It still impresses me, as it has for a few decades now, how accurate ship navigators can be without a GPS unit. A thousand miles or more, and somehow they land at the right port. A mere one-tenth of a degree would land the ship far astray.
As I have grown, my appreciation for simplicity has, too. In line with that, this was a much longer (re-)entry into having a blog on TraveledLens, but it didn’t feel genuine, so I scrapped it. All of what I wanted to convey could be summed up with this: I’m elated with the possibilities that lie ahead of the seemingly-minor changes I’ve decided to make in my life, scale relative. The only struggle with writing so short is that I worry my audience (who am I kidding? No one reads this) won’t have sufficient example or explanation to empathize. But, I think lasting empathy is built over time, so a short elaboration is below.
“Decision is the ultimate power,” Tony Robbins said in his 2006 TED talk, one of the first I’d ever watched, and the one I’ve watched more than any other TED talk (or maybe even video of any sort (sorry, Fight Club)). Love or hate the man as you may, the quote is immensely useful, but only half of the explanation in my book. The other half revolves around the events leading to the point of decision, the part where a decision is backed by conviction. I can decide to be a world-class athlete, but genetic hurdles aside, it’s an empty decision without the resolve to see it to completion. For people trying to lose weight, change careers, or leave a bad relationship, often the motivation comes from a point in time they can describe with uncommon clarity. Something happened, and they realized that a change was necessary. It’s the latter half that I struggle with (the resolve), and while I’ve not solved that problem, I have opened the door. This is what has me excited enough to write today.
David Goggins is an example of someone who has unquestionably pushed beyond the mild discomfort most of us, including me, don’t want to admit is the threshold at which we stop. (Look him up if you’ve not heard of him, though be warned: you may feel lazy even if you run marathons) If it’s raining, we don’t go for a run, or if the path isn’t explicitly clear, we don’t take it. I play this game all the time, and I nearly always lose. The dissatisfaction is both more familiar and comfortable than the difficulty I imagine comes with pursuing something that may cause some discomfort. It’s precisely for unreasonably small hurdles like these that my life is what it is, and it’s precisely recognizing the size of said hurdles that will allow me to change it.
So, what am I changing? Well, a lot, actually. I joined a gym, started working toward being a stock trader, and changed the definition I have for progress and success. Each of those merits an entry, but for now the executive briefs will suffice.
I’ve not been to a gym in about 9 years (since college). That’s not to say that I’ve been out of shape for a decade. To the contrary, I’ve been very active for the past 12 years. But my activities have always relied heavily on my legs, allowing my upper body to lag considerably in strength and definition. I look a little bottom heavy. Also, I know that lifting weights will make me a faster runner. So, I’ve elected to join a gym. But, I’m not under any illusions that I can sustain an hour a day five days per week. But to get strength, I need to put in the hours. So, I’ve spent about a week studying and reading up on techniques to get me there as fast as possible. Less time in the gym is more sustainable, which is more important in the long run than any gain, and of course given the option to follow an 80/20 rule, who wouldn’t?
I’m going to get a lot of flak for how risky people believe this is (again, though, no one reads this, so probably not), but I’m currently paper trading to see if I’m viable in the profession. Details will remain out of the question for now, but suffice to say that if I can earn enough to pay for 4 months of rent by the time 4 months have passed, I’ll continue. If not, I’ll embark down the coffee road again. It feels so much easier to work toward a goal once the plan has been decided upon; once a bearing is set, we need only sail.
Progress and Success.
I have a love-hate relationship with money. I often despise people who have a lot of it, mostly when it’s flaunted, but also a jealousy. I know it’s best viewed as a tool, and it’s precisely for this reason that I associate having it with success. But I don’t want money so I can have things; rather, I want money so I can travel, and not worry about money and retirement (even though I’m only 32). So up front, that view isn’t changing. I still want money for the freedoms wealthy minimalism provides.
What is changing, however, is the busy life definition we often run into that is associated with success. That I’m doing away with. If I have a day off, and I don’t do a thing, so long as I’m enjoying it, I consider that a success. Similarly, progress is often impatiently pursued and stressful. No more. I’m disinterested in berating myself for skipping a workout, for being lazy one day, or for not pushing for every possible edge against my goals. Screw that. What matters most is the direction in which I travel, for the difference between a golf shot that lands on the green, and another that lands in the sand, is at most a percentage of a single degree. If I only consider myself with the general trajectory, then my stress and self-deprecation and criticism go down, too, making life all the happier, and the goals all the easier to hit.