be important, but you still don’t want to do them.
If you have too much things you have to do, and not enough time to do the things you want to do, you probably get stressed. If you have a lot of things to do, you might procrastinate, do other things instead of some things.
In the post Where does stress come from, I describe that one of the main reasons for stress is a conflict in motivation, and that this conflict can be solved by deliberately deciding a certain course of action and sticking to it, not doubting yourself or your choice.
In this post, I want to explore this concept a bit further and see how exactly it is that our own internal motivation conflicts lead us to live unfulfilling lives, and how those that have no motivation conflicts (or at least solve them early-on) lead lives packed with greatness.
So, first things first: honesty.
This is a prerequisite for the continuation of you reading this post. You have to be able to be honest with yourself. If you lie to yourself, you won’t get far in self improvement. What is it that you don’t acknowledge about yourself? Have you heard several people comment on a certain characteristic you believed you didn’t have? Maybe you do have it? Have you seen yourself behave unexpectedly in various situations? Does this unexpected result maybe tell you something about yourself? For example, if your friend got into a fight and you didn’t rush in and save him (even though you always thought that you wouldn’t hesitate a second), does that tell you something about yourself? If people always comment how you’re so lethargic and unenergetic, do you think about that?
If you’re a dishonest person to yourself, you should listen to what other people say. Sometimes they’re wrong, sometimes they’re right, but their explanation is countered by something you know and they don’t, but often, they’re right and you’re just fooling yourself.
You can’t try to become successful if you do not first acknowledge that you’re unsuccessful. You can’t try to become strong unless you admit that you’re weak. So on, and so on. Consider this:
All your actions up to this point have led to this very day.
How fucking terrible an idea is that, huh?
Everything you did, from your birth to the moment you’re reading these words, has led to this exact moment. And this here… This moment right now is the tipping point.
Now you decide what you’re going to do further.
If you’re like “Dude, what’s with the drama, I’m just going to have a shit and watch some cat videos, I’m not that important, what I do isn’t going to make a big difference” then you’re wrong.
For you see, your life is important.
At least, it should be important to you. And what you do with it should, by extension, be ever more important. And thus – what you do is going to make a big difference.
This moment right here, the moment while you read these very words, is the tipping point of your life. It is now that you make the decisions that will define the rest of your life.
Maybe some of these decisions can be changed afterwards, so it isn’t all a big drama as it looks like. But what if some of them cannot be changed? Use of time cannot be changed.
If you just spent half an hour of watching skating videos on Youtube, that half an hour is gone. If you’ve just exercised half an hour, that half an hour is gone. You can’t have it back. And seeing that life time is (at least for now) finite for humans, it would make sense to make good decisions about how we use time, wouldn’t it?
Now we come to the secret piece of advice I will give you, and you will struggle with accepting it:
You are exactly where you want to be.
If you are honest with yourself, and as I said, it truly is a prerequisite for this advice to work, then you will either accept that you are exactly where you want to be or you will change your life so that you get there, stop doing things that you know aren’t going to bring you to where you want to be.
Example: you study a certain subject, but you feel the whole time like that particular subject isn’t at all what you want to do, or you feel that studying in general isn’t what you want to do and that it won’t get you where you want to be. What you do, naturally, is you stop studying that subject.
But… What if you have a family to feed, and they rely on you obtaining a degree and then a job and then money? What if what you’re studying could prove to be useful in the future, even though you do not wish to dedicate yourself to it all the time?
As I wrote in the last post, this is a conflict of motivations, and you solve it through being honest with yourself and deciding a certain course of action. Is feeding your family more important to you than leading a fulfilling life? Is feeding your family possible if you do something more fulfilling? Is the problem of feeding your family a false one, i.e. can they actually rely on themselves and the task imposed on you is actually an illusion? These questions, alongside many more require honesty to be answered, and you must answer them.
You must decide and give weight to your decisions.
If you decide that you’ll continue on pursuing that college degree because of you need to feed your family, and if you truly investigated other options, and none are available, then that is your decision, and your decision alone. If you feel like you’re being forced into it, do not, because you’re not forced into it. You can always decide something else, but you won’t: maybe because of moral obligations, or love. Some people would have other options available. Some people wouldn’t have to make that decision. Some people have it easy all the time. “I wish I was one of those people”.
This kind of thinking leads only to frustration and rarely helps you towards your goals.
If you have no legs, it is completely unnecessary to fantasize about having legs. If you have no money, it is completely unnecessary to fantasize about having money. So on and so on. Fantasizing about things you do not have will not lead you to have them. Objective appraisal of your situation, a firm decision between conflicting options, a coldly rational plan of action – these things actually will get you towards your goals, and maybe solve the problem you were ruminating on. Maybe you’ll invent a revolutionary type of bionic prosthetic limb and then you’ll have legs. Maybe you’ll create a brilliant start-up and have money. You most certainly will not do that if you only fantasize of having something you believe “you deserve to have”.
So what do you do with your college degree, with your studying? I don’t know, but I know you must decide and stick to that decision and NOT BE BITTER ABOUT HAVING TO CHOOSE IT.
This is what you were given, this is what you get, some people get more, some people get less. Learn to deal with it and make the most use of it. That way, the idea that “You are exactly where you want to be” becomes something else, something even more revolutionary…
You are right now in the perfect position to create the rest of your life.
Whatever misfortune life has brought to you, look at it as limits to a game. Some people play easy arcade games with their lives, and some people play really difficult puzzles, and whoever you might be, you’re in the perfect position right now (as in AT THIS VERY MOMENT) to make use of it – and create the rest of your life.