If you’re new to running and try to run a marathon, it’s unlikely that you will have the stamina and strength to complete it.
Better to make sure you can run a mile (or less) first.
If you’re trying to develop new software, it’s unlikely that integrating a million intriguing features are going to culminate into a cohesive product.
Better to start with a handful of features that achieve the core functionality you’re aiming to provide (minimum viable product).
When you’re excited about the work, the prospect of taking one giant leap after another towards your goals can feel exciting.
It’s easy to think of effort in terms of its immediate implications:
Oh that’s going to take me a day.
I can do that in 5 minutes.
That’ll take months.
But that’s not’s really the best way to gauge effort.
Consider this example:
If you forego the process of editing & refining you could probably piece together a newsletter for your customers describing an upcoming promotion in 5 minutes. …
Not every day is going to be a home run.
Not every project is going to proceed effortlessly.
Not every encounter with your family, friends, and colleagues will be delightful.
When bad days happen, when challenges arise, when contentious interactions occur, it’s easy to default to being frustrated with yourself.
When you are frustrated, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you’re human. You’re a work-and-progress like everyone else.
Moreover, remember that you can be a critic without beating yourself up.
You can resolve to learn from the challenges that come your way while being compassionate with yourself in the process.
Sometimes things go well; sometimes they don’t.
Some days you will make great progress on your projects; other days you will run into one frustrating roadblock after another.
Some days you will be bursting with joy & energy; other days you will feel exhausted.
Some days you will have the best interactions with other people; other days you will be caught up in heated disagreements.
Welcome to being human.
When you encounter a day filled with overwhelming adversity and challenge, it can helpful to turn to courage — not the reckless kind where you do or say things that you…
Very few things, short of a building literally being on fire, require your immediate attention.
Despite this, it can be easy to fall into the trap of false urgency — seeing every e-mail, every meeting, every item on your task list as a matter of life and death.
When you view work this way, your entire day can feel like one exhausting game of Whac-A-Mole.
If you think you’re having one of these days, here’s an approach that might be able to help you reframe things for your benefit:
Try new things.
Visit a city you’ve never been to.
Take a different route to work.
Learn a new language.
Not because you necessarily have to. We rarely have to try new things.
But because you can.
Because you’re curious.
Because you’re capable of changing and thriving.
Because trying new things enables you to learn and enrich your understanding of the world you’re in.
You do not need to reserve change-making for those moments in time where circumstances necessitate change.
The invitation to change is available to you anytime you’re curious to understand what else life might have…
Murphy’s law is a popular adage that states that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
It’s important to minimize risk, but even the lowest-risk options are susceptible to failure.
When things go according to plan, celebrate.
When things don’t go according to plan, learn.
Don’t fall into the trap of despair; remember: even the safest options sometimes fail.
It’s possible to direct your focus towards the well-being of others, and in doing so cultivating a sense of fulfillment and happiness for yourself.
This isn’t some woo-woo, new-agey take on life. This idea also passes the sniff test in the academic realm as well (here’s a great article with links to research papers: https://theconversation.com/five-reasons-why-being-kind-makes-you-feel-good-according-to-science-92459)
So what are you waiting for?
In life, in your relationships, at work, when you’re with customers: resolve to be kind, to make others happy, and to become happier yourself.
It’s a positive sum game where everyone’s life can be made fuller and more joyful in the process.
The only way to close the distance between where you are and the goals you have set, is to make a call on what actions you will take to propel you forward.
To prevent overthinking and over-worrying about the process of making a call, try to remember the following:
Don’t worry about not having all the information you need — it’s rare to have 100% of the information you need to make important decisions in life.
Don’t worry about making the wrong call — if your actions don’t pan out the way you expect, then you’ll at least have learned…
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
Routines can be great — they provide order & sanity to our lives.
On the other hand, because routines do such a good job of keeping our lives in order they also inadvertently discourage the exploration of other ways of navigating life and work.
Breaking routine — trying to do things differently — presents an inherent risk.
What if the grass isn’t greener on the other side?
What if things get harder?
What if I don’t like what I see?