Survive to thrive
September 17, 2019
I like to write articles. Even though I might not write good ones every day, I write every day, and I do it for a reason. There are many pieces I’m not that proud of - and maybe could’ve even been left unwritten. However, once in a while, there’s one that I do like and hopefully helps or inspires someone.
We don’t feel like doing our work or art (work=art) every day, but it’s important to stick to our commitment. On the days we don’t feel like doing our work, we need to survive and do it anyway. If we survive, better days will come by, and we will thrive.
The problem is that we only want to thrive and don’t want to stick to the ‘surviving’ part. We want the glory; we don’t want the boring, monotonous grind.
Would anything actually change if you would skip a day? If you would skip just one day going to the gym? No, nothing would change. Your life wouldn’t fall apart.
Except that if we skip one day, we start to rationalize that skipping is fine. We would start to tell ourselves that we already messed up our streak and that we can re-start some other day. This ‘other day’ becomes a week which becomes a month, which then becomes the part of a new year’s resolution.
The scary part? We can rationalize like this until the day we die. Have you been putting something off for a very long time? Have you told yourself that ‘someday’ I’ll get this thing handled?
Doing something every single day is by far the most important part of making habits stick. However, this involves being in a survival mode for a good amount of time. If we survive, then and only then we can thrive. And even then, we sometimes need to go through the times of survival every once in a while.
In those times, it helps not to think very much and just ‘do.’ We have to detach our emotions and thoughts from the doing - the action.
We will not do our best work like this, but that’s not the point. Its purpose is just to get us through the hard times. Besides, it’s impossible to do our best all the time anyway. If you look at any successful artist, you see that most of their work is what they themselves call ‘a failure.’
Babe Ruth set the record for the most home runs in a season, but he also struck out more than any other player in his league.
Michael Jordan has apparently said the following: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Pablo Picasso produced an estimate of 50 000 works of art throughout his lifetime. How many have you seen?
Jay Z couldn’t find a record company to sign him, so he created his own record company.
Steven King’s novel “Carrie” was rejected so many times that he threw the entire thing in the bin.
J.K. Rowling was turned down by a dozen publishers for Harry Potter.
Last, but not least, the master of failure himself - Seth Godin: “I think it’s fair to say that I have failed more than most people.”
Seth also perfectly sums up the whole thing I wrote above:
“If you never fail, then you haven’t done anything. If you’re failing consistently in a way where you get to keep playing, that’s pretty cool.”