“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”
― Steven Pressfield
Learn to Do What Is Not Easy
Often times, I’m challenged with distractions.
Whether is doing mundane tasks such as cleaning my living space or wasting time on watching movies, these activities aren’t serving me because I’m using them as ways to keep myself busy, so I don’t have to do what truly needs to be done.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times to mop the floor, clean the toilet, or watch my favorite movie.
The problem arises when I choose to do them to escape what I know desperately needs to be completed.
Even in the midst of keeping myself busy with those mindless tasks, my subconscious still thinks about the very thing that my heart truly desires.
Even the simplest things such as not brushing my teeth before going to bed can cause misalignment in my life. That’s because not having a sound oral health practice is incongruent with my core value of healthy living.
But in those decisive moments, I would give myself the reason that I’m too tired or sleepy to do it. I make excuses such as:
“Brushing my teeth will wake me up and I won’t be able to fall asleep fast.”
Another narrative I tell myself can be:
“Your teeth are plenty healthy, so you don’t need to brush it every day.”
These are all stories I tell myself to let me off the hook. But in reality, I’m taking the easy way out.
Not cleaning my teeth may be a trivial example, but these “slips” can compound quickly into bigger activities, such as not exercising or educating myself in areas of my interest.
Despite the resistance and distractions, the only way for me to experience peace and fulfillment is to actually do the very task which my highest self desires, even if it scares me.
Various Forms of Distractions
Despite knowing what you want to do, you’re constantly challenged with many types of distractions. They can include:
Even exercise can be a form of distraction if you do too much of it, and are using it as a form of hindrance.
Because deep down, you’re afraid of delving into the work your heart truly desires. Those types of fear may include self-doubt, perfectionism, or failure.
They are all of the same and fall into the category of insecurity – not being good enough.
To escape the pains of not diving into your work, you numb yourself with your choice of coping mechanism.
During the moment, you feel great. But afterward, reality sets in.
And again you’re forced to face the truth. You may start to ask yourself:
- “Why am I trying to avoid the pain and suffering?”
- “What is it that truly makes me fulfilled?”
- “Why am I afraid to face what I truly desire?”
Unless you start doing what you deeply want, you won’t have inner peace and happiness.
By helping others and providing positive value in the world, you’ll start to feel fulfilled and gain a strong sense of purpose.
That’s the cure for your lack of meaning and sense of self.
Cultivate Delayed Gratification
With the modern culture that’s obsessed with immediate results, it’s easy to give in and choose instant gratification.
In the first Stanford Marshmallow Test, 600 kids ranging from age four to six participated in the experiment. The purpose of this study was to determine when the control of delayed gratification was developed.
The children were given two options:
Option 1: eat the treat of their choice (oreo cookie, marshmallow, etc.) now.
Option 2: wait fifteen minutes without giving into temptation and have two treats.
And the test results?
Only one-third of the kids chose to wait and have two marshmallows.
These outcomes are congruent with most people in modern society.
With the advanced technology at our fingertips, we can have almost anything we desire in an instant. Whether it’s shopping online, watching movies, or posting your favorite picture, we can do it in a matter of seconds.
But with the natural tendency of our environment, we are challenged to do the opposite, choosing for delayed gratification – the ability to wait to obtain something that one wants.
Although it’s extremely difficult to do what is not easy, it’s nonetheless possible.
By harnessing the power of choosing for delayed gratification, you’ll learn to enjoy the hard work that associates with the long and lasting effects.
Take health for example. Most people want a healthy, muscular and strong body. But they’re not willing to put in the time and work to achieve those results.
Instead, they search for shortcuts by following the latest fad diets or exercise regimens. Knowing this, marketers target those type of people and use headlines such as “Quick Six Pack Abs ” or “Lose Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days.”
The truth is this:
To get the healthy body you want, follow a sensible exercise plan and eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods.
Understand that it will require some time to see positive results.
Anything worthwhile in this world takes time and effort to achieve.
Therefore, you must put in the work and earn what you want.
Ultimately, it’s not about the results you get, but it’s about the person you’re becoming.
With the most brilliant minds in the world working on marketing, you’re constantly bombarded with the desire for instant gratifications.
It’s a tough battle to win, but it’s not impossible.
You must be conscious of the habits that are pulling you away from your immediate goals, the results you want, and the man you want to become.
Start by removing only one negative activity you do on a daily basis. Eventually replace that distraction with an empowering habit, such as educating yourself by reading books or listening to podcasts.
Success is growing and making progress towards a meaningful goal.
By doing the things which you know you must do is your solution to fighting against distractions.
Get started by taking the first step.
Let the momentum propel you forward and stay in motion.
Please share this article with anyone who you think may find it valuable.
If you have any questions and/or comments on distractions, please leave a comment below or send me an email.
Want to become a stronger version of yourself?
Start here with your gift!
Mischel, Walter; Ebbesen, Ebbe B. (October 1970). “Attention in delay of gratification”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 16 (2): 329–337. doi:10.1037/h0029815.