For the past few weeks or so I’ve been swinging between being productive and not getting anything done.
I’ve developed myself into a thriving person, but I too, have my faults.
While I was thinking about how I was feeling during these periods of laziness as well as being productive, I came to the conclusion that I’ve come to many times before:
Laziness makes me feel like shit, getting things done makes me feel like a superman.
Unfortunately, being a superman is sometimes incredibly demanding.
You are a shitty software
We are programmed to be lazy. When we have a chance to be lazy at any given moment, there’s a good chance that we’ll take it.
This wasn’t a problem back when people had to preserve energy for fulfilling their basic needs on daily basis.
Today, it’s a huge problem. In worst cases some of us may have an opportunity for months of lazying around.
It will feel good for a while – until reality kicks in.
The reality is, if you don’t keep yourself active, if you don’t do things that may feel uncomfortable momentarily (but you know are ultimately ‘good’ for you), you’ll start to feel miserable.
It may not happen instantly, but it will happen. It has always happened to me when I gone into relax-mode for longer than a few days.
I see a lot of people people experiencing the same thing around me, but they don’t seem to be aware of what’s really causing their apathy (brain can get really creative with finding causes for it)
The worst thing is that it will feel like nothing helps and your mind spins around how impossible everything feels.
Even if you know deep in your heart that you just need to become more active, you just can’t transfer that knowledge from your brains to your body. You keep staying still.
Your brain simply can’t understand how it changes how you feel. It tries to, but it fails everytime.
Everyone has been lying to you
So, what really makes you get out of this incredible devious loop that has the potential to destroy your whole life?
If there would be a magic pill, some piece of advice that would be guaranteed to make you more motivated to change your current state of mind, it would be common knowledge already.
Sure a lot of people claim to have it, but they’ll only sell that information for over $200.
There isn’t a “secret” that will make you magically make you chase after success without any effort. Sometimes you may become motivated, but you may be aware that it has never worked in the long-term.
The epiphanies that I’m about to tell you is the blueprint that I’ve used every time when I’ve made a big change to better in my life (even unconsciously).
I can’t guarantee anything, because I know that this doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, I’m certain that this doesn’t work for majority of people.
The gap between being lazy from day to day and being active can be easily compared to the width of Grand Canyon measured from its widest point.
Somehow you have to leap over that gap.
As you can imagine, it can’t be done with a half-assed attempt.
You might have some fears about it.
You might be just comfortable enough on the other side.
After all, you don’t have to even try to jump over if you don’t want to.
You need to have two epiphanies to make that jump.
Epiphany of desire
The reason why I say epiphany is because at some point a ‘light bulb’ has to pop above your head. The lightbulb expresses the realization that you’ll have to start doing something to fulfill the desire that you may have.
This realization isn’t just “yeah I’ll get on it tomorrow” kind of realization, but kind that makes you go after it with relentless vigour.
Desire isn’t something that you just “day-dream” about or something that you just “want”.
Everyone wants to get up early in the morning, but when the alarm clock finally beeps, the couldn’t give less shit about what they wanted last night.
Desire is kind of like motivation, but it has one inherent difference. Motivation makes things feel easy and effortless as long as you have it, but after it wears off.. you are fucked.
Desire doesn’t necessarily make something feel fun. In fact, the effort that you put in and the work that you do may in fact feel terrible.
Desire makes the pain into something bearable. It makes you disillusioned to the fact that life isn’t supposed to be all fun and games. (That would be boring anyways – trust me, I know)
It makes you make the hard choices in your life. The choices that you’ll thank yourself for years to come.
In my experience there is one ultimate condition to getting that kind of force in your life: The unbearability of your current situation
I must say though that you don’t have to be in extreme situation in your life to feel this way. You’ll just have to feel like you are disappointed in yourself and realize that you are not getting anywhere.
When it comes to depressed person, there may be so much ‘other’ baggage that essentially disables this source of power. If that’s the case for you, go here.
The power generated by this feeling brings us to the second epiphany:
The epiphany of momentum
Desire is what starts your engine and keeps it warm for a while.
However, idling motor doesn’t do you any good by itself.
You have to get in, press the gas pedal to get somewhere in life.
When the vehicle goes forward, you gain momentum – in other words, when you are moving, you need less power to keep yourself moving than if you were staying still.
And when it becomes a habit, it’s like having a cruice control. There will still be traffic lights etc. though where you need to stop momentarily.
Everyone is at least unconsciously aware of momentum in their lives, but unless they have had this epiphany, they necessarily can’t summon willpower to keep it up much longer.
They are searching and waiting for motivation to become active once again. They don’t understand that in long-term, momentum is intrinsic part of motivation.
Motivation leads to momentum, but momentum also leads to motivation. Guess which one is more reliable?
When people feel that they are not going anywhere, they may sometimes give up and shut down the vehicle.
Even though it may not feel like it at the time, going inside and pressing the pedal is almost always the correct course of action.
In practice this means that you’ll have to go through the same battle every day. You will feel clueless, you will feel like you are not having any progress.
You will never lock-in to some “mode” where you don’t have to put any effort to upkeep momentum in your life.
This is why life is hard for everyone. Even the guy who has “everything” has to deal with this problem every day.
So how do some people deal with it every single day? Something has to go ‘click’ in your head (hence the epiphany).
When you feel like working feels hard and you are getting thoughts of checking facebook or something equally distractive, something has to interrupt that train of thought in your head, make you do a few push-ups and come back to working.
The thing is, everytime you succumb to that short-term desire, you are peeing in your own gas tank. How well does you engine run after doing that, huh?
By pressing the gas pedal on daily basis, you are also constantly igniting that sense of desire again and again – maybe not as strongly as before, but strong enough for you to notice.
You may notice that it’s not necessarily the same kind of feeling that initially got you started.
When before it was directed towards the “outcome”, it may now be directed to something related to your current process.
You start to awaken the love for the journey.
Some days it will feel like it isn’t there and sometimes you have to do something differently, like add some oil to the engine.
Even though there will be variation on how the engine runs on daily basis, you’ll never want to stop pressing the gas pedal.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pleasure yourself with any kind of breaks: when you strain the engine too much for too long, the risk of damage is increased.
Let it rest once in a while, but never let it shut down – unless it’s been strained long enough so that it’s time to do a big repair on it.
Even then, you’ll have to be sure that you can pay the price to fix it and start it again after it’s done.
What comes after all this?
Desire is what gets you started, momentum is what keeps you going.. And then you just die?
Well, yes and no.
You start the journey with destination (desire) in mind.
At some point you will notice that the desire is only peripherally in your vision and sometimes not at all.
You will notice that you get pleasure and fulfillment from doing – from expressing yourself to the world and once in a while getting something back from it.
Initially, almost everyone sets out to get rich or famous (or something similar), but how many of those who have achieved those things stop “doing”?
Why do actors such as Tom Hanks with 2 oscars, over hundred wins & nominations and net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars still has several movies in the pipeline?
Why does Warren Buffett still keeps doing his daily routine even when his net worth is almost 60 billion?
They aren’t even outliers – they are the norm in business.
Sure they take vacations and have some time to relax, but what I’ve seen, they are still working HARD.
While I’m writing this, Tom Hanks is producing 5 movies: 3 movies announced, 1 in pre-production and 1 in filming.
They don’t care about ‘desire’ anymore and fame has only became an object that they are peripherally aware of.
The only thing that they have left is the only thing that can keep them engaged in their lives: The process – the epiphany of momentum.