so I try to help.
– ARGGG why am I so lazy, unmotivated and weak today? I planned to practice today, to do better than yesterday.. and now I’m feeling like crap.
– Hey Neyuhk, what’s the big deal? If you don’t feel good today, just rest. It’s the incremental progress, no matter how tiny, over the long term that adds up.
– But if I don’t show up for practice today I will lose my streak of the regular practice. Too soon the vicious cycle of procrastination and finding excuses for my own laziness will happen. I’m scared.
– Wait, tell me what you are trying to do again with the practice?
– Err.. I want to get better at what I do.
– And why are you doing this? Who is the practice for?
– Me? Yeah. Maybe I can use my skill to do something useful for people, but for now it’s for me first: to do something useful I need to better my skill.
– That’s right.
– But I’m still not comfortable with quitting today yet. How do I know that skipping the practice today won’t make me lazier?
– You do know. Think about how far you have gone and how you got there. Did you go all in everyday, leaving yourself exhausted and demotivated?
– No, I didn’t… I guess I see your point, but I’m still feeling guilty.
– I know. It’s hard. I think we procrastinate our practices precisely because we did not dare to admit that it was hard. Now repeat that last phrase to me, loud and clear.
– Yeah.. IT IS SO DAMN HARD!
– Good. Feeling better now? There’s nothing wrong or shameful with fearing something hard, my dear Neyuhk. In fact, if you find nothing hard you should not be here anyway. So tell me again, which one do you care more about, your pride or getting better?
– Getting better, of course. Caring about pride ironically doesn’t help my pride anyway.
– Yo, getting witty huh? So what do you want to do now?
– I guess I will set a timer for a quick practice. When the bell rings, I will stop. Then leave a note to myself that I take it easy today so that I recover to do better tomorrow.
– Yup. Sounds like a plan. Remember, you are always in for the practice. You never stop trying, but you must learn to quit strategically. You know the stories of Supermen and Wonderwomen, don’t you?
– Right. Yeah, they put in tons of effort, but they do so in a smart way. Thanks.
Writing just seems so hard today. Probably because of yesterday with a lot of typing and over frying my brain with computer science. Maybe I should rest a bit more. Or maybe I should pull through and write anyway.
Writing, meditating, training, programming, talking, thinking, programming, working with people, being with people, loving people etc… living is a practice. And for any practice, there are hits; there are also shits. I just have to show up and be grateful that I still can.
Which is tough, because we keep blaming ourselves. Why am I not doing what I wanted to do today? Should I push a bit more or should I quit? Why are some people so difficult, some causes so hopeless, some efforts so vain?
I learnt a good trick over the summer to decide in cases like this: imagine my best friend Neyuhk is in the same situation. What would I tell him?
An honest and open conversation just feels so good.
P/s: The Dip by Seth Godin is a nice little book that taught me again about quitting.