Are You Bored Yet?
Well are ya punk?
One thing that separates the pros from the amateurs is the ability to be bored.
As we do things over and over–even things we really love–they become easier, more automatic, and as a result…more boring.
The trick is two-fold:
1) How can you make it less boring by adding some zest and variety?
2) How can you make sure you show up each and every day, despite being bored?
Let’s start with #2.
Anyone can do a thing when they really feel motivated to. What’s much harder, and MUCH more important, is to do that thing when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
Sitting down to write when you just feel like laying in bed on your phone proves that your mood doesn’t determine your ability to get work done. A doctor doesn’t “doctor” only when they feel like it.
It can sound dramatic to some…but the only real way to get lasting fulfillment in what you do is to act like a professional and show up each and every day.
You don’t feel like practicing your instrument? Good; sit down and work on your scales. You don’t feel like exercising? Good; get your ass to the gym. You don’t feel like reaching out to that family member? Good; pick up the phone.
Doing things when you don’t feel like it doesn’t make them any easier. What it does is solidify the fact that this is what you do.
It’s funny to me how the people who tell me it’s okay to skip days at the gym are often people who never go themselves. The people who tell me it’s okay to not be productive all the time are often people who aren’t running their own business. The people who tell me it’s okay to splurge and eat what I want are often people who don’t take great care of their health in the first place.
(I agree that breaks and rest are super important. This is just a pattern I’ve noticed.)
A professional doesn’t feel like doing the thing any more than the amateur. They just don’t let that feeling dictate whether or not they do it.
As for #1–adding more flavor to the things you do regularly…
As the weeks go by, how can you make incremental changes to increase the difficulty (and therefore your interest) of your consistent habits?
This is why gym-goers gradually increase the weight they lift, why people decide to read two chapters a day instead of just one, why some set their alarms to wake up 15 minutes earlier.
To ensure that we don’t get stuck in a boring rhythm, we have to make things interesting. Challenging, but not so challenging that we give up.
Take anything that you do all the time. How could you make a small change to make it more engaging?
For me: I set a rule a month ago that I had to go to jiujitsu at least once a week. Now that that has been engrained in my routine, I’ve set the rule to going at least twice a week.
Eventually, I’ll bump it up to three. Then four.
There are plenty of weeks where I go every day. But there are also weeks where I don’t go at all. With these rules in place, my mood is taken out of the equation. I don’t have the option to skip a week.
I care about jiujitsu. Therefore, I have to be a professional and go. It’s what I do.
Where do you want to be a professional?
What do you want to do? Better yet, who do you want to be?