You were looking for a quantum leap, and instead, I gave you a ton of mundane work. We want the outcome (fame, glory, six figures salary, and six-pack abs), not the work, cleverly disguised as ‘the process’.
That’s not cool, Anna!
But it turns out that even a quantum leap is a (rapidly) gradual process.
How to fall in love with the mundane, boring, uninspiring?
You read something inspiring and motivational; it totally makes sense; you feel pumped. And then – nothing happens. It felt good to just see it. The reward has been granted. That’s why self-help is so addictive.
Feeling good is great, but that alone won’t take you very far. You also have to do the work, not just think about it.
You did everything they said, you had your meditation practice, journaled for a bit, had 6 glasses of water, got some check marks on your to-do list, and you’re still where you were a while ago, which happens to be a place called stuck as f#ck.
Changing ‘change’ from a noun to a verb
The problem with CHANGE is that we want A CHANGE, not TO CHANGE.
Or that we want an outcome, not the work/process. Also, that’s perfectly normal.
Loving hard work and basking in the mundane is likely an acquired taste for most of us.
Lasting change and significant growth are not linear; Rarely, they are sudden.
Now, what to do?!?
- What I propose is not overly fun
- What I suggest is mundane
- What I show is far from sexy
- The progress is not the most instagramable. It’s more like watching the grass grow.
But – it works.
Growth and change are not linear
The problem is, it works slowly; it moves you forward but somewhat erratically. It’s not a simple jump from A to B to C.
One day if all makes sense and you feel like you’re making progress, another you think that the struggle is futile and want to give up.
It is important, however, to understand that this is totally normal, and when you hit one of your lows, it’s just that – a low or another low.
One of the best ways to overcome such lows is to remove your ego from the equation.
It’s OK to throw an hour-long pity party if you absolutely have to, but then quickly move onto a more productive ground.
Self-pity won’t get you far; on the other hand, self-compassion might.
Falling in love with the mundane (or just not hating it)
We keep asking for better ways to get somewhere (a new diet, a better productivity system, a new routine) without ever wanting to walk that path.
One foot up and the other foot down. That is the way to London town.
So I kind of established that we need to want to do the work more.
Depending on where you stand right now, you can try to do it by:
- not hating it first – just like the bitter medicine, when you make it small/dilute it or bury in sugar, or both.
- making it easier
- changing our mindset/ reframing thoughts: thinking about it as an adventure. Reframe ‘failure’ as an opportunity to grow, to learn. Easy? Nope. Necessary? Probably.
- finding someone else to share your struggles (If you want to climb K2 in the winter, you probably need to talk to other mountain climbers as they understand your struggles; family or friends may be a great support and bring you hot chocolate, but may not have a firm grasp of what is it you’re trying to do)
- focusing on the process more than the outcome.
- understanding the process, how long (and what) it may realistically take to achieve your goal.
- By embracing uncertainty
- By trying to manage that Ego thing
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE
And I REALLY wish there was another way, a better way, a better shortcut.
I haven’t found any. Yet.
It boils down to the fact that you have to do the work, not just think about doing it. And I say it from the perspective of one giant overthinker/procrastinator.
But there are some tricks and hacks, and mindset shifts that make the burden somewhat easier to handle, which I will explore next time. As Andrew Huberman from the fantastic Huberman Lab said: Mindset isn’t everything, but it matters.
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