One of the greatest and most dangerous truths about the world we live in is that we have access to endless opportunity: places to be, places to see, people to meet, things to do. We are in an age of hyperstimulation, where virtually everything is at our disposal, and everything is at our disposal virtually. As a result, we place immense pressure on ourselves to seize as many of these opportunities as possible, as often as possible.
It’s a lot… and sometimes, “a lot” can become “too much.” When this perceptual shift happens, one option in particular tends to rear its ugly head: the option to quit.
I’ll confess: more than once, I’ve thought about abandoning this 31-day challenge. (Pause for effect.) As encouraging as it has been to see the bracketed numbers on each post creep up towards the coveted 100.00%, finding (or, rather, making) time to research, write, and revise 500 words each day has only become marginally easier over time.
I am constantly faced with doubt: is anyone reading what I’m writing? Have I picked the right topic? Is spending hours labouring in front of my laptop worth sacrificing opportunities to experience the new city – and country – I’m living in? Is this really a productive use of my time?
Now, this is not me saying, “Hello, Internet… please validate me!” Not in the slightest. This is me telling you that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes. It’s not great, but it’s normal.
I really enjoyed this Huffington Post article by Rick McDaniel, author of ‘5 Habits of Happy People.’ McDaniel shares three very pragmatic strategies to help ditch the itch to quit:
Boundaries are important, especially with the advent of smart phones and push notifications. We need time to recharge our batteries (and when I say batteries, I’m not talking about cell phones). McDaniel puts it best: when we deny ourselves breathing room, we don’t thrive – we simply survive.
Up until about a month ago, I was sleeping with my iPhone under my pillow and waking up in the middle of the night to check and respond to e-mails and IMs. I justified this behaviour by telling myself that the time difference made it such that I might not otherwise get to connect with friends, family, and clients “in real time,” but that’s a very thin argument.
Apparently the average person encounters 25 adversities per day. That really gives new meaning to the phrase “Life’s Tough,” doesn’t it? The article goes on to state that the average increases for two groups: single parents and – you guessed it – entrepreneurs.
Let’s do some math: I’ve been alive for 10,432 days. (Side note: WHAAAT?!) With 25 adversities daily, this means I’ve emerged victorious (or at least survived) 260,800 times over.
If that’s not a scientific pat on the back, I’m not sure what is.
My point is this: shit happens to all of us. It’s one of those unfortunate-but-true Facts of Life.
If a practice or situation is no longer serving you, replace “quit” with “improvise.” Human beings are surprisingly resilient creatures (see above), and although we may not have control over the challenges we will face in our lifetimes, we do have control over how we react and respond to them.
I really liked the question McDaniel puts forth in his article: “What can I do to contain or limit the reach of this adversity?”
A new angle, approach, or attitude might be just the ticket to perseverance.
If I may, I’d like to add one more to the list:
The world feels a lot brighter when you do.
How do you prevent burnout and temper the burning desire to quit?