Yesterday morning I was almost late to work. I had woken up late. To be honest, I woke up exactly when I intended, but hit the snooze button one (three) too many times. It’s only a five minute snooze, but it adds up. Snoozing is a problem for me and has been since as long as I can remember. So why I ever thought it was a good idea to “make a promise to myself” that I’d wake up without snoozing today is really beyond me. I had no realistic expectation for meeting this goal (spoiler: I didn’t). All it managed to do was make me feel bad about, once again, failing to be better, to be the me I want to be; a solid negative hit to the Emotional Mana inputs of Personal Management and Self-Valuation. What a great way to start my day…
But really, I’m not setting myself up for success here. If I know that I’m not good at this, is setting myself a bar I can’t meet really going to make me change? But on the other hand, should I just abandon all hope I’ll ever change? Neither sound like really good options. And neither are, because I’m not approaching this correctly.
We live in a results-oriented culture. All that matters is the final score. The “journey” has been reduced to the clichéd movie-montage where we see our heroes go from #DwyertoStarlord (shout-out to my sister-in-law for introducing me to that hashtag) in 30 seconds. And the reason it’s a montage is that no one cares. No one cares that today you’re incrementally better than you were yesterday. They only care if you’re great right now. And that is the problem.
I’ve bought into that mindset. And I’d be willing to bet that you have, too. It’s the mindset that says if you’re not good enough, don’t even bother trying. Or worse yet, that even if you are good, there are plenty of people who are doing it better, so don’t even bother trying. And yet, I believe that trying is one of the most fundamentally human things we can do. Humanity is about reaching for higher heights and I think that’s critically important regardless of how many people have reached those heights – or who we believe have reached those heights – before.
So I have decided to dedicate myself to Practice (with a capital P). Practice sleeping, Practice nutrition, Practice goal making, Practice living. Just by approaching it this way, as Practice, I remove the burden of outcome. If I screw up, it’s ok, because I’m practicing. So when – not if – I screw up or outright fail, it’s ok because it’s practice. But because it’s practice, it’s already framed as a learning opportunity, as a way to figure out how I can do better next time.
But what I really love about this approach is that while it removes that burden of outcome, it at the same time promotes outcome. Because we’re not Practicing for Practice’s sake, but Practice to achieve a better result!
In short, it’s living the montage, and what an incredible place to be, because that’s the crucible of becoming me! So I’m going to revel in my Practice and I invite you to join me!
See you at the finish line!
–The Jack of Spades