Here’s the secret to life: become world class at everything you do.
I big problem I’ve faced in the past is being overwhelmed: looking around at everything I not only need to do, but want to do for myself, and noticing that it’s just too damn much. I don’t know where to start, so I don’t start anywhere.
Well, that’s a mistake. I’ve wasted months of my life not acting out of fear – simply because I didn’t get, on a deep, practical level – that all I had to do was pick something. But, as it turns out, picking something is actually the hardest part.
Going back to a couple of blog posts ago, where I brought up the first stage where the resistance is the most powerful (remember the “rocket ship” analogy?), the hardest part about any activity is the first part. Stephen Pressfield calls it “sitting down to work.” I’m sure there’s a thousand gurus out there who have their own distinct names for it.
But let’s face it: there are only twenty-four hours in a day. And of those hours, we do need to find time for the basics (sleep, diet, and exercise), and, whatever other pressing matters needing attention. Those come first, and whatever’s left, that’s where the real Work can happen.
Once we pick a few things, we’ve committed. We have to follow through until they’ve been mastered, or, at least, seen out to a degree we feel adequate. Since there is limited time for this process of mastery, we can develop systems with which to address each thing, and how often we’d like to address it. We can be as organized or as non-organized as we like – whatever works.
Once we stick with each Thing, something magical starts to happen – we begin to take on an intimacy with it, and a feeling that we are tackling it. Some things might take longer to tackle than others, but it’s the process that’s key.
It seems to me that’s what it means to be “world class” – you’re committed to a process. Not so concerned about the actual tackling. The tackling will happen if I stick with the Thing over a period of time. I’m not trying to rush it. I’m just interested in what I have to do today.