I don’t have anything to say.
And yet, I must blog. I must write and publish something. Because I made the commitment to. And part of the journey towards success is respecting the process, when it is easy and when it is hard. So, I will write.
And because I watched Hassan Minhaj’s Patriot Act yesterday so I’m going to call this ‘a bunch of thoughts’. That’s what this will be about – different ideas that have been lingering lately.
Like I said, I have nothing to say. I just feel quiet. In a world and culture, where we feel the need to fill every empty space with something – words, activity, sound, noise, entertainment, the willingness to stay still and empty and quiet is hard to find.
But it is important. It says something about us, about the phase we are in, and what we must do next. Sometimes there is nothing left to say, but everything else left to do. And once you do things, you will have more things to say.
In the season of quiet, it is good and important to embrace empty space as just as much you cultivate occupied spaces. You have to create a vacuum to invite new things in. Sometimes you just have to be quiet and wait. Wait for the signal, wait to move, wait to strike.
Easier said than done. But doable.
I have nothing to say, because I have everything to do. And it is in the doing that new ideas come up, and new insights develop. New lessons are learned, and a new dimension of expression opens up. Because when you act you learn. You see new things, and you are able to create something new. You are able to develop truly unique and interesting ideas when your theories now intersect with cold hard reality. That sparks up new things.
Afraid to Press Play
There is also fear. The fear of launching. It never goes away; it rises up every time. That moment you are about to ship, and you wonder, will they like it? Will this succeed? You have defeated the Resistance throughout the process, sitting down to work, being faithful, and pushing through. And yet, here, at the door, at the side of the stage waiting to walk through, waiting to be called up, the Resistancerises again to greet you in a last-ditch attempt to stop you.
The fear can be very visceral, but in these times of nervousness and fear, we have to remember that these things are ephemeral. They will not last forever. They come…to pass. But it only passes if you embrace it. It does not pass if you do not go through it and implement it. If you do not experience. The more you delay it, the more eternal it becomes, looming as a specter of guilt and shame, never leaving, always tormenting.
So that’s the thing about fear. Knowing that it won’t last forever, so might as well dive into it and embrace it and enjoy it while it’s here. Because, soon you won’t feel it anymore. This would be your status quo.
Reclaiming who you could have been
A friend suggested I write about this. The idea of salvaging. Of rescuing and restoring everything you have quit or put on hold. Taking hold of your un-lived dreams.
How do you do that?
I think a lot of people go through this. You were on a path and for whatever reason, you quit. You let go. You dropped out, you changed routes. Maybe it wasn’t right for you, maybe you shifted to find what you are truly called for. Sometimes it is needed.
Sometimes though, we let go of the thing we really wanted. Maybe it is the fear. The fear of failure, or even the fear of success. Or maybe it was the process itself, you start working on this thing, studying this thing, training for this thing and you realize that it’s actually harder than you thought it would be. So, you lose motivation and run away.
But now, you are inspired again. You have grown. You see things differently. Well, it is never too late to be what you might have been. You can always jump right back into the fray, and get into it. Maybe it is time for you to reclaim your lost dreams with renewed vigor.
Remember the fear, like everything else in life is impermanent. Embrace it and it will pass. Embrace the process.
Working to Live
In the last quarter of last year, I came across Jason and Caroline Zook’s ‘Working to Live’ and just going through their content challenged the way I think about work. As entrepreneurs or freelancers, it is very easy for your work to own you, to be constantly working and pushing. The proliferation of ‘hustle porn’ also doesn’t help matters. We think we have to be ON all the time, constantly moving, constantly getting things done.
But that doesn’t always work does it. Sometimes we run around frantically for months or years or end and eventually look up and realize we painted ourselves into a corner, or that life has literally passed us by. Do we live to work, or do we work to live? I’m guessing you are trying to live. Let the work you do help you live not take the place of life.
That starts by being clear, strategic and allocating time for what needs to be done. Then you are forced to be effective, not just busy. Being strategic allows you to snap between two modes of activity.
Sure, sometimes you need to be ON, 18-hour days, head down, just pushing and getting things done. But then once you have gotten the right things done, you can pull back and rest, like really rest. Because the main things are taken care of.
That is a sharp contrast from continually being stressed and running around like a headless chicken like we usually do.