What’s wrong with me?
I was treading water in the vast ocean of life and it felt like I was about to sink.
What was it?
What was wrong?
In short – it was me.
For weeks, if not months, I’ve had a negative, nagging feeling inside.
I realised that I was avoiding things that would help me progress in life and it caused a build-up of inner anxiety – kind of like the anxiety you get when you realise it’s deadline day and you haven’t even started yet!
Covering the cracks
As you know I am a big fan of meditation, breathing and mind hacks – you name it, I’ve probably tried it.
The problem is, I’ve been using these techniques as way of fooling myself into comfortable routines.
Until a few weeks ago…
I listened to the audio book Can’t Hurt Me by ex-Navy SEAL, David Goggins, who has achieved some incredible mental and physical feats.
Although I don’t recommend running a 100-mile desert race on broken feet (yes, he actually did this!), I certainly do recommend picking the nuggets of gold from his mentality.
One phrase of his that stuck with me, probably because I like digging, was:
PICK UP THE SHOVEL!
The shovel is in reach. Why aren’t I digging?
All the meditating, breathing and reading in the world is not going to get that dam hole dug. It’s time to PICK UP THE SHOVEL AND DIG!
Whilst I was pussyfooting around the shovel, covering the cracks with “personal development,” the ground remained whole (hole-less).
This was the negative, nagging feeling inside.
I had been unconsciously lying to myself about my progress and somehow, deep-down, I knew it.
It took this one phrase to ignite my consciousness.
The accountability mirror
David also uses another technique to ignite awareness of “brain drift” – the accountability mirror.
When you look into the mirror every day, be brutally honest with yourself. Are you doing enough?
I had let things slip and the mirror told me the truth. “Your f*cking lazy, get your sh*t together and do what needs to be done!”
There are plenty of useful exercises in David’s book which I have used to create my own.
My technique is to purposely do the opposite of what my mind tells me (within reason of course):
- If my mind says it’s raining, I don’t want to run today, I run.
- If my mind says, don’t put your shoes away do it later, I put my dam shoes away.
- If my mind says, I don’t want to take a cold shower, I take a cold shower.
Your mind will always be attracted to the most comfortable, energy-efficient option.
That means your brain will beg you to sit on your ass, not tidy up and avoiding any sudden shocks.
But, in David’s words, “NOT TODAY MOTHERF*CKER, LETS GO GET YOUR SH*T ON!”
Do what needs to be done
A word of warning, to apply this, it’s important not to turn yourself into a busy fool.
I first establish what is important to me on a macro level, those are the things that need to get done, everything else is a bonus.
I still use all the tips and techniques I promote, but before I mindlessly run to them for comfort, I ask myself:
Am I using this technique to step over the shovel and avoid digging?
I think all of us know, deep down inside, what we should or need to be doing.
Stepping over the shovel and skirting around the spade will not get the hole dug.
Take a look in that mirror, be brutally honest with yourself and do what needs to be done.
PICK UP THAT DAM SHOVEL AND DIG!