Dare To Start Again With What's Most Important To You

I think one thing that is a really important thing to strive for is being internally driven, being driven to compete with yourself, not with other people. If you compete with other people, you end up in this mimetic trap, and you sort of play this tournament, and if you win, you lose. But if you’re competing with yourself, and all you’re trying to do is — for the own self-satisfaction and for also the impact you have on the world and the duty you feel to do that — be the best possible version you can, there is no limit to how far that can drive someone to perform. And I think that is something you see — even though it looks like athletes are competing with each other — when you talk to a really great, absolute top-of-the-field athlete, it’s their own time they’re going against.
— Sam Altman
Dare To Start Again With What's Most Important To You

You can't help but see why so many of us collapse into exhaustion when we crawl into bed at night. When you look over your list of shit-to-do, how much of your life is being directed by outside forces? Are everyone else's priorities competing with your own?

They seep in like a virus. And before you know it, you're infected. Thousands of identical little tasks draining you of every ounce of strength.

By the time you realize you're infected, it's too late to run for cover. Or if you're like Norman Feller, you're prepared. A little too prepared. With Y2K looming, and total apocalypse riding shotgun, Feller fled to the depths of his underground bunker on January 1, 2000. "We believed Y2K would set the world into chaos and it would take 15 years for the world to be habitable again."

Feller made the decision to step out of his windowless bunker a year early, curious to find out if he was right. Imagine Feller's disappointment when he emerged after 14 years in isolation. The world didn't even skip a beat, the music kept playing and life went on as usual. "When I came up, the world hadn't ended and I had basically wasted 15 years of my life."

This sounds crazy because it is crazy. The example is extreme, but how many of us live in bunkers of our own making, trapped in our minds? We fear what the outside world will do if we show up as our unapologetic selves. Here's a hint, everyone is too busy with their own shit to care. And in the wise words of Dr. Seuss, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

No matter how fast life is moving around you, there is always a place of stillness inside that speaks the truth of what you want.

It might be hard to hear over the machine-gun assault of distraction and noise snapping and hissing your way like bullets in a firefight.

Does it feel too dangerous to risk peeking up from the bunker? The flip side is a life of unfulfilled dreams, regrets and doing what everyone else told you to do. The eerie kind that haunt us on our deathbed like a page out of The Christmas Carol. As poet and author E.E. Cummings said, "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

I'm confident I can speak on behalf of all seven and a half billion of us when I say no one wants a life filled with regrets.

Here's your chance to reconnect with a sense of optimism, to hear the sound of renewal and to realize it's never too late to start again.

All it takes is a quiet decision – the decision to begin again.

In last week's post we jumped into How To Clear The Clutter And Get To Goals That Matter. Using the list of goals you came up with, were you able to identify 1-2 that you are unwilling to leave to chance? Which one is your unapologetic self, screaming to make a priority for fear of combusting into flames if you wait on it any longer?

This is your chance to put your dreams first. If it's permission you're looking for, here it is. Choose to start again with what's most important to you.

Being swallowed up like a sinkhole of what everyone else tells you to do is a recipe for a mediocre life. It's like being force-fed Delissio pizza hawked as "I can't believe this isn't delivery." As my Dad says, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

Instead, commit to a goal that matters to you. It's the chance to stare into a Mediterranean sunset. Sitting off the toe of Italy's boot in Sicily you make a promise to never eat shitty pizza again.

When you're stuck, you can't help but feel anxious because it feels like a forever problem.

You'll do anything to start moving again. The temptation is to grasp at the first thing that gets traction. But it's often this immediate need to get away from the uncomfortable feelings you're experiencing that put you there in the first place. 

I've hit the panic button a couple of times. I'll search run-of-the-mill jobs in the hopes an escape hatch will save me from the rollercoaster of emotions that is entrepreneurship. It's important to listen to others, but we also must listen to ourselves. When our words are at odds with how we feel, it causes conflict.

Instead, I've made a habit of reflecting on what's important to me and why I started this business in the first place. As best-selling author Seth Godin said, "Sometimes going faster looks a lot like going slower in the short run. Because taking the time to read a map, get your bearings and understand the system you’re in ultimately gets you there more quickly."

Just as the tortoise beat the hare, focus got him to the finish line. This is true of every major discovery or innovation in history. Having a clear idea of what you're working towards is only half of it. The why gives you a reason to get up and face another day. Success is not luck. It's a result of keeping the main thing the main thing.

Michael B. Jordan talks about his experiences in the auditioning process. How he was able to continue auditioning and keeping what was most important to him as the focus.