Isn’t it so interesting, that of the people we are kind to; often ourselves is not one of them?
How often, would you say that you can look at the accomplishments of others, and revere in astonishment, and yet upon self-reflection, you appear to see nothing to remark on the path behind you?
Even when others praise your accomplishments – or perhaps even simply your character – still there is a fog of doubt which seems to rarely clear. And so although you have done so many things, and many things right, it would appear to you that you have done nothing at all.
Perhaps next time you look at the person staring at you behind the glass, you should see them as others do; without the filter of you.
It’s the small details, that are by far the most important.
I sit in work, the room is dark for the light hurts the eyes of some other co-workers. I enjoy listening to them jokingly bicker and banter with one another, but now they leave to grab some lunch. The sounds of their voices drift into the background and beyond the door.
And so I sit, with my favourite meal for lunch. On my lap I have Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck, and with no one but myself left in the office, I play some soft music from my Spotify.
I know this will only last for a few moments. If I’m lucky I’ll have fifteen minutes.
But what a fifteen minutes it will be. When I look back on the day, no matter what happens, I will look upon the small details, which are by far the most important. And when I look upon them and judge, I will say with a gentle sigh,
“Today has been a good day.”
If it takes five minutes, do it right now. You’re putting it off, and in thirty minutes you’ll put it off again, and after thirty more times of putting it off by thirty minutes, it’s time for bed and ultimately your objective is failed. But don’t worry, you’ll do it tomorrow. Procrastinate, I mean.
It’s one of the worst, most stressful feelings to procrastinate, because you become more aware of time than ever, and most importantly the sheer lack of it. You’re not a bad person for procrastinating. We work more now than any other time in our recorded history. Even those who were of pure hard labour were given more time off to mend. We have more obligations, commitments, and deadlines than ever before. You’re consistently told you should do more, and for less. By the time you’re twenty, your job requires twenty years experience. By the time you’re forty, they’ll want someone who’s twenty. From the day you are born, you are being shaped to work, and the entry requirements now are astonishing. So you’re not a bad person for feeling like you require more time, less effort. It’s okay to feel that for a day you wish to do absolutely nothing. Time wasted, is not necessarily wasted time. As long as you need it to be.
That is why there are those who say “Work a job that you love and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life”, for if you can practice and hone your hobby and it is classed as working to some, then bingo. But unfortunately that process can’t be forced. You have to be one of the lucky ones and hope that your hobby does not become work for you.
During the great depression, Bertrand Russell proposed the idea of the four hour working day to combat this from happening. Think about it, instead of the main focus of your life being to serve your workload, your boss at work, the main focus of the day would be your hobby, the things you actually care about, rather than those things you have to pretend you care about. When you get to the end of your life, you might actually have done that one thing that you “always wanted to do”, purely because you had a reasonable time frame in which to do it in. Whether what Russell proposed would work in practice rather than theory, whether I agree with him to any degree or not, it’s an interesting thought. That we have lived our lives, since the beginning of human lives, dedicated to working. That one paradigm has never changed.
And the frustrating thing about working all of our lives, to achieve greater things, is that no matter how much we work – it will never be completed. There is no limit to us, no limit to life. There is no end goal. We will always need more food, more water, a greater thirst for knowledge, more money to trade, more deals to be made.
No wonder it gets tiring.
If you find you are procrastinating, but you are not lazy, then perhaps you are simply over working yourself and deserve a break. Maybe, the next time you convince yourself to work because you should be, and find that you can’t get anything done, you should take a break. Take time for yourself. To explore yourself, and what it is that you need to wind down.
Otherwise, ultimately you’re achieving nothing of use in your work. You would work more efficiently with a rested mind than you would with a tired one. Waste your time, in whatever way you need to. Time wasted, is not wasted time.
Just ensure that when you actively choose laziness over rest, you must ask yourself a few simple questions, “Should I be doing this?”, “Does it take a couple minutes?”, “Will I be much happier relaxing if I know that it is done?” and finally, “CAN it wait?”. If the answer to two of the first three is yes, then do it. Equally if the answer to the last question is no, just do it. Don’t be mad at yourself for procrastinating, but understand that there IS a time and a place for it.
To procrastinate means you are human, and an overworked one at that. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that you can’t procrastinate every now and then. But the secret to never procrastinating again, the true secret of it all, is – … I’ll get to that tomorrow.
If you haven’t watched or listened to Alan Watts, I would recommend that you do.
A thought that spawned this article.
What is it that you spend all night dreaming about? If money were no object – what would you like to do with your life?
I know people, in their early twenties, who have no idea what they want to do with their lives and assume that this means they will one day be a failure. They spend hours a night worrying about this. I know people, in their forties, who have not yet discovered what they want to do with their lives, and assume they ARE a failure. They too lose sleep.
At any age they want the big house, the gorgeous spouse, the sports cars, the money falling out of their pockets never to be picked up from the ground – they want these things assuming that this quantifies success in their life.
But there is a rude awakening for those who do not tear themselves from this kind of thinking. I would rather be a “failure” at twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty and beyond, than be in a job that I don’t like, lying next to a woman I do not love, in a house that is not a home, with friends whom I do not adore.
Because at that point you are revering a kind of thought that should be cast from your mind never to be heard from again. You are reverent, of purposelessness. That idea that while your running forward as fast as you can, your staying still. You’re running on a treadmill and nothing more. You can show someone the numbers, how long and how far you’ve run and they might humour you and move on – but you can’t turn around and show them how far you’ve come.
You can point to your shrinking belly, and tell them you’ve lost an inch on your waistline, but what for? What is the point, if it doesn’t make you happy?
