There has rarely been a day in the last two years where I haven’t thought, “Am I doing the right thing?” It’s an extremely difficult question to answer and for some reason I keep coming up with the answer “no.”
There are moments of desperation in which I think of nothing else than how I can become a better writer, speaker, and entertainer.
That’s when I try to write more, read other blogs, watch standup routines, attend improv classes, and bury my head in books in an attempt to soak up as much information as possible. Yet when I look back upon my day, week, or month, all I see are missed opportunities to take it to the next level. I fail to turn my recently gained knowledge into action. I’ll procrastinate on a regular basis; always choosing to socialize or take on some meaningless task to avoid what it is I really need to do. I find myself making excuse after excuse as to why something didn’t get done.
“Oh, I don’t want to get burnt out by overworking myself.”
There’s a big difference between getting burnt out by over thinking the situation and becoming fatigued because I actually spent energy taking action toward a goal.
This is when self doubt begins to rear its ugly head. In the process of reading other writers’ work, I begin questioning the quality of my own work. I start beating myself up over ridiculous details.
“Why can’t I type faster? I’m sure Malcolm Gladwell is a phenomenal typist.”
“Why doesn’t my work sound as professional as everyone else’s?”
“Does my grammar really suck?”
“I’m writing from the heart (most of the time), but does anyone really give a shit about what I have to say? For once in my life could I just get more than 10 legitimate comments on a single post?”
These questions and concerns bread uncertainty, which soon thereafter turns into fear. From fear stems the inability to act; immobilizing distrust in my own ability to perform what I believe I was put here to do: inspire others to experience joy and excitement in the pursuit of their biggest dreams by eliminating meaningless distractions.
I want others to know that anything truly is possible. But before that can happen I need to believe that anything truly is possible.
That just because everyone around you, including yourself at times, doubts the probability or even the reality of accomplishing your biggest dream, you can do it… I can do it.
More importantly, we can do it with ginormous smiles on our faces. It doesn’t have to be a series of painstakingly difficult tasks that consumes every ounce of our energy and every minute of our time.
When I stop for a moment and take a deep breath…
I realize I’m doing just fine. Of course there’s always room for improvement, but I have an uncanny ability to beat myself up if things aren’t perfect. If you’re anything like me, you are your hardest critic. That’s why it all boils down to reestablishing my faith in one simple principle: enjoy the journey.
Too much time is spent focusing on what I could be doing. If I feel that strongly about doing something else, then why not stop the current task and just do it?
There are those times that I experience a genuine sense joy in everything I do, everyone I meet, and everything I see, where the concept of “right or wrong” becomes obsolete. There’s no need to constantly question the path I’m going down. In the end, there are no wrong decisions, only decisions that lead us to different results. No one will ever walk the exact path they’ve laid out for themselves. There are too many variables, too many uncertainties. But it’s not about laying out the perfect path. The most successful and happy individuals I’ve ever met or read about succeed not solely on their ability to plan, but their capacity to handle the obstacles placed before them.
Forcefully powering through a road block is not always the best option. Once the destination is determined, there are infinite ways to reach it; all providing a unique experience along the way.
Some paths may lengthen as we begin to walk down them, and some may shorten. Some may take a hard left and some a subtle right. Some may throw up a barrier that appears insurmountable. But with a quick look around, there is usually another route that may even be better the original.
And how many times has the destination itself changed? Right when I think I know what I’m after, my priorities shift and the goal changes.
So be flexible. Take the good with the bad, the difficult with the easy, and the fun with the boring. In the end, if I can remember that one simple principle I’m always talking about… the destination will inevitably show up.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu
Good thing I’m no longer intent on arriving, because I’m already 30 minutes late for work. I don’t think my boss is going to find “I had to write” as a legitimate excuse for my tardiness. C’est la vie.