Some days I'm driven to excel, to maximize my potential, and to put things into the world. The ambition to make stuff. To be industrious, generative.
Other days all I want to do is hang out with my family, hear a cat purr, smell the pines, and feel a breeze on my face.
It used to make me crazy that some days were one way and some days were the other way and that I couldn't control when which day would be which. I used to worry that I'd gotten lazy somehow.
And then I realized: what if it doesn't matter on a day-to-day basis? What if I just go with how I feel and stop trying to optimize everything? What if I went with it when I'm feeling generative, but also went with it when I"m not? And maybe I squeeze every drop out of the industrious days in order to give myself a break on the other days.
I bet if I lived like that I would end up being more productive per week than I am trying to have more rigid/normal boundaries.
I saw this video about Lionel Messi, the incredible soccer/futball player. I know very little about soccer, but this guy is amazing. One of the best players of all time. Possibly the best.
And the dude walks all the time.
He looks lazy.
Unathletic and unsportsmanlike and bored.
And then all of a sudden he sprints and scores and wins the game. If you sneezed you'd miss it..
It turns out he's just watching and waiting and conserving himself.
Like a lion standing on the savannah just watching the zebra, waiting for an opportunity. And the he pounces and it's over.
Sure, maybe he can get away with all the walking because he wins games, but maybe he wins games because he walks. Because he listens to himself.
Most things are like that.
If you can get results, people stop caring too much about how you do it.
Two years ago I changed careers entirely. Took a left turn after getting out of the SEAL Teams and now I'm a software engineer.
I've been working my face off for two years to learn this whole new trade and I'm still very, very new - but I've recently crossed this inflection point where I feel like I'm actually worth the pay.
Like I can carry more than my own weight now.
I don't feel like I'm scamming everyone anymore.
I can get results now, I'm confident of it, so I feel like I have the freedom to be more myself again. More like a lion. And I know that feeling means I'm just going to improve even faster.
And then I wonder how much faster I would've learned if I just gave myself the freedom to be myself from the beginning.