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The Myth of Behind | in over your head

August 26, 2010

Posted: 25 Aug 2010 04:52 AM PDT

There is no such thing as past failure. There is only now.

As I write this I am on vacation in Paris, eating like crap, writing no blog posts, not working out– generally doing nothing productive at all. Sometimes, it feels awesome to be this way. Other times, it sucks.

As you read this you may not have exercised in weeks. You may have been sitting there with your RSS reader for hours eating donuts just because they’re there. You may be sitting there in a pile of your own garbage for all I know. Either way, the only thing that matters is what happens today.

I am currently behind on my book list by one week, so over the past two days I’ve read 200+ pages. I am behind on blog posts so I’m going to write two instead of just one, and the same tomorrow. You can do the same thing at this very moment instead of focusing on the time you wasted. It would be easy.

Even though I used the word in the last paragraph, there is actually no such thing as “behind.” The past does not exist. It has molded you, but it does not create you. Everything you do now is your choice, and in this moment, you can become someone new, that does something new if you want it.

Since I’m on a trip, I’d like to mention that a trip is one of the best places to do this (it isn’t the only way, but it does work). In a new environment you don’t feel that anyone will judge you, so you can step outside of convention very easily. Once you return from your trip, people will think it’s natural that you’ve changed, since you’ve been away. Take advantage of it.

The problem with thinking that you are behind is that it drags you down to a place where you’re disappointed and don’t want to do anything, pulling you lower and lower until you basically have no choice but to fall asleep or eat a giant cake to feel better.

But you can do better than this. You can act as if you received the project today, as if you were beginning right this instant, and do one easy task related to completing it. This does the opposite to your emotional state (the exact point of this post) and gets you started in a direction where you feel better and are doing more. Getting a pep talk doesn’t really work the same way– nothing does, except making progress.

The mind is like a cage, and the past is a depreciating stock, whose value doesn’t exist anymore, and does nothing but waste whatever opportunity you have today.

The past is gone, so pretend. Act as if it has just reached your desk. That’ll make it happen.

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