It feels like there’s this uproar of pressure in our generation to find your One True Purpose.
To live and breathe it every single day, every single moment.
Am I like this?
I’ll admit, I got caught in this trap.
And for me, it’s often got in the way more than it’s helped.
I’ve lost relationships from this obsession…
While I do think it’s important to find work that is meaningful, connected and enjoyable, sometimes we can get too consumed in making it so astounding that we end up getting in the way of… doing the actual work.
The truth I’ve found is this: we live in a capitalist world. No earth-shattering insight there. But what that means is even if you’re doing work that lights you up, by the very nature of our system you must dumb down and cut off parts of yourself in order to exist and grow in this society.
That might sting and not be the average inspiring ass, woot woot message we’re all used to getting in the motivational self-growth culture, but it is the truth.
It’s not feasible to believe that you can get paid for all the parts of you, for all of your interests, and that you can always, 100% of the time get paid for being on the leading edge of your passion.
No Paul Rudd, its 100% alignment with your purpose and it’s a myth. Being on fire and passionate all the time is a fantasy. Entertainment can’t sell you the grey shades or the boring parts of the day when you’re not doing your so-called passion practice. I hate to say- I still have to do laundry and match my socks up. You too get too caught up in it, it can get in the way of doing work that can actually help people.
I know I’m super guilty of this.
There is a place for going on epic adventures. For sure. There is a place for being high, pushing your edges, daringly following what your heart is mapping you to do. But there is also the reality of the world we live in: to work on your own terms you must to some degree define or create a niche for yourself. Sometimes that means you will be doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do, but are necessary evils based on the system we’re in.
Of course we can work to create new systems, new cultures, new ways of life where we are more independent and don’t have to rely on the structure of capitalism. But in the meantime, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches/ and depression- like feelings and make your escape quicker if you add a healthy dose of groundedness to your work-life strategy.
All of that is really heady, so let’s bring it back now y’all.
Our world = always on, all the time
The negatives about this though is that the world we live in expects us to be continual producers. (As it should) Our world likes and awards those that show up consistently, even when they don’t feel like it, or it’s not most aligned with their natural rhythms. Our world doesn’t have a lot of room for living in harmony with the seasons. If it did we could feel free to produce at some times, and be more introspective and withdrawn at others.
The good news…?
You can work to save money, create passive income, or live a more minimalist lifestyle where you don’t have to be “on” all the time. But what are you going to do in the meantime?
Busy people think about food weigh less (pun intended)
To be successful enough to extract yourself from the “always on” battle, you need to give and be consistent, even during those times when that doesn’t feel natural or fulfilling. You can either fight against this and complain about it, or accept it and go on with doing the work.
At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves: what is most practical and effective given the reality I’m currently in?
Sure… I wish I was playing Spider-Man…..
What mindset will get me the results I want?
If making everything epic and world-changing is getting you the results you want, keep going. Keep doing that. Some wise mechanic once said “why fix what ain’t broken?”
But, if it’s getting in the way, maybe you need to ask yourself, what is a more useful, practical approach to my work?
Often that is just showing up, facing your fears, your resistance and helping people, however you can.
You work doesn’t have to be world-changing and super epic to make a difference. And especially not if it’s getting in the way of you actually showing up consistently.
Logan, so you’re perfect?
LTN is far from perfect, Can you say Hair loss? Can you say, Big Bulging Pimple?
At the end of the day, lack of consistency in our world is an enormous vulnerability to creating the life you really want.
You don’t need to be epic or doing earth-shattering work to do that. Mini steps triumph one large leap to death. Doubly so if that pressure is paralyzing you from showing up and putting one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes we need to dub it down. The so- called spiritual and emotional significance of our work in order to make space for getting our hands dirty and making honest- tiny bits of progress.
Personally I’ve been feeling a lot of freedom lately in allowing my work to be more like a job, and less like a world-changing mission.
Of course I’m human, and maybe that will change next week, or next month. But for now I know that what I need to default to is showing up and helping people, owning the true value I can bring, and doing the work no matter what. I need to get out of my own way by making everything amazing all the time.
Evan Earnest Hemingway had bad days of writing, even Mark Manson had bad days of writing. Even Will Ferrell has a bad movie. Even Michael Jordan had bad days.
The truest thing for me not w is Mark Mansons ideology of “subtle Art of not giving a fuck.”
Steady and slow may not be attractive. Focusing on the foundations and the fundamentals may not light you up.
What are you doing today to make real, lasting progress? Do you need to throttle up your why and mission, or is it time to make your priority of showing up and doing the work every day, no matter what?
You don’t have to change the world. You just need to show up and help out your neighbor.