Let’s suppose you enjoy painting, and will lose yourself to that most wonderful state of flow, where you forget that you are hungry, or that you are tired, because these things have ceased to matter to you. They are irrelevant, because you are happy doing that you are doing. You do not need to check your waistline any more. And let’s continue this thought by saying that, you enjoy painting, yet you have found yourself working in a telemarketing company where you cold call all day and night, to the point you are exhausted, so you go home to sleep, to wake up the next day and repeat the process.
You’ve forgot your easel when you walk through the door to the bedroom.
If you change the job title from telemarketer, to investee, to banker, to CEO – what does it matter if you’re paintbrush is never touched? Your paintbrush is purposeless.
You’re often told to put down the paintbrush by someone who points our your flaws, the things you do not have, or the ways in which they deem themselves to be better or more successful than you. But you should never concern yourself with these people. For people who are not happy for you, are most likely not happy for themselves. These people are living these lives, living and working with things and people they do not love, and will continue to do so until they die. These are not the people you want to associate with, or imitate – so it is okay that they disagree with you. In fact it is encouraging.
When you meet someone who tells you your dreams are stupid or a waste of your time, tell them it is better to have a dream than to have stopped dreaming.
If money is your barometer for success, you will always be unsuccessful, for someone will have more money than you. And you will compare to that person, and comparison is the enemy of joy. And so you will cease to be joyful.
To live your life will be a wonderful adventure, you must only commit to it that which comes natural to you. And if you do what you love, although you will face adversity and a harshness you have not yet known – the money will come. You will survive. You will continue to exist in a way that you love, rather than by a measure that you do not.
It’s isn’t difficult, existing. It isn’t rocket science.
Unless that which you are purposeful about, is rocket science.
P.s. The most interesting people I know, didn’t know in their forties what they wanted to do with their lives.
Advice on how to get into that job you love, here:
HOW TO GET A JOB IN THREE EASY STEPS
Step 1 – Hone your craft.
You don’t have to be the best at it, you just have to hone it, to know that you can do it with a relative degree of certainty. You’re certainly going to be able to improve at it over time, you just don’t want to break down with pressure on the day. Try to learn something unique or do something using a method no one else does or is hard to do.
Remember that the harder something is to do, the less people have done it also, and so it puts you in greater standing.
Step 2 – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
You’ve heard this used in derision, maybe the last time a job interview didn’t go so well. You heard some other candidate got the job, they were friends with interviewers late cousins friend. You come home to let people know of your disappointing day, and someone will definitely say it.
It’s not that you think you’re magnanimous, but you’re better than that guy, right? You’ll tell yourself you were way more suited for the job – but of course you weren’t.
For a long time, I thought the phrase was only to be used for consolation, but it isn’t true. It’s to be used in celebration.
What this phrase actually means, is stand out. Do something that gets you noticed. If you’re not passionate about something, you shouldn’t be doing it as your career. And so many people aren’t passionate about it so they go in blind and to a degree stand no better than mere chance at succeeding in the interview.
However, let’s say you’re passionate about cars (of which I know virtually nothing about, so great choice of example) and you want to land a job where you work with or on cars all day. Well you find there’s an opening at a car dealership, or a mechanics, and you go for the interview, it doesn’t go well for you so you sulk home and the same phrase you’ve heard a million times is uttered once more. You’ll continue with unemployment or that menial job you hate for now. NO!
If you’re passionate about cars, it’s really what you want to do? Go to a convention. A meet-up. Anything. Find out where other people are meeting with the same passions as you! How could this go wrong in any way? Take a convention for example, it would have the biggest names in cars – and sure you can try your luck there if you’re bold or have the experience – but importantly the small guys will be there. The guys who’ve paid x amount for a booth and they only return they’re looking for is interaction. Interaction with you! To know they’re time and money isn’t being wasted.
Go up and talk to someone, anyone! Rather than awkwardly making accidental eye contact and then shying away, just look right at them, nod and go forward. They’re looking for someone to talk to, and you’re someone.
Be honest. Tell them what you want, why you’re there. Most folk with the saavy to have a business or a booth somewhere can smell bull s#%t sales patter, so come at them as a human instead. The way I see it, the interaction can only go one of so many ways:
1 – They tell you that they like you, have a job opening, and offer you an interview right on the spot! (But it isn’t a regular interview, because they already know they like you)
2 – They seem interested, and give you a business card or you give them one.
(Don’t lock it away in the drawer, show you actually bothered to remember them, email them once you’re home to thank them for their time, then contact them again when you’re going in for the kill. Or they might contact you!)
3 – They say they aren’t looking for anyone right now, but they know a friend!
(Now you’re that guy who knows a who, rather than what a what!)
4 – They say they aren’t looking for anyone, they’re new to this and don’t know anyone.
(Quite unlikely at a convention, but either way, you know them now. They’re looking to improve the same way that you are, they’ll throw help your way and you’ll reciprocate! People remember gestures like that, so if they do come into a position that’s valuable to you, they’ll come to you as one of the firsts)
Not a single one of these scenarios are hurting your chances!
And you’ll feel less alone. It’s scary to know you know how to do something and want to do it, but you’re on the outer circle. People doing a worse job are getting the position first. So embrace it, be the guy someone knows.
Because the fact of the matter is, if they knew the person at the interview, a bond goes a longer way than you think, so that other person was right for the job at the time, just as you are right for it now.
And when you finally make it to the top. Return the favour. Don’t think you’ll be the person who goes for the what’s of the world, scouring the globe for unseen talent, return the favour and be kind to the ambitious, they’re the ones who want to go far, and they’ll return the faith you put into them. Loyalty goes a long way in a career.
Step 3 – Volunteer. It’s like conventions times a million.