The Art Of Being Here

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Category: The Process (page 1 of 3)

The truth about difficult times

Sometimes we like to romanticise difficult times — we like to think that it will all be worth it in the end, that somehow the pain that we’re going through is simply a step to something better. We like to celebrate failure porn, and “getting out of our comfort zones”.

But the truth is that difficult times simply suck. They’re soul-sucking mo-fos that drain every ouch of physical, mental, and emotional energy you have.

No, we don’t really know whether things will turn out in the end; and no, we don’t know if our efforts will pay off. And we might also never have enough perspective on why things turn out the way they did. We will wonder how we got there, and WTF we did to get there.

Yes, at some point in the future we might look back and “join the dots” and see what it all means, but by then we’d be so far from those miserable moments that we’ll create any story that make us feel better about them anyway.

Romanticism is beautiful in the good times, but often the only thing we can do when we’re going through difficult moments is to not make them bigger than they are, and, I think more importantly, not to try and make them smaller than they are.

Just be there, breathe, do our best, and hope it all turns out.

Who you want to be has to be who you are now

Who you want to be cannot be who you will be tomorrow.
Who you want to be has to be who you choose to be now.

You know that no one has instant control over the future.
You know that when that future time comes, you will not instantly change into that person you want to be.
You know that these things take time to develop.
You know that these things don’t develop if you don’t take action.
You know that you can only influence the present moment, nothing before and nothing after.
You know that the only the only thing that can influence the next moment, is the result of the present one, and what you do in that next moment.

So the only thing you can do is to influence the present moment the best way you can, and let our moments build into where you want to be eventually.
The only thing you can do is to be as close to that person you want to be eventually right now, so you can practice being that person, and get closer with every passing moment.

The are no guarantees for the future, but this is the only way you stand a chance.

I struggle

Every morning, when I wake up, I struggle.

Sometimes, I struggle physically. On days when my body doesn’t agree with me, when my body aches or my muscles are stiff, staying immobile in bed feels like a better proposition than getting up. Even getting out of bed and standing up feels like an ordeal.

Sometimes, I struggle mentally. When I open my eyes my mind seems surprised by my continued existence, and seems to struggle to find out what I am doing here, alive and awake. I struggle to remember all the goals and dreams that seemed so clear yesterday.

Sometimes, I struggle emotionally. I wonder why this isn’t easier, and why I don’t get a immediate burst of joy when I wake up. Why does it have to be so hard?

But I get up anyway.


The procrastinator fights back

Here’s the secret to getting things done: stop fucking around and do it.

We all waste a lot of time. Running here and there, doing small little tasks that mean little in the big picture.

Eventually the things that really matter look like this: sitting down, facing a blank screen, and hammering a piece of writing out.

Don’t believe me? Just try it.

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The bigger message in “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

I’ve always heard this poem quoted with the emphasis on the last few lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I / I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference.” — often the focus is on taking the path fewer have chosen.

Yet that misses Frost’s true message, stated so clearly in the title: “The Road Not Taken”. He is in fact talking not so much about being different, but about the recognition that the path not taken is one that we have let go off once we made our choice. In fact he expresses this idea early, in the second line: “And sorry I could not travel both”.

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Where I am today is because of what I did yesterday

Where I am today is because of what I did yesterday.

I know I can’t change today: it is what it is. So the first thing I have to do is accept it, embrace it, experience it, live it.

I will not spend a single minute ruminating about the past, lamenting inaction, regretting mistakes. None of that is of any consequence, because no power in the universe can allow me to change that.

But what I can do is decide what I want to do right now, so that I can be where I want to be tomorrow. Because where I am tomorrow will be because of what I did today.

I will not be silly about this, of course: I know results won’t happen overnight. It might not even happen the following day. Or the next, or the next.

But I know I didn’t change my diet one day and lose all that excess in a day. I didn’t decide to run a marathon yesterday and then go out and knock down 42km today.

I know for sure it will take days. Likely weeks. Possibly months. Probably years, or decades.

I know that if I don’t decide to change today, if I don’t take that small step to change that 1%, then whatever I want in life will never get closer, and I will simply live today over and over again

But if I take a small step today, if I build on that tomorrow, then maybe in time I can get there. Yes, it is not a sure thing, but then there are no sure things in life — except choosing inaction and staying where I am.

One thing I do know is this: if I take that step today, magic happens. Momentum will build, and people and situations that support my goal will appear.

Because it is the decision to do something today that changes me. And when I change, so does my ability to achieve my goal. I cannot see what I will change into. But the very act of deciding to take action will make it all possible.

So I will change today, I will take one step today, so that tomorrow will be different.

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