The other day I realized how often my mindset sways at times. I can go to bed completely focused on one task and wake up the next day with a completely different notion in my head. When I was younger, this usually was related to what ‘passion’ I wanted in my life. I would pursue this new ‘passion’ with an intense fervor and gusto and would ultimately switch to another soon after the bold beginning.
This is the wrong way to approach ‘passions’ and ‘labor’ (when I say labor, I am talking about doing what you love to do, not chopping wood or carrying coal. Though some people…). When truly engaging in life changing behaviors, don’t be Icarus, be the Little Engine that could. Recently I read an article about how Icarus’s wings would not actually melt if he had only flown closer to the sun due to the drop in temperature. It’s interesting how people will try and use science to disprove the validity of certain myths and legends, but we’ll get to that other article later.
What I want to talk about today is the concept of doing. Doing is something that sounds much easier that it actually is. Especially ‘doing’ the right thing, which is the one activity at this point in time that validates, motivates, and fulfills you. The problem in modern day society is that there are so many activities which can take up your time. Facebooking, Youtube surfing, internet surfing, video games, television shows, and other resources are constantly knocking at your attention door and waiting to be let in. And if these activities do not line up with your goals and purposes then they can either be labeled as distractions, addictions, or time sucks.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I time suck some stuff away every single day. But the trick lies in not allowing these activities, which according to some bloggers and other productivity engineers is all a matter of structure, to take up too much time away from the labor of love which exists inside all of us that motivates, empowers, and fulfills. Finding your motivation and power is another another topic for another day (ya like that?).
So how do we stick to activities that we love and know are good for us?
I’ve found that internalising one concept has benefited me greatly in pursuing my ‘labors of love’ and has enabled me to reach heights that not many others are able to achieve: understanding that how you feel about how you proficient you are at things is usually not the truth. A quick description of the Dunning - Kruger Effect illustrates this perfectly:
Broadly speaking, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is defined as "a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability to recognize their [own] ineptitude."
The reverse of this effect is true as well: “Many skilled individuals feel that their skills are much lower than accurate”. I equate this to the image of the samurai (武士道 for the Chinese inclined) or kung fu (功夫) master who continuously trains until death. It appears that those who train incessantly even AFTER proficient become true masters, as mastery is a path that is simply deliberate practice built on tons of practice. In laymans terms this means that you need to work hard, work often, reflect on what you are doing and how it is benefiting your cause, then start the process all over again. We don’t have time for frustration, so push your feelings aside and continue on your path.