I write often about motivation, the fleetingness of life, and how to become a better person in mind, body and spirit. When I read a quote like the one above, I think the same ideas and I’m urged to get it down on paper so that I can share it with others and hopefully help them in some way.
They say writers write because to not write is painful. I agree.
The problem is, it becomes difficult to write often and not feel redundant. I often feel like I’m repeating myself over and over when I write on similar subjects.
And this is my conundrum: What can I say that is new to both you and me yet will still provide the intended effect?
Of course, I could just take the safe route and get you motivated the “standard” way. Nah, I don’t want to do that. I want to make it new for both of us (selfish, I know).
Let’s try a little thought experiment that will hopefully kickstart something for the each of us: Think back to a time in your life when you improved something.
What was it like? Did it take a long time and mountains of struggle to make the change? Or did it come relatively easy? Now, think about what your motivation was like leading up to the change. Were you forced to change by an outside pressure or did it come from your own will because you were “fed up” with the way things were?
For each of us, the answers to these questions will be different. Change never comes the same way for any of us. Because of this (and since you aren’t going to actually share your story with me—unless you want to), I’m going to give you some advice on the retrospective process in general so you can add this tool to your developmental toolkit.
- Grab a pen and paper or open a word doc.
- Start writing some notes as you brainstorm the questions above—and anything else that comes to mind—about your experience the last time you made a major change in your life.
- How long did the process take?
- How difficult was it on a scale of 1-10?
- At the time, was change uncommon for you or did it come easy?
- Did you make progress then regress soon after? Was it a two steps forward, one step back type of process?
- Have you made more changes in your life since then?
- Does change now come more easily to you or is it still about the same?
No one can hold your hand through a process like this. You have to put in the work to pull out the reward. If you want change, if you want control, if you want a better life, you have to work for it. You have to reflect and learn through the process.
My advice for you today is to put in some work thinking about your life, your past and where you are going for your future. This reminds me of another quote by another thinker:
“An unexamined life is not worth living.” –Socrates
Einstein suggests you should keep moving to keep your balance while Socrates suggests your life isn’t even worth living if you haven’t taken the time to “examine” it.
What do these two quotes have in common? This:
To move, you need direction. To obtain direction you must examine where you have been and where you are going (you need a plan).
Chart a course—through examination, thought, retrospection—and start peddling in that direction without stopping for fear of falling off the bike. Then, as you are peddling, correct your course with the subtle steering of the handle bars (back to examination).
Maybe I’m mixing my metaphors here? That’s ok. In fact, I prefer it. This way you’ll be forced to think a bit harder and it will leave a stronger memory imprint on your brain.
Proper writing “rules” say a writer should always reiterate his main points towards the end of a piece. Nope, I ain’t gonna do that. You know what I’m getting at. You know you should spend time thinking about your past so you can better improve your future. You also know (or should) that anything worth having takes effort. You know all this stuff. All that’s left is doing something about it.
Spend time thinking about your life.
That’s all for today.
Have a great week filled with fitness, food, friends and family. Don’t sweat the small shit like the barista getting your coffee wrong or the guy in the Hummer cutting you off in traffic. None of that shit matters… ever. Stress is just a figment of your imagination from you thinking life should be different from what it actually is. (Hint: change your perception and life changes with it.)
Lately, I’ve been using a powerful tool that I came across accidentally about a month ago. This simple question can help you change your perception of the bad situations in life. The next time something doesn’t go your way and you are worked up, stressed out, or otherwise engaged in negative energy in some capacity, ask yourself this question:
“At the end of my life, when I look back, is this what I want my life to be made of? Is this how I want to remember it? Is this how I want to spend my time?”
(Insert your own condensed version of the lines above, but you get the point.)
I’ve been using this question when having to deal with a mountain of drama in my life and business in the past couple months. It’s really powerful.