I finally got around to writing this blog; but it took bit of a nudge, and I learned some lessons along the way.
I don’t like to push myself. In general, I push myself too much; it’s one of the reasons I get to anxious. I go to work each morning and look at this “Task List” and create stress by convincing myself that my life satisfaction is somehow tied to the completion of those tasks. At the end of the day, I know it is an illusion; the task lists come and go and it becomes clear that the quality of my life does not depend on getting the list done.
So, I have been trying to learn to let go; to focus on “The Now”; just enjoy each day. I often think of the quip by comedian Steven Wright that “hard work pays off in the future, but laziness pays off right away.”
On the other hand, I don’t really want to be lazy. I know things need to get done. I have responsibilities to others and, unless I want to live out of a refrigerator carton, I need to bring in an income. I suppose the trick is to find a way to stay motivated to do what really matters without stressing out by thinking it all means more than it does; to somehow care enough but not care too much.
I am not a big fan of motivation talks. Most motivational speeches seem (at least to me) to be designed to make us dissatisfied with our lives to the point of working hard. I don’t need that. I am already hard on myself so I don’t need to feed those negative voices. I would rather find a way to “live in the now” and avoid pushing myself to do unpleasant things. Yet, I do believe in delayed gratification and I know that there are times in which I need to do something unpleasant so that life will be better in the long run.
I don’t have the answer on how to balance all of this but I feel like I am getting warmer. I don’t know how the idea of nudging came up, but I have been thinking that, at times, what I need is not so much as a push but a gentle nudge.
This blog is a good example. I knew when I started out that I would like to write something but I knew I would have trouble following through; particularly when things got busy. So, a good friend and mentor told me that I should commit to writing something weekly. That weekly commitment has, for the most part, served as that gentle nudge during the past 18 months and has helped me do something I really wanted to do. Until recently.
A few weeks ago, I got a bit behind and then, eventually skipped a week. It felt kind of good at first; like a little binge, a way to treat myself. However, looking back, I realized that in giving myself that break the “gentle nudge” of a weekly commitment seemed to go away. I was now caught between the part of me that wants to push too hard to get it done and the part of me that want to go too easy on myself.
Two days ago, I got a really nice email from a former client who told me he had really enjoyed the blogs and was wondering why he had not seen anything for awhile. He hoped I was okay and was clearly not trying to push me. It felt good to be reminding of the good feelings I have been getting from the connections that this blog had created. It did not feel like a push to get back to writing. It was more of a kind and gentle nudge.
It was just what I needed; at least for today.