This is one statement that is constantly on my mind: I could do more; I could do better. No matter what I do, the moment I am done, I think it can be improved differently. This desire to constantly improve will probably stop me from having a regular job. Instead, I’d come up with automation, optimization, and whatnot to make things better until they work by themselves, and then I’d ask for another challenge to take.
The trick is: how can you get satisfied with less? There are two options you have here – from a sceptical point of view:
- Less in a material way. This one is easy to control (for me). I just don’t go shopping for “whatever” because if I do, I definitely find things I need / always need. I do targeted shopping: I want a dress, I know the model, the colour, and the general price range, and I am really targeted. I don’t get distracted by other little things I so want. If this doesn’t work, you should try to ask yourself a few things:
- Do I need this?
- Do I need this NOW?
- Will this actually bring me more benefits?
- Will this be something I use or need in a few months?
- Is this something I always thought about getting and never had the budget for?
- Will this bring other little benefits on the side? (e.g. the laptop 🙂 )
- If I use this, will I decrease my expenses in another direction? (e.g. wifi versus cell phone)
- Less in an intellectual way. I don’t even know what this means! Does this mean that I should stop learning? That is like saying “give up life” as that’s the primary purpose of (my) life. If it means simplifying, focusing and prioritizing, we have a discussion. Not an easy one, but we can discuss it and let’s see what I could do better:
- Simplification: I don’t have to write a complete academic report for all research I do (right, keep saying that to yourself); sometimes a few good, primary sources are enough data to get me to your conclusion (especially if I already got to it by logical reasoning). So … simple!
- Focus: I have 1-2-3-4-5…-gazillion things to do. But doing this one thing I am working on right now should be my only focus. I can throw my mind out there and win other territories as soon as I’m done, but I won’t forget the now. The now is all that matters … now.
- Prioritization: ah, this one is a bummer. I want to become a neuroscientist one day. And, of course, writing was always one of my passions. Oh, and I would totally love to paint. And designing websites that are pretty much like painting. Let’s not forget about studying more business, and I love sports. I have to do sports, learn about them, love them and find everything there is about them. I have a terrible shoulder; let’s become a specialist in the acromioclavicular joint and find a fix. And I could go on forever. To get rid of all these things, I developed a time management schedule, otherwise, I’d still be reading about the AC joint above at this right moment. But in the end, the main objective should be clear and specific, and prioritized targets should be taken out of it.
But then again, when the greatest free climber soloist of all time, Alex Honnold, says something like this, who am I to argue? You and I can definitely do more if he doesn’t do enough:
“What character attribute do you like least about yourself?
Sloth. Sometimes I feel like I ought to be doing something productive, but I just can’t find the motivation. I always think I should be doing more; I just don’t always have it in me. I wish I did.”
Check out the photos below if you want to know what he’s doing. And yes, this whole post was mainly to introduce him to you 🙂
Image source: Alex Honnold’s official FB page
Image source: Adventure Journal
Image source: Alex Honnold NorthFace official page
Image source: Never Stop Exploring
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