Well, You…No, You Gotta Do More Than That

Thoughts + Opinion

Image Source: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

 

It’s crazy for me to think how much of my time I have spent wondering what to do. I wouldn’t necessarily call it reflecting…it’s always been more of a loud, near constant panic. Trying to figure out what steps I needed to take to get out of my normal day to day life. I would read all the inspirational posts, subscribe to anyone that seemed to have it figured out and work for themselves, and pickup any book that was a victory lap for people that had made it. There would be mountains of conflicting advice to consume. Folks saying that your job can become your passion if you focus on becoming the best at it. Others saying everybody pays their dues and work hard and your time will come. And of course my personal brand of mysticism, the people recommending quit your job and just figure it out.

The sheer volume of time I have wasted obsessing over what to do and how to do it…it’s really frustrating to think about (ironically I wouldn’t be who I am in this moment without everything that has happened behind me, including this spiraling). What makes it so frustrating from my perspective now, is that the answer didn’t matter. The important thing is and always has been just doing things. The choice to act.

 

 

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”


While this advice isn’t a hidden concept, it took me a long time to appreciate and adopt. Always making one more list, needing one more piece of equipment, need one more section in a business plan – it was always time to prepare. I was prepping for a competition that was never coming. That’s the thing about breaking free of the structures we end up in, if you’re working to get out of more traditional roles and structures (such as a traditional corporate job), there is no one setting a goal post for you. There’s no markings along a path. There’s an empty road you know is there. It’s surrounded roads that have been traversed by those before you who did it, but yours is empty. You have to put the markers there yourself.

I’m not sure that you ever feel like you know what you’re doing. Those far more established than me seem to all say it takes a lot of time and consistency, and even then it never really goes away entirely. I’m hoping I get to a place where I find that out for myself. I can certainly say I feel a lot better now actively working on projects now rather than planning them. Forcing myself to share things that are half done with close friends to get feedback. Posting a random collection of thoughts out into the void. Waking up and doing it all every day instead of meticulously planning it out.

Funny enough, a random Reddit thread helped reinforce this for me. It was an askreddit post where someone was wondering how people who had become successful over time had done it. What did they attribute the core of their success and change to? The first post I read stated that he realized that all these people that were in places he aspired to be weren’t, as a collective, particularly special or unique, just that they were consistently doing the things needed to achieve the goals in their specific professions and projects. They just made sure to do it, and do it consistently.

Whenever I’m struggling with not getting enough done or don’t know what to do, I end up thinking about the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It gives me a good laugh, but it always reminds me to just start doing something. I think about the scene where Peter decides to take surfing lessons. Kunu stands in front of him while they practice on the beach on how to pop up on the board before hitting the water. “You’re doing too much. Do less. Pop down. Stop! Get down. Get down there. Remember don’t do anything. Nothing. Pop up. Well, you…no you gotta do more than that ’cause you’re just laying [there].”.

From people saying just stick with it and it’ll all work out, to people saying pull the rip cord and figure it out on your own – none of it will ever be quite right. But I know that I can’t just sit there and do nothing. I don’t want it to look like I’m boogie-boarding when I’m trying to surf. I just gotta go surfing.

See you tomorrow.
Nick

Inspirations: Thomas Jefferson, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Kind internet strangers
Quotes: Thomas Jefferson, Kunu

Read More!

On Rethinking and Challenging Convictions

Convictions are the steel I-beams of our identities. The operating system for how we perceive the world and make decisions. I don’t know enough about cars to give a vehicular example – convictions are the Johnson rods1 for people? They’re incredibly important is what I’m driving at – convictions, not

[ Read More ]

Expertise #1 | Not Quite 10,000 Hours

The most pervasive narrative that paves the road to expertise is to get our 10,000 hours in. An idea made popular by author Malcom Gladwell in Outliers. The idea being that if you spend 10,000 hours on something specific, you can become a true expert and therefore implicitly become successful

[ Read More ]

Thought Stream 4 | Teddy’s Arena

Increasing the self-determination in our lives is simple, not easy. As Earl Nightingale outlined in the 1950s during his spoken word recording The Strangest Secret, most things are tremendously simple and only require that we know what it is we want (choice) and that we then diligently pursue that desire

[ Read More ]

They Lied About The Grass

By most metrics, I have a good job. I am compensated competitively, I have an uncommon amount of autonomy and schedule flexibility, and I have very few people I report to and have to interact with. I work at a small business that is technically a start-up, which increases my

[ Read More ]