First of all, everyone who’s into rnb/rap/hip-hop should definitely give a listen to D Smoke’s new album called ‘Black Habits’. It’s a whole vibe and what I’m currently listening to while writing this post.
As I told you guys in my new beginnings post, after a lot of thinking and searching for my One Thing, I came up with the answer of wanting to do some dope shit with some dope people eventually and for that, I needed to learn a useful skill. The skill that I’ve chosen, which made the most sense, was marketing. I even found a plan (Nat Eliason’s how to learn digital marketing in 6 months for free).
I found my goal. My why.
I found my how. What I should follow.
All that’s left for me to do is… well actually do it ! Put that plan into action.
So why did I find myself not doing anything towards my goal on a Friday afternoon? Don’t get me wrong, in my mind, I was locked in and I wanted to work. There was one side of my head that was like “GO ON YOU LAZY FUCK, WORK !” and another side that was like “chill fam, I don’t want to”. And since I wrote this article instead, well I guess that the latter won the battle.
This has been a recurring issue in my life. Discontent about my life and my current situation, but not enough for it to push me into trying to get out.
As I was at the end of my willpower and motivation to work, I just did what I always do when I have problems: search on google.
I was in a slump about working and not wanting to put it the work to achieve what I wanted so I simply googled “I don’t want to put the work in” because that was my problem right?
I won’t get into details of what each link was saying, but you can probably take a guess. All of them contained the same tips and tricks that tried to get you motivated. “you’re afraid of failure so stop thinking of that”, “you’re comfortable so seek discomfort”, “you shouldn’t wait until you feel like working, you need to be disciplined about it” and “everything is about passion, you need to be passionate and put in the work”. Great, the same old rah rah that I’ve read and heard about for the past 5 years.
By this time, I was really getting discouraged by my situation because I felt like I’ve read every single motivation and passion tip and trick out there. Was I really going to just navigate through life in my discontent until I’m forced to accept the reality that I’m just not cut out of anything that I want to do?
But you know, since I had nothing to do and wanted to feel like I was doing something productive, I tried searching for other google keywords and see if something would pop up. I honestly don’t know what I was searching for, I was just trying to make myself feel better lmao. Maybe a blog post about someone describing their exact same situation so that I can say “yes, I’m not alone in this situation !”.
As a result, I ended up searching the following: “i’m discontent with my life but not enough to motivate me to change it”.
And… the results were extremely disappointing. “Why am I Unhappy, 50 things that make you unhappy”, “3 steps to motivate yourself !”, “What to remember when you think you’re not enough”, “recharge your depleted motivation with these tricks”, “from depression to happiness”, etc. Great ! More rah rah and now I could also get the idea that I might be depressed ! Way to try and make me feel better, Google ! I was almost going to give up on my search and just watch a movie or something until I saw one intriguing Quora post.
The top answer is a post by someone named Antti Vanhanen. For the full context, I highly suggest that you read the top answer from the link I provided, but the gist of it is that his story is very similar to mine. He was happy in his childhood, then life started getting really serious, then he wasn’t really working and enjoying himself and wanted to change. He then discovered as the self-help gurus of his time (Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, etc.) and he became a self-development junkie spending years and money on this. Only to realize that nothing much came out of it because at the end of the day, he knew what he needed to do but never took action (hmm.. I wonder where I heard that before 🙄). Until he asked himself one question:
“Antti, why aren’t you having fun? Don’t you think you would do better if you had fun?”
And I think that’s a question that I also forgot to ask myself.
I feel like I was so into self-development that I lost myself a bit. Everything I was doing, watching, consuming, listening to was all for one purpose and that was to succeeded. Well, that’s what I thought and wanted, but in reality, I’m probably not more successful than any of my peers who never discovered self-development.
It’s really hard to put into words what reading this question did to me, but I feel like all my thoughts were shaped by things I saw online, my environment, books I read and some people I hang out with to the point where my view of life became distorted. Success became everything. Not just any type of success either, a very specific type of success depicted by these statements:
- 9 to 5 is made for slaves because you’re basically wasting your whole life trying to make someone rich.
- Life is about usefulness. You need to be useful and give value to the world.
- The goal of life is always to optimize. Always improve, if not there is no point to life.
- Make millions and then you can enjoy life.
- You should be fulfilled in your life. Go chase your passion because that’s how you’ll become successful.
- Screw passion. Just think about what you’d like to do and go do it.
- But what you like has to be something useful that will help you later on.
From all these statements, I even created a nice definition of success that I can use whenever someone asked me.
“I don’t want a lot of money. I just want to have enough. Probably 90k would be enough for me. Money isn’t what I want, as long as I have enough to provide for myself and my family. What I really want is to have my own time and work on something that is fulfilling and contribute to society in some way.”
wow. ain’t that a great definition of success? Who would hate on that. It’s humble, doesn’t ask for too much money (realistic), has the concept of freedom (because who wouldn’t want this), contains the concept of fulfillment (which is what everyone in the self-help space wants apparently) and it even has some selflessness in it ! Because who wouldn’t want to contribute to society !
Well, that’s the problem. My problem. This is a bullshit definition that I made up to appease all the facets of my personality that wanted to be the perfect successful self-help person. I don’t even know if I wanted that type of success. All I knew was that people who I was trying to become like would like and approve that type of answer.
So, where does that leave me now? Honestly, I don’t really know to be honest. I still clearly believe that thriving to be better is something that one should aim at doing. Maybe not being a “better person”, but being better at your craft? Being better at being yourself? Being better at being positive? Being better at having fun?
I think this whole time, I’ve been thinking of success all the time that the concepts of “success” and “fun” starting to get mixed up together. Was I doing something because I really thought it was fun or because it was something that could lead to success so I convinced myself that it was something “fun” that I wanted to do? All I can say is that I might be wrong with my current mentality.
Because I remember when I was younger, at the peek of my greatest performances, I remember that I wasn’t really thinking about success or anything like that. I was just having fun and because I was having fun, I was performing at my best. Of course, I wanted to “win” and have success is some type of way, but that wasn’t my primary criterion. As Antti was saying
” When we give the outcome power over our happiness and emotional wellbeing, we tense up.
We start playing scared.
We lose sight of the fun and curiosity that used to propel us forward.
We start trying to avoid mistakes and play it safe.
We dread obstacles and difficult situations.
We procrastinate because we don’t want to fuck up. “
and I think there’s some heavy truth in there.
The best example I can think of is my current badminton coach, Nam. That dude is having great success in what he’s doing. As a fitness coach, as a photographer, as a badminton player and even as a badminton coach. And I ain’t ever heard him say that he hates any of those. On the contrary, he LOVES all of those things and he’s having fun every single day.
My current mentality might be wrong. Antti might also be wrong. All I’m saying is, I don’t know anymore man.
Nicholas Hugh Sam