Essential should take priority over immediate. And yet, we often allow ourselves and feel driven to do the opposite. There’s many reasons we could point to — we didn’t sleep well last night, we are distracted by pain or distracted by shiny things, etc.
What’s easier: answering a few emails and clearing out your inbox or working on your app?
What’s more appealing: watching Netflix or sweating at the gym?
What’s more exciting: going out for drinks or putting butt in seat and writing?
Essential over immediate.
The essential takes more time, energy and intention. No wonder we struggle to get anything important done! We trade short-term pleasures for long-term success and happiness. Not that we have to give up happiness in the present in order to have it in the future. Rather, happiness comes from the process of spending our time and energy in ways that we love and find meaningful. Even an ounce of effort spent on what we love creates massive returns on the rest of our effort (which we might have to give to our other responsibilities, such as working to afford food for our family).
There’s another big reason that the important things tend to get benched:
The important things become too important. Or in other words, the essential things we want to do are so important that we end up not doing them. We idealize and fantasize them into a undefeatable monster in our minds. We (consciously or subconsciously) delay, avoid, distract, procrastinate and psych ourselves out from doing them. And eventually we end up filling our time and energy with everything BUT the things we want to do.
I’m making it seem clear and cut-and-dry, but it’s usually anything but. In reality the tradeoffs are so subtle. We hardly even notice we are selling ourselves short and are feeding the wrong things. We trade what we really want to do, for second or third-best options because we think that’s all we desire or are capable of doing.
Because what if we fail?
What if we waste all this time and energy for nothing?
What if we succeed and are still unhappy?
Ultimately it comes down to giving yourself some space and asking yourself is it worth it or not.
Is this worth my finite amount of time and energy?
Is this going to add value to my life AND the lives around me?
Is this going to provide me meaning and happiness in the present, regardless if I fail or succeed in the end?
Failing at something you love is better than succeed at something you hate or find mediocre.
Because failure is recoverable. But we can’t get back wasted time on things that don’t matter.
The road to mediocrity is born from hesitation and feeding ‘what you are supposed to do’ instead of what you feel called to do.
What do you feel called to do in this life?
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #734