Everyone has faith

It’s easier to have faith when you can see evidence. That’s why it’s so difficult to take our first step. We have never done this before and the outcome is uncertain.

We want to see the path lit from A to Z, but alas, there are no guarantees.

So, we hesitate, we blink. We don’t think we are good enough. We seek reassurance that everything will be okay. What talk ourself into believing what we have is what we get. Don’t be stupid. Don’t risk it.

Faith is having hope for things we cannot see. The evidence comes after we accept the challenge of taking that step forward. But first, we must lean in and hope someone will catch us.

When we don’t decide, someone else will make the decision for us. Until we have faith in ourselves, we put our faith in others.

Process over product

Why do I publish one blog post every day?

Because once you can show your bad writing, good writing is around the corner.

I don’t publish because it’s perfect, or that I am ready–I do it because it must be done.

It is a practice. Not the kind of practice of shooting free throws alone in the gym. The kind of practice that revolves around process.

Showing up, again and again, producing your best work.

Here, I made this and I hope it changes you. It’s a gift.

If it doesn’t work, I have another opportunity to do it again tomorrow.

It won’t be for everybody but it can be for somebody.

It your turn of every moment of every day. Don’t waste it.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Well, did your 2015 self guess right?

Unlikely.

We spend a ton of emotional labor making a plan for everything we do. Going to lunch? Putting together a proposal? Asking someone to go on a date? We make a plan.

We make plans based on predictions. The problem is our predictions are often wrong. And despite all of our knowledge we have accumulated, the future is changing faster than we can see.

Here’s the thing about plans:

Just because we really want to do something it doesn’t mean we are entitled to it. That is a harsh reality considering our up and coming generation has heard for many years, “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try either. When we commit to the work, we are guaranteeing a result. Perhaps the outcome will be disappointing and we won’t be successful in our endeavor. But if we don’t try, then we will fail.

Instead of making a plan, we should be focused on making a commitment.

Volume

Repetition builds evidence.

One blog post per day, every day…

Going to the gym five days per week…

Investing in a low cost index fund for 30 years….

Eventually, the volume stacks and you have built a body of work.

It’s easy to have faith that another idea will come for the next blog post when you’ve been doing it for years.

Same when you commit to going to the gym or investing in your retirement.

“What’s in it for me?”

No one hesitates to help a person who’s drowning in a pool.

We don’t stop and ask, “What’s in it for me?”

When someone needs our help in an emergency, we are quick to act.

So, why is it difficult to help someone when it isn’t an emergency?

When we have time to think about if we are in the mood, we are less likely to take a posture of generosity.

Emergency or not, it is no different. Either we are someone who solves problems or consider it to be is someone else’s.

Where do ideas come from?

Some suggest it comes from the ether. Others say from the muse.

But I think we are asking the wrong question. A better one: Have you ever told a funny joke?

Of course, you have. Everyone has! So, if you are capable of telling a funny joke once, you can do it again.

Good ideas (like jokes) come to us all the time. The problem is we don’t know where to put them.

I publish one blog post per day for several years now. Since I have committed to this practice, I am always looking for more content. The ideas come and I know where to put them.

To circle back to the beginning, we first commit to a practice then we will have somewhere to put the ideas to good use.

No practice, no placement.

The voice in our head

The voice in our head is strong. We’re excited to go to an event and now we’re stuck on the escalator.

That feeling is tension. Tension isn’t easy to push away. Especially, when we are waiting for others.

And yet, tension is so powerful it changes how we feel about the event. We worry that we are not going to make it. The whole day is now ruined. The world is going to come down crashing.

Despite the best efforts of the rational part of our brain, it is slow to react. The irrational part doesn’t know that this temporary delay is that–temporary.

The voice in our head has and continues to keep us alive. It’s what we count on to swerve out the way when a car cuts us off. It also betrays us.

The lizard brain is this: Perfect as a tool to help us react but never to bargain with.

Always short

We all wish we had more money, time, energy, motivation, education, reassurance…

The things we don’t have can’t help us solve the challenges before us.

Instead of spending our finite attention on wishing things to be different, we can turn our focus on seeing the reality of our circumstances and how we are going to push through.

What we don’t have makes us grateful for what we do.

If it bleeds, it leads

The industrial world has never been safer. But that isn’t what our brains are telling us.

Our anxiety is higher than ever. Many, if not most, believe the world is heading in the wrong direction.

To offer some perspective:

Our brains have a filter. That filter is pessimistic by design. It is how we have survived for as long as we have. To seek out what doesn’t fit in. To look for danger.

Next, good news doesn’t sell papers. The old adage, “If it bleeds, it leads” is what keeps us tuned in to see what can happen next. If we believed the world was safe, there would be no reason to keep scrolling.

Add in our social media/doomsday 24-hour news cycle, we are not designed to be flooded with this much negative news. Our heightened state causes us to fear what we can’t imagine.

And finally, most of us haven’t actually been to the other side of the world but that doesn’t stop us from being afraid of it.

“What could have been?”

We mourn for people/things/experiences that we have lost.

Part of the reason why grief takes time to process is because we end up spending quite a bit of it filling a hole that can’t be replaced–trying to replace the irreplaceable.

Sometimes we try to numb the pain. Sometimes we avoid it all together. The answer is perhaps different for everyone. But I think what snaps us back quicker is a great awakening of some sorts. A purpose. A call to action. Call it the spirit or a moment of clarity.

Despite what you’ve lost, the world still needs you and your contribution. To fill a need or solve a problem for someone else.