Thank you for your continued support. To keep daily operations running, consider donating to Soul Anatomy.
By Matt Hearnden
Watch TV all day long.
I did this as part of a “day off” not too long ago.
I was excited for it. I love relaxing. And I’d worked hard all week. I deserved this.
The first few episodes were indulgent.
But then I felt wrong.
I felt guilty.
I was wasting time and I knew it. I found myself not even enjoying what I was watching. I was just watching because it was something to do.
I still didn’t listen to myself. I kept watching. I kept giving in to boredom.
I felt worse.
“I’m not even enjoying this,” I thought.
Perhaps I’m not capable of enjoying relaxation. Perhaps that’s my issue.
But I knew I didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing and the next day I was more motivated than I’d been in a while and I worked and worked and worked.
I was productive because I hadn’t been.
Do something boring.
I don’t love washing up. I don’t love vacuuming. I don’t love picking up all my clothes I insist on leaving on the floor and putting them away.
But these things must be done.
Sometimes I like to think of the quote “the way we do anything is the way we do everything.”
I write with care and love and passion and attention to detail and my best self.
What stops me applying that to anything I do? Wouldn’t my life be better if I did?
Also, doing boring things makes me realise how much I don’t want to be doing boring things and how much I’d rather be doing fun things.
When I’m washing up, or vacuuming, or tidying away my clothes, I want it to be done so I can do what I actually want to do.
Like write this post.
See how long you can spend on an app.
Instagram is a good one for this.
I love Instagram. Some of the pictures on there blow my mind. Especially my own.
But there’s a limit.
I find myself browsing and going into different profiles and looking at hot girls and, again, like watching TV, I find myself getting bored.
I find myself unconscious. I don’t even know what I’m doing and I get bored of doing it and yet I’m still doing it.
And that’s when I become conscious, and let myself stop, and let myself do something that’s actually important to me rather than wasting time looking at everybody else’s life.
Eat junk food.
I think I’m addicted to sugar. Or glucagon.
Why does junk food taste good?
That’s the wrong question.
What do I get out of eating junk food?
Happiness. It makes me feel good.
For a moment.
And then I feel guilty. And then I feel lethargic.
I like getting up early because I like working in the morning.
That becomes a lot harder when I eat junk food.
I don’t really care about the science behind it. When I eat healthier I feel better. When I feel better it’s easier to feel motivated. That’s what I care about.
When I eat junk food I know I’m giving myself less than I deserve.
I know I’m more.
Ignore your gut.
How do you feel when you ignore your gut?
I know how I feel.
Because I said “no” to myself.
When I failed to do “The Coffee Challenge” that’s exactly how I felt.
I knew I wanted to do it, I knew it was the right thing to do, and yet, I couldn’t.
I wouldn’t. Because I’d let my fear think it knew what was best for me.
And that hurt.
Because I knew that’s not who I wanted to be.
So, already full of iced coffee, I went to another coffee shop.
“I have to do it.”
I trapped myself. I guess that can be a good thing.
She told me the price.
This was it.
My gut or my fear.
My heart was pumping wildly. My nerves coursed.
But I’d already trapped myself.
“Can I have 10% off?”
I’d done it.
She smiled, and said there was nothing she could do, and I paid full price.
But I’d done it.
Because I’d once ignored my gut.
Listen to everybody else’s advice.
Because it’ll work and because it won’t.
It’ll work because most people give good advice.
Work hard. Pursue your dreams. Do what you love.
Be kind. Be humble. Choose love over fear.
Listen to your gut. Be who you are. Love yourself.
None of that is bad advice. It’s advice given by exceptionally successful people and by successful people and by unsuccessful people.
Why would listening to all of that not work?
It won’t work because your advice is your story.
Everybody has a different story. What worked for me might not work for you.
I also like this quote: “advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
I know I’ve done that. I know what needs to be done but I’ll ask someone in the hope they’ll say something different because then it will justify me not doing what I know needs to be done.
The mask I wear will be happy they’ve said something different because it will still be able to breathe.
The real me won’t be.
Put everybody above you.
I felt bored, trapped, unhappy.
Because everybody else mattered more than me.
They had to be happy. So what if I wasn’t happy? At least they were. That was more important.
I couldn’t put myself first. What if someone didn’t like what I was doing? What if they didn’t wholeheartedly agree with me? What if they stopped liking me?
I didn’t want answers to those questions and so I didn’t go there.
Until it led me to my lowest point.
I’d buried myself.
I’d forgotten I was a seed.
“I can’t keep doing this,” I thought.
I started putting myself first and I felt more powerful than I’d ever felt.
And more happy.
And more at peace.
All because I’d once put everybody else first.
Act on quotes.
I love quotes. They give me hope.
Hope that I can be as successful as the people who said them.
But that’s where I’d leave them. As hope.
How many people do you know who act on a quote?
How many people do you know who truly believe a quote applies to them?
How many people do you know who do more with a quote than post it to instagram?
Because that’s who I used to be.
I loved quotes but I thought “yeah, but…”
There was always an excuse.
There are too many successful people for me to make excuses.
There are too many successful people doing what they love for me to think I can’t.
Make a list of what’s important to you about life.
When I tell people I made a list of what was important to me about life I usually get the same reaction.
Perhaps they don’t believe how much it helps. Perhaps they don’t believe how much truth it reveals. Perhaps they’re scared because they know they’re not doing what’s important to them.
That’s exactly why I wanted to do one. Because I knew I wasn’t doing what was important to me and doing this list was surely the antidote.
I wrote “What’s important to me about life?” at the top of the paper. I wrote what was important to me about life.
When I’d finished, and put everything in order of importance, there was only one thought I had.
But we should never give up, right?
We should always persist. And work hard. And keep persisting and keep working hard.
And we should always want more, to do more, to be more.
But what about giving up judging ourselves? What about giving up saying “no” to who we are? What about giving up being someone we’re not?
I like giving up those things. I feel less and more.
Less full. More free.
It’s like when I first wanted to commit to writing 1,000 words every day.
Fear coursed. “What if I can’t?”
But I knew I was on the edge of something I wanted. If only I’d just take one more step. Then maybe I’d be the person I wanted to be.
Was it more important to listen to the fear or to me?
I gave up.
I gave up thinking I couldn’t do it. I gave up thinking about how hard it might be.
I don’t think I gave up the fear.
But I gave up listening to it.