It’s that queasy time of year again: October.
You literally don’t know what to do or how to measure your productivity (at least, this is the case for me).
Seriously, I feel as though I’m constantly wondering through this month in a confused state; I feel like those pensioners that get lost in Dischem and need immediate assistance; coffee seems to be the go-to drug to get me out of bed; my days are more fragmented than a 90’s computer and I feel like I have no clue where my life trajectory is, or should be, heading.
Am I the only one?
The antidote to these chaotic times is reflection. I’m currently indulging in Ray Dalio’s 500 page bible — Principles. He explained how Pain + Reflection = Progress. I like that formula.
If I reflect back on the whirlwind year I’ve had, it is beyond me how I got here. Trying to connect the dots is hard. If I attempt to, I actually could not be happier. One of the secrets to my unintentional happiness is the first of my Learnings from 2018:
Don’t Try Too Hard
Trying hard will only make you depressed and unhappy. I don’t mean sit around like a twat and smoke all day. What I have come to understand is trying too hard is a sign that your priorities are out of sync. I read a quote from Tribe of Mentors (by Tim Ferriss):
“The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.”
If you watch any great individual — could be sports, academics or TED talks with 10 million views — a flawless aura about them emerges and fluidity becomes second nature. In order to be fluid, you have to be calm. In order to be calm, you have to be cool. In order to be…ok you get the point.
At one stage last year (2017) I was trying too hard at too many things (see above diagram for illustration).
I was not necessarily doing bad at anything, but I was not doing well either. I was a pro non-essentialist. Trying to be a perfect “biohacker,” drinking buddy, college student and CrossFitter — I ended up digging myself into a dark hole because I had no release. This brings me to my next point:
Eliminate the Non-essentials
You can do anything you want to do, just not everything.
Reading Essentialism by Greg Mckweon has literally (non-white girl ‘literally’) changed my life. At least once per year I read a book that has a profound impact on my internal paradigm and Essentialism did exactly that.
Greg’s book is not some minimalist cult that wants you to use single-ply toilet paper as a blanket and commute to work on a unicycle— his book is about stripping the external baggage from your life: i.e the activities, objects or people that distract you, so you can make room for relentless productivity. Since applying (even to a lesser extent for now) his approach to thinking about productivity/life, I have seen a clear difference in my happiness. After all, happiness is the goal (but it should never be the target). Speaking of happiness:
Don’t Rely On Other People For Your Happiness
I naturally crave the attention and validation from people. It’s a trait that I’ve had my entire life. Something that recently confirmed this was 16personalities.com. This eye-opening personality test which you can find here, confirmed that I’m a “campaigner.” It was shockingly accurate. Due to my inherent need for approval, I tend to rely on others for my happiness.
Relying on others in general for that matter will only lead you down a dark hole of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations. Instead, expect the worse case scenario and don’t hold people in a high light. Do what you want and only say yes to the things you want to do. I would often find myself fulfilling requests based on other people's agendas instead of my own.
Bottom line: be your true authentic self and you will not have to encounter the problems I had to deal with. I’m thankful, because this year has been filled with growth.
If you need to talk, you can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org — you can also book a free 30-min consultation call with me if you are interested to be coached. I am a certified Human Potential Coach and taking on clients.
Have a great week,
Until I see you again, I remain;