Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What are you willing to suffer for?

The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Warren Buffett

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

I have to confess, I am a consumer of all things psychology. Lengthy books. Simple articles. Pop quizzes about which Harry Potter character I most resemble psychologically.

It’s sort of a guilty pleasure.

Recently I came across the idea highlighted in the title of this essay. In each instance you say to yourself, “I don’t have time” when you put off doing something you want to do, rephrase it to “I don’t make time.”

Seems simple enough. Probably an idea you could find on a couple dozen Pinterest boards.

But I think it’s a bigger idea than that. Perhaps one so big it needs looking into.

But I’ll start with myself.

I recently read a great book called “The Subtle are of Not Giving a F*ck.” It’s a popular book and I’m not going to rehash the whole thing here. But there was one concept he discussed that I couldn’t get out of my head.

Don’t ask yourself what you want. That’s too easy. Ask yourself what you’re willing to suffer or struggle for.

So if I want to be in great shape, I’ve got to be willing to suffer the pain of going to the gym on a rainy morning when I don’t feel like getting out of bed.

If I want to find a great relationship, I’ve probably got to kiss a few metaphorical frogs and suffer through a few bad dates along the way to appreciate the right person. And even more likely, I may have to suffer through some serious self-examination about mistakes I’ve made in my past relationships.

So what AM I willing to suffer for?

I ask myself this every day now.

The truth is, health and appearance IS a source of stress for me. And yet I can always seem to rationalize skipping the gym and ordering a pizza. I work late. It’s raining. There’s something good on Netflix. My exercise gear smells funky (that one is sort of legit).

But the truth is, these are just excuses. I don’t MAKE time for exercise because I’m not always willing to suffer.

And as Mr. Buffett says, the chains of habit are too light to be felt. Until they’re not anyway.

So yes, I have been to the gym three days in a row this week. I suffered each time with the alarm clock, the rain, and yes, the exercise gear. But I made it, and I felt a lot better afterwards.

And I think a lot more about my time now. The truth is, I lost another dear friend recently who was way too young to go. I wish I could say he was the first, but the truth is, I’ve lot at least a dozen friends way too soon to health problems in their 30’s and 40’s.

It all goes so fast.

And like Gandalf says in Lord of the Rings (geeky reference), “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us.”

I am including a powerful video about jellybeans as a final reminder of this concept. This is a fascinating reminder of what we REALLY do with our time.

It scared me straight like one of those shows where the punk kids get sent to prison for the day. I include it as a gentle reminder to myself and to everyone.

Make the most of your time.