Life would be grand if we only did what our fleeting hearts wanted to do, each moment of the day.
Unfortunately, the laundry, taxes and difficult conversations would never get done. The best books would never be written. All the achievements of humankind would be imagined, not realized.
So what should we do if we’re facing a task we don’t want to do? Well, we can run, and find distraction. That usually works, until it causes problems. Or we can find a way to get crap done.
Here’s how to get crap done.
Meditate on why you need to do this. Instead of giving in to distraction, sit there for a minute. Why do you need to do this task you don’t want to do? Sure, because it’s on your todo list, or because someone else wants you to do it. Or you’re getting paid for it, or someone’s got to do it. But why? What will this task help accomplish? Who is it helping? Dig deeper and find the good that you’re creating in the world. If you’re a dishwasher, you might not think getting dirty dishes clean matters, but those dishes are required to serve food, and the food nourishes people and it can make them happy and then they can go out and do something good in the world with a smile on their face. So connect the dishes to the good.
Meditate on your fear. The thing that’s stopping you from doing the task, or wanting to do it, is fear. You fear failure or looking bad, you fear the discomfort or confusion of the task. So take a moment to look inward and see this fear. Feel it. Accept it as part of you, instead of running from it.
Let go of your ideal. If this fear were gone, you could just do the task easily. So what is causing the fear? Some ideal you have, some fantasy about life being free of discomfort, confusion, embarrassment, imperfection. That’s not reality, just fantasy, and it’s getting in your way by causing fear. So let go of the fantasy, the ideal, the expectation. And just embrace reality: this task before you, nothing else.
Intention, not results. You are caught up with the results of the task — what will happen if you do it, what failure might result. So forget about the result — you can’t know what it will be anyway. That’s in the future. For now, focus on your intention: why are you doing it? If it’s to make the life of a loved one better, then that’s your intention. That intention is true no matter what the result is. Focus on this, not what bad things might or might not happen.
Embrace the suck. Doing something hard sucks. It’s not easy, and often you’re confused about how to do it because you haven’t done it much before. So what? Hard things suck, but life isn’t always peaches with roses on top (and a sprinkle of cinnamon). It sucks sometimes, and that’s perfectly fine. Embrace all of life, thorns and pits and all. Life would be boring without the suck. So smile, embrace the suck, and get moving.
Give yourself constraints. We tend to rebel against restraints: “I don’t want to do this! I want freedom!” Well, unfortunately, having unlimited freedom means unlimited choices, unlimited distractions, and nothing gets done. Simplify by putting restraints on yourself: do only one task at a time. Do just this one task for now. Do it for 10 minutes. Forbid yourself from going to any other websites or checking anything on your phone or doing anything else that you like to do for distraction, until you do those 10 minutes. Ask a friend to hold you accountable — another restraint that often helps.
Do a little, then get up. If you have to write something, just write a sentence. Then get up, get some water, stretch. Pat yourself on the back for getting started! Now do a little more: write a few more sentences. Get up, take a mental break (don’t go to another website), do a few pushups. Go back, do a bit more. Pretty soon, you’re in the flow of it.
Don’t let your mind run. Your mind will want to run. That’s OK, that’s the nature of minds. They are scared, and they will rationalize going to distraction, going to what’s easy. Watch this happen, don’t try to stop the phenomena, but don’t give it anywhere to run to. Watch the mind want to run, but don’t act. Just watch. It will eventually calm down.
Find gratitude. This task might seem hard or sucky, but actually there are a lot of great things about it. For example, if you’re doing it for work, hey, you have a job! You have money to buy food and shelter! You have eyes and ears and a mind to do this task! Imagine life without all these things, and then try feeling sorry for yourself for having to do something so hard. Or, instead, try being grateful for the opportunity to do some good in the world, to learn from this task, to get better, to be mindful as you do it.
Learn and grow. By meditating on your intentions and fear, by letting go of ideals and embracing the suck, by giving yourself constraints and finding gratitude … you’re learning about yourself. This task, as mundane or scary as it might seem, is teaching you about your mind. That’s a wonderful thing. So this task is a huge learning opportunity. What a wonderful way to spend your time!
Everyone else has the same failures you have: procrastination, selfishness, jealousy, insecurity, not being happy with ourselves, not being disciplined, being afraid and shying away from the difficult and terrifying.
You are not alone.
You are not worse.
You are human.
We are connected!
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1. Make friends as opposed to networking.
Your friends will go a lot further than the professional contacts you make, especially since only one of the two groups is invested in your personal happiness.
2. Become an expert by learning as much as you can and deeply seeking out the things you are curious about.
Find the things you enjoy and practice the skills you want to develop. If you can achieve expertise then it will be easy to obtain an audience.
3. Volunteer to help out those less fortunate.
In the process you will gain a ton of new perspective and will better understand other people’s real problems. In a society that always looks upward, these people are being forgotten easily.
4. Become as independent as possible.
Even though you work in a big company, you should constantly make small steps to reduce your dependence on your job. Write a book, build an app, or start a small business on the side. Release your inner entrepreneur.
5. Don’t spend too much time worrying about your personal brand.
Accomplish things, and the recognition will follow.
6. Stop treating life as a competition and do things for their own sake.
Genuine interest should be what drives you to improve yourself, rather than a desire to beat others. Find a community of people who are interested in the same things as you do, and drive each other to keep improving.
If you need a little sparkle in your life, ask yourself these: 31 Questions That Will Change Your Life
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Let’s look back all these years you’ve gone through, what have you done for your life? Are you spending your time wisely to make your life worthwhile? Neal Wu shared some ways we should do to make our short time of life meaningful on Quora, find out what you need to do next:
We all suffer, every day: worry, procrastination, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, irritated, angry, frustrated, wishing things were different, comparing ourselves to others, worried we’re missing out, wishing other people would be different, feeling offended, loneliness, fear of failure, not wanting to do something, wishing we had less fat or bigger boobs or bigger muscles, angry at being controlled, wanting to find the perfect someone, wishing our partner was more perfect, stressed about finances, not wanting to think about problems, not knowing how to fix things, uncertain about choices, rushing from one task to the next, not liking our jobs.
And yet, these problems are self-created.
They’re real, but our tricky minds have created them. The problems are in our heads, created by some ideal/fantasy/expectation of how we wished the world would be, or hope it will be but fear it won’t be. It exists in our heads.
Try this, for a minute: let all of that go for a moment, and just pay attention to the physical things around you right now. Your body, the light, sounds, the thing you’re sitting on, the things moving or sitting still around you. Don’t judge them against what they should be, but just observe what they actually are.
See this moment as it is, without all the things you’re worried/frustrated/angry about. Let go of all of those things, and just see this moment.
It is perfect, as it is.
Accept this moment. Cherish it. This is real, and it is wonderful.
You can go back to worrying about everything else in a moment.
- Quoted from zenhabits
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1. Are you doing what you truly want to do?
2. How many promises you have made and how many of them you have fulfilled?
3. Will you break the rules because of something/someone you care about?
4. Is there anything you cann't let go but you know you should?
5. Do you remember anyone you hated 10 years ago? Does it matter now?
6. If you'd die now, would you have any regrests?
7. Are you afraid of making mistakes even though there is no punishments at all?
8. What is the difference between you and most of the other people?
9. Have I build my character?
10. If today'd be the end of the world, what'd you do?
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