Want to totally change your life in just one day with one little tip? Too bad, because that's not how it works.
Once in a while a small thing does totally change our lives. Someone happens to say something to us at just the right time and it impacts us forever. Other times we gradually make a change but we point to one moment as the moment it "happened".
It's great that these things do happen sometimes and there's nothing wrong with trying to spark them, but at the same time it's important to recognize that most lasting powerful change comes from slow and persistent work on hard things.
I'm naturally not a very hard worker. So I tried different quick fixes to become a harder worker, but I'd always regress back to procrastinating and not working very hard.
Then I spent a few years focusing on hard work. I didn't try to become a hard worker overnight, I just tried to slowly become better. I built routines, read books, measured my performance, etc. It took two or three years, but eventually I became a hard worker.
When I look at any of the things I'm most proud of achieving, they all took a really long time. The way you generate the illusion of progress is by making some small change that will vanish after a short amount of time. The way you make real progress is by chipping away at things that are important to you, one small piece at a time.
The real danger is that if you always look for quick fixes, you spend your whole life taking one step forward and then one step back. You start to panic because you haven't made much progress, so you search again for another quick fix. It's a vicious cycle.
Unless the long route is certainly going to be too long to reach an important deadline, it's almost certainly best to take it. It's frustrating at first, but it's usually the way you actually lock in the results. Don't learn to program in 7 days, learn in a year. Don't lose twenty pounds in twenty days, lose it in six months. Look for shortcuts and efficient ways to operate, but don't skip the hard work when it needs to be done.
Photo is some cool bark from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I really like the fragrance garden there.
Sorry this post is so late this week. Didn't feel like writing and was visiting friends and family.
I used to dislike to work. I saw how most people lived their lives, slogging through work that they hated, and I was determined not to fall into that trap. I made the mistake of generalizing, lumping all work together in the same bucket.
Since then, things have changed. In terms of monumental personal life changes, becoming a hard worker is the most recent one I've undergone. About a year ago, for reasons I touched on in this post, I decided that it was imperative for me to become a hard worker. I didn't do it because I had suddenly fallen in love with work, but rather because I had began to feel as though I was behind. And believe me, it wasn't love at first sight.
To fall in love with hard work, you must understand why it's necessary. When I was young I was told that sugar was bad, but I never understood exactly why it was bad, so I kept eating it. Only when I learned how it chemically affected my body did I finally give it up. The same is true of work-- if you don't know why you have to work hard and love it, you'll probably never actually do it.
Work is your gift to the world. That sounds corny, but it's true. And believe me, you owe the world a gift or two. Think of all of the various things that millions of people around the world have done for you to enjoy the life you have. They made up languages, invented stuff, procreated at the exact right times to create your ancestry, and managed to not kill each other in the process. We're lucky to be here, and the high standard of living we all enjoy now is only because of those who came before us. Some, like Einstein, had huge impact, but even people you don't notice, like the janitors, are making your life better.
September 11th, 2012. Taipei, Taiwan. Dante Coffee in Guting. 8:34AM
My inbox. Oh, I don't really like that subject line. Well, click it --
I hate to push back yet again, but I can hardly get anything done right now. Let me finish UI + client project first.
Also, my concentration is complete shit. This money thing still fucks me up.
And then, epiphany strikes, the lights come on, the darkness recedes, and all is clear.