You could be dead next Friday

All you have to do is take away one quite important minute out of each day.

Isn’t it fascinating? You spend about a minute or so a day drinking water, and yet if this minute didn’t happen each day, you would be dead within a week. Yes, you also get water from food, but if you were to stop eating and just drink water each day, that minute of activity would keep you alive for weeks.

What got me thinking about this is the physical exercises I started doing recently. I was postponing them for a long time, with various excuses, all the while thinking what would be the best approach to doing them, thinking thinking thinking about something I should be doing. Once I actually started doing them, it took only a few days to notice a big change in my level of energy, alertness etc. and it’s only been getting better ever since.

So, when I finally had some actual doing to be legitimately thinking about, I realized that it took only a few hours a week to make a huge change, within days, in the rest of my everyday life. And yet, why was it so difficult for me to just do it?

I think one of the reasons is that I didn’t really feel and respect the simple rule of “do Y to achieve Z”. Respecting it would mean not wasting more time on planning how to do Y perfectly instead of simply doing Y. Or practically trying to make Y more difficult so that it will be an adequate challenge and a worthy story to tell: “I decided to achieve Z, but Y was such a grand challenge, and yet I managed to overcome it!”, instead of simply doing Y (or other worthy stories like “Yeah, I did Y for a few weeks back when I was in university. it really made me a Z person for a while. In fact, I’m still sort of Z-ish, really.”). Or daydreaming about how awesome achieving Z is, instead of simply doing Y. Or worrying about what other people would think about my doing Y, instead of simply doing Y.

Respecting it would mean that you actually feel the simple truth and greatness of “if you do Y, you will achieve Z”.

(Not to mention, it says a lot about us as a species that we manage to even argue about how to drink water – how many glasses per day, whether you can live only on sun’s energy only and so on.)

Y is Y. It’s simply there to be done, and neither it nor the people around you really care about your attitude towards it, or in fact if you’re going to do it or not. Do you spend hours every day thinking about what other people should be doing with their lives? Yes, friends and family support each other, but they’re not going to live your life for you. Active, continuous worry about someone is and should mostly be reserved for extraordinary circumstances (health etc.).

There is no grand story about you and Y and Z. There is simply Y, which you need to do to achieve Z. Once you achieve Z, you can actually feel and enjoy the new circumstances, and then there’s the next Y ahead.

Maybe it’s more complicated than then, but I wasted so much time on telling myself complicated stories about Y and Z, it’s extremely refreshing to take it to the other extreme. Right now I think that the one true, big boost in motivation comes from the experience of really feeling and respecting how much you will get from achieving Z if you were only to do the simple Y. I mean, there’s that one minute of activity a day that is keeping you alive. You could be dead next Friday! How many other seemingly small things could you do that would drastically change your life practically immediately?

So, Nike was really right.

6 Responses to “You could be dead next Friday”

  1. Nike says it all 😀

  2. Its the lack of immediate visible consequence that did it for me. Thas why I scaled it down – small exercise but on a daily basis instead of periodical gym annihilation. Eventually it became routine and I barely noticed it, so when the results finally arrived in about three months I had this feeling of “whoa! how did this happen?” instead of “dammit I STILL SEE NO RESULTS FROM ALL THE HARDCORE STUFF I DID! I quit!” 🙂

  3. 8 out of 10 NLP articles I find shallow, irritating, and pretty much repetitive. On the other hand (if I can call this an NLP article), I am happy to say that this is 1 of the 2 out of 10 that I find really witty and amusing, which additionally make me think deeper about all those simple truths.
    And if you even inspire me to continue writing my own blog, whoa, you’re on the roll. 🙂
    Good luck with Y-ing!

  4. @TheSentinel, Yes, small changes are easier to do and thus easier not-to-quit. I think a simple question each time we want to do something could be “Is it small enough not to quit it?” 🙂

    @Superbelt, Thank you for your nice comment! Please don’t call this an NLP article 🙂 Do tell if you pick up on your writing, and what eventually made you do it!

    • Okay, the mistake shall never be repeated again. : )
      On the other hand, I should be quiet now since I actually contemplated NLP for some time and even did a research paper on NLP in language teaching. (The abbreviation contains Neuro and Linguistic, how can it not be cool?) But I don’t think NLP is necessarily bad. It’s just people making it more shallow than it was ever supposed to be.
      So if I ever consider(ed) NLP to be cool, it’s because of people like you. Take it as a compliment. ; )


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