The Narrow Way

December 09, 2019 |
Image taken by MJ at Saguaro Lake in Arizona

Have you ever taken a class in High School or Uni and slacked off for most of the semester, only to kick it into turbo drive when the year is about to end? You start reaching out to classmates, going to study sessions, spending late nights cramming material. I was fortunate enough to have this work for me for a few of my college courses. There were also times where it didn’t work and I ended with a terrible grade. Both times left me exhausted, and after my third year of University, I vowed to never do that again. Unfortunately, that vow didn’t last long. I transitioned from procrastinating in school, to procrastinating in other aspects of my life. I made tons of excuses only to put things off, promising to get to them at another time. Those times never came and I ended up in a place where I didn’t like being. A place with a ton of half-realized goals and promises. Now I have made a promise that I intend to keep. A promise to right my wrongs and not to go back to procrastination and giving a half-assed effort. Like with school, I felt that I’ve fallen way behind. This realization has been a gift and a curse. I went from not giving an honest effort to putting in what feels like a 150% effort. I felt similar to the Greek mythology story of Icarus. For those not familiar with the story of Icarus, it is a story of a young man and his father who were imprisoned by a king. To escape, Icarus’ father made wings pieced together with wax and feathers and warned Icarus not to fly too low where the wings will get wet or too high where the wings will melt. I’ve been flying too high and feel as if my wings have been melting. After what feels like having fallen behind in life, I want to catch up badly. As discussed in my first article, there are many things I want to fix. Where before I was going backwards, I now feel myself heading in the right direction. The problem is, I want to get on the right track as soon as yesterday. In school, it’s quite easy to fuck up your GPA and oh so difficult to raise it back up again. That also parallels life, where it’s quite easy to fuck up finances, relationships and career and difficult to unfuck things. The road to ruin starts off wide and is easy to enter before eventually turning into a narrow place where it’s difficult to move. The road to freedom starts off narrow due to sacrifices that have to be made, but eventually the whole world opens up for you. The goal that I set out: to be a better person than the day before is one that starts off narrow but ultimately will bring the freedom that I desire. In my opinion, it gives me something to live for. Instead of being stagnant, I feel that I have more direction. A north star leading to a better life for myself. The problem that I have been facing is that I am pushing myself too far. Flying high but lacking balance. Burning out is no joke. I’ve seen plenty of people who set lofty goals only to come crashing down. Here are a few things that I’ve learned when goal setting: 1. Set manageable goals: My goals are definitely lofty and there is nothing wrong with setting difficult goals. Our neighborhoods, countries and our world has a lot of problems that will require people with lofty aspirations in order to change things. Always supplement lofty goals with incremental goals. In the case of losing weight, a goal I often hear is “I will lose X amount of weight by Y date” (Talk to your physician before embarking on a big weight loss journey). What can supplement that goal is “I will exercise for at least two minutes every day”. It’s very much doable to roll out of bed and do some air squats, pushups and situps for two minutes. If you decide to do more, you’ll be better off for it. 2. Don’t be too hard on yourself Chances are things will not go perfectly. Unexpected events happen all the time. When you can’t get something done, don’t be hard on yourself. That’s why it is important to set manageable goals that you’ll be able to accomplish more often than not. 3. Carry on It’s possible that when things do happen that take time away from your objectives, those objectives get put on the back burner and stay there. I found great value in The Two Day Rule that I came across on Matt D’Avella’s YouTube channel (linked below). From watching his video, I try to not let two days go by where I miss exercising, playing the guitar or studying Japanese The Two Day Rule -…