One of my readers dealt out a little tough love in the comments of last week’s post. He thinks I am sounding defeated, lacking passion, feeling sorry for myself, not being a man of my word, and being a quitter….
I hear what he is saying
Many of my recent posts have focused on the dark side of habit building and learning. Overcoming inertia, learning plateaus, and relying on your strengths. The truth is that my writing often mirrors what I am experiencing in my life and I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that the last couple months have been tough.
My family has been sick all winter, we have taken multiple vacations involving long distance travel which disrupt habits and routines, my sweet little girl has turned into a challenging little three year old, my happy baby boy is just starting to crawl and get his first teeth, my responsibilities at work have increased, and barre chords are still kicking my ass!
Lets be clear here. I am not making excuses. I am merely stating the facts. We all face challenges in our lives and it is how we respond to them that that defines our character.
Where is the passion?
I have plenty of passion. I am passionate about my family and friends, about constant self improvement, and about adding value to the world through my personal and professional work. Writing and guitar fit into that equation but they are hardly the number one priority for me. I have many goals, interests, hobbies, and commitments pulling me in different directions and I try to balance all of them.
My primary responsibility is to take care of my wife and children and make sure I give them the time and attention they deserve. In order to be the best man for my family I need to take care of myself; to eat healthy, sleep well, and be physically and mentally fit. In order to provide for my family I have a full-time job as a biomedical engineer which requires an intense amount of focus and energy. Only after those major commitments are taken care of can I allow myself to indulge