It’s been two weeks since I published a blog post here and 12 days since I did so anywhere. I define the factors driving that situation as “The Struggle.” While The Struggle may look different in your life, I’m fairly certain it’s there and gnaws at your psyche each and every day like it does mine. The Struggle takes many forms but for me its most insidious incarnation is to make me want to run from two things. First, it makes me want to settle for a modest level of achievement and then it wants to make me feel guilty when I choose to slow down or relax for a day.
It’s easy to quit
Quitting is the easiest thing in the world to do. You can do it by choice; by simply uttering the words “I quit” (and meaning them). Or in it’s more complicated form, quitting looks like promising to do something and then never making the time to complete that commitment. But sometimes quitting is the right thing to do. Therein lies one of the foundations of The Struggle.
The other foundation of The Struggle is convincing yourself that you are far too busy to take a day off. I’m not talking about a 30-minute mini-vacation from work, but an entire 24-hour period where you do no work and feel no guilt about the decision to do so. It’s easier to keep working than to realize that the break to enjoy a hobby will in fact make you more productive when you return to the fold.
Understanding The Struggle
One of the ways to defeat The Struggle up front is to learn to say no. Sometimes “no” can be as simple as “I’d like to help you but not today.” At other times, it can be more difficult to tell a friend or business associate, “I’m sorry but that’s just not something we do.” Those two simple sentences, however, can help you win over The Struggle. Saying no up front is just a form of planning for success. By not saying no, you are setting yourself up for failure and for having to say “I quit” in the future. Worse yet, somewhere down the road you might just ignore and not complete your task, thus letting someone or an entire team down.
The other side of The Struggle is guilt about taking time off when there is “so much to do.” I’m writing this blog post after an almost 48-hour break from work. During that time period, the world did not stop spinning, my bank accounts did not empty and no one died (as a result of me not working). On the other hand, I had a fun-filled weekend surrounded by family and friends. I got to drive my car, listen to good live music and hang out with people whose company I truly enjoy.
Listen to, but don’t heed The Struggle
The Struggle will never go away completely. That means you will have to learn to listen to it, but also to discount the bill of goods it’s trying to sell your psyche. Time and experience have taught me that the voice of The Struggle is quite frankly full of it. Listen, but then laugh and know you are above The Struggle today.
Now it’s your turn. How does The Struggle manifest itself for you?
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