Every single time.
Right about now, I run into trouble.
I start doing something I care about (in this case, blogging). I’m enjoying the rhythm. The feeling. The action.
Then I start thinking about the potential.
I start planning. I start scheming. I start making it all much to complex. I start crafting vision statements. I start using the word “crafting.” I start asking myself why.
I run into trouble when I ask myself why I’m doing things.
I know that’s an issue with the personal growth crowd, which is a crowd I like and am part of (hi, friends!).
A personal growth practice is full of Asking Big Questions and Finding Your Why and Knowing Your Purpose and Having A Vision and Being Intentional. There are good reasons to ask yourself why. Some of the thinking I’ve done about Why has split me wide open.
Some of it has not.
When I start doing a thing I love, and am loving the doing of it, and I stop to ask myself why, it does not help me.
I’m not going to ask myself that anymore. Not about this. Not about blogging, not about writing anything. Asking myself why in this scenario is a trap.
It’s the “follow your passion” trap. It is a trap. Passion has limits.
You don’t feel passionate about something all the time. Or you don’t feel passionate about all aspects of a something.
You’re trundling along, merrily following your passion. You’re sure of eventual success. You feel that some ongoing measure of happiness is guaranteed. Then you hit a block. An obstacle. Negative feedback. Undeveloped skill. One of those non-passionate-feeling times or aspects. You are in big trouble.
Big trouble, pal.
What happens when your passion takes a nap? What happens when your passion shifts?
Do you take a nap until your passion reawakens? (Counter-productive! Waste of time!)
Do you shift with your passion? (Loss of all your previous effort! Inefficient!)
Passion is not consistent enough to follow.
If passion doesn’t work, then goals? How ‘bout them goals? Well. Goals, outcomes, my definition of success: most are future-dependent and imaginary.
Desired outcomes are not guarantees.
Success is an experience you imagine but, by definition, is not something you already have.
How can you know if you will enjoy it as you think you will? You don’t know. You can’t. You have to work to achieve it and then, once you achieve it, you will know what it is to you.
There’s a good chance it won’t be what you expect.
The better thing than going for some sort of success is so stupid-easy it’s stupid. Easy.
Instead of focusing on eventual success, focus on having a good day. Today. This day.
You know how you feel right now. And if you pay attention to your choices, you can learn what helps you feel joyful, valuable, loved, cared for, caring, helpful, needed, free, accepted, accepting, so on.
You focus on the things that help you feel more of the good stuff. Not lazy, instant-gratification kind of things, by the way. You know the difference. If you don’t, let’s talk about it; there is a big difference between doing what makes you feel good and doing what gives you instant gratification.
I know that writing is a thing that makes me feel good. Good in that heart-deep, brain-stirring, energizing, beautifully exhausting kind of way. The feeling good of writing is with me while I’m writing and stays with me as satisfaction long after I’ve written.
Instant gratification stuff, on the other hand, is surface-level, mind-numbing, and draining. The gratification is instant but dissipates almost as instantly. The satisfaction is short-lived.
I know how I feel when I create something with words and publish it.
That’s the magic combination, for me.
I enjoy creating something with words, at any time. But publishing it is magic. Magic! Someone can read this now. That’s crazy. I love that so much.
I don’t want to stop and ask myself a million questions about why I love it so much. I don’t want to plan and plot and scheme about how I can manage to keep doing this thing I love so much. Instead, I’ll keep doing it. That’s all.
The rest is all a form of worry.
What a negative, self-annihilating worry it is, too! My brain has such difficulty accepting the feeling good that it freaks out.
“Ahhhh! I am doing a thing that I love! It feels good! I like feeling good! But what if it goes away! Then how will I feel! I must protect the feeling good! I must guarantee more of this thing! I must figure out why it feels good! I must understand the mystery! I must have a plan!”
My brain. Silly, silly brain. It can’t accept the feeling good as a gift. It can’t imagine that more could come, beautifully, simply, freely, as a gift. It can’t relax into the feeling good.
My brain can learn. I can learn. I can sink into writing, sink into doing what is good for me, relax into it, enjoy it.
I can do it without asking why. I can write without having a plan for how I will get to continue writing.
It is here, now. Thank you. I accept it.
Thank you, Internet. Thank you, WordPress. Thank you, self-publishing. Thank you, ebooks. Thank you, job that reminded me what I don’t want to be so I could remember who I am. Thank you, typing software that my Mom bought in 1996. Thank you, hundreds of blog posts and articles that have given me the confidence for this moment. Thank you, hours of client work that have given me the skill. Thank you to every friend who has ever encouraged me. Thank you to the 17 people who visited my blog yesterday. Thank you, white desk and white chair and white window frame and tall white tree outside of window and all the green of vines and leaves and growing things behind the tall white tree and the sun behind white clouds and the coffee in my mug.