Give it context

When we make a mistake, that immediately becomes the center of our life. Who we are. What we can achieve. How far we can go.

We should instead put the mistake at the same level of our wins and successes. If we manage to give it context, the mistake will look much less threatening. How many times did we do it right? How often are we proud of our work? How much have we achieved so far? And if we are way down into failure mode, a friend or a partner can help us get out and see.

Mistakes are inevitable, the same way as successes are.

In search of meaning

I talk about this a lot, and for as much as it is a difficult practice, it is one I am committed to.

You can have an impact today. You can give others what you want others to give you. You can show a different way. You don’t have to fall into despair if the world around you is not the way you’d like it to be. You can be present, here and now, learn, grow, and take others with you along the way.

[…] people who are preoccupied with success ask the wrong question. They ask, “What is the secret of success?” when they should be asking, “What prevents me from learning here and now?” To be overly preoccupied with the future is to be inattentive toward the present where learning and growth takes place. To walk around asking, “Am I a success or a failure?” is a silly question in the sense that the closest you can come to an answer is to say that everyone is both a success and a failure.

One way to renew an obsessive preoccupation with success is to alter the idea that the present is a means and the future is an end. The problem with this way of thinking is that, when the future comes, then it too becomes just another present that is yet another means to yet another future.

Karl Weick, How Projects Lose Meaning: The Dynamics of Renewal

P.S.: thanks to Ed Batista for this fantastic article about the topic.

More important

The moment you realize you care more about the outcome than about the process, is the moment you have to reassess how you spend your time.

If getting likes is more important than taking pictures.

If cashing the bonus is more important than the work you do.

If growing your audience is more important than writing.

If being acclaimed is more important than what you have to say.

If hitting the goal is more important than how you get to hit it.

That is the right time to look at the second half of your sentence, and honestly answer the question: “Am I enjoying that?”.

Most likely, you have mistaken a dopamine hit for actual pleasure and accomplishment.

It can happen, and you can do something about it.

Doing and vision

Doing is what anchors the vision. Vision is what lifts the doing.

Without vision, doing is pointless activity. At best, it is meeting standards, delivering on goals, complying to rules. It ends the moment it has achieve its purpose. It is static as it does not allow for growth.

Without doing, vision is but a dream. A gap that will just be filled with delusion and dissatisfaction. The continuous wondering of a restless mind. It is static as well as it does not set you out on a journey.

Doing and vision go together. Keep this in mind the next time you sit down to work on your goals.

Getting back on track

Two years ago, I committed to becoming a more active person. I had started running regularly and I had set myself the goal to run a half-marathon by the summer of 2021.

I failed.

And it’s ok. Because when you stretch your practice, some times you grow. Other times, you fail.

I have known I would have failed for some times now. So, my focus has been on two things. First, on the times I have actually went running. While you are building an habit, keep in mind the times you have actually stuck to it, and it will be more difficult to be overwhelmed by the despair for the beats you have missed. Second, on the commitment I had taken, which is still valid: I want to become a more active person.

If you do focus your attention on these two things, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to get back on track.

Let’s go.