Before somebody can make a change to their health and their happiness, their brain has already constructed a picture of reality in which change is possible or not. Basically, this predicts whether or not they’ll be able to make that change.
Some people see a world in which they’re only their genes and their environment; so they can watch a ton of TED Talks, they can read a ton of books, but they won’t actually incorporate any of those new changes into their lives…
A lot of frustration comes from us being irrationally optimistic about either the goal that we’re creating or the speed and the time it will take to get there. I have a great little cartoon that someone sent me on Twitter: A rhinoceros is on a treadmill, and it’s sweating and running as fast as it possibly can, and it’s looking up at this poster of this beautiful unicorn. So it’s trying to run as fast as it can to be a unicorn, and inherently it’s creating greater levels of frustration, because it’s not a unicorn, it’s a rhinoceros, and it should be the best rhinoceros that it can be.”
“I don’t know who I am, but I do know who I’m not.”
I was taking my walk today. It was sunny , but we had a thunderstorm roll through last night. On my way to the park, I realized the sidewalk was caked in mud. I had already left footprints in the mud, but the footing was getting worse as I kept going. Not only was the way ahead muddy, but there was standing water on top of the squishy mud. I’m clumsy, so I get really anxious when the footing gets bad. So I had to make a decision - walk forward through the treacherous, mud-splattered sidewalk or go backward and find a drier path to my destination.
I backed up and found a safer way to go, adding minutes to my trek but also ensuring my neck remained unbroken and my new health insurance remained unused.
I thought about how my professional life in the past year has been just like my walk. I used to be a senior technical writer. Then I tried something different by becoming a proposal writer. I lost my job to the economic downturn and now I’m once again a senior technical writer.
Am I going backward? No, I’m just getting my footing in an industry I’ve been successful in and preparing myself for rewarding opportunities in the near future. If you look for jobs online, you’ll see a lot of opportunities for technical writers and not many for proposal writers. Career experts see a bright future for those in the technical field. I can use my technical expertise in a number of different industries and can consider opportunities throughout the world.
So why would I go back to something I left several years ago? What was the point of changing careers if I’m now going back?
I became a proposal writer because I felt I could use my technical and creative skills in one role. I did this, but not only did I find out I’m a very creative and persuasive writer, I also found I missed the simplicity and stability of being a technical writer. I also became a blogger in the past few years, which is far more rewarding to my creative ambition than being a proposal writer.
I wouldn’t be a blogger without the lessons I learned as a proposal writer, but I wouldn’t be a blogger if I were still a proposal writer. It took losing my creative role to make me find a new creative role I like much better.
We get so focused on progress and instant gratification that we sometimes ignore the long-term ramifications of our actions. Cutting corners might help you progress but may keep you from progressing in the future. You may make it forward another inch on your present path, but also consider the benefit of taking a few steps back to take many more steps forward in the future.
“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
“It’s okay to be a glow stick; sometimes we need to break before we shine.”