April 9th, 2011
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about instincts. I hate agonizing (too much thinking) over decisions I have to make. Over thinking is a terrible habit but I don’t know what to do about it. It gives me a headache and I waste a lot of time in the decision making process. I wish I could give my brain a vacation and just do whatever “feels” like a good idea. I wish I could “trust my instincts” and blindly believe that they will naturally make the right decisions for me. There is only one problem. My instincts often suck!
I don’t know about you, but my instincts often tell me to stay up super late, eat a lot of junk food, drink too much beer, and watch countless hours of hilarious TV. I “know” it’s stupid but it “feels” like a good idea. That’s why it’s so tempting. Our logical brain is always arguing with our emotions and desires.
It’s hard to lead a “balanced” life. If I notice one day that I can’t fit properly into my jeans because my butt and stomach are a bit too big, I’ll “pull a 180″ (which means to do the exact opposite of what I’ve been doing) and start exercising and dieting like a madman. It’s all I can think about for several months. Of course I’m exaggerating a bit, but you know what I’m talking about.
After several months, my physical health is great and I realize that my business, or something else, is sucking. Then I start going overboard with that. It seems hard for me to focus on more than one thing. If I’m working hard at business, I seem to almost forget that eating pizza and drinking coke everyday will have me looking like a cow in only a few short months. The problem continues…..
It’s such an easy trap to fall into. It’s hard to balance being healthy, learning new stuff, having enough fun with friends, sleeping enough, working hard but not overdoing it. Everyone can understand what they should do but very few people can do it. It’s so easy to be failing in at least one major area of life. Humans are great at failing. We don’t even have to try. Failure is our natural gift. (If that’s really true than I’d have to say that I’m incredibly gifted) We only have 24 hours in a day and it’s not enough. I honestly have no idea what I do with most of those hours…..
It’s actually not very difficult to be great in one area of life. It is however almost impossible to be just good in all the major areas. This is at least true in my own life and what I’ve noticed with other people.
Let me share a true story with you.
I know this guy who used to love to party. He would always go out and have a great time with his friends. His whole life was about having fun. He succeeded big time. People liked him. He was great to be around. He was interesting to talk to and he enjoyed his life. Of course his health and money situation sucked though because of his lifestyle.
He decided to pull a huge 180. He totally stopped drinking, he started getting up at 6:00 am everyday. He worked like a maniac. He’s been doing this for over 5 years now. He wanted to prove to himself and to the world (especially his girlfriend and father) that he wasn’t a loser and could succeed if he wanted to.
He now drives a super expensive European car and owns several houses. He’s rich. The self-discipline paid off. It worked. But there was unfortunately a huge price to pay. He’s BORING! It’s easy to see on his face that he’s working too much. His stories are no longer funny and he’s really sensitive. He wanted to succeed so badly that he lost his sense of humor. Everyone around him has noticed it. Even some of my friend’s parents commented on what happened. (It’s a bad sign when your friend’s mother says that your friend has become boring)
It’s not my life so I can’t judge whether or not those decisions were worth it. I just know that he used to just do whatever his instincts told him to do and then he changed into some guy who followed every possible little rule he could think of to make his life more boring.
I know that “the answer” is living somewhere in the middle of these extreme behaviors, but it’s hard. I’m still working on this kind of “balanced success” and I still don’t know the secret. If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it. Please be honest though; are you able to actually follow your own advice in your own life?
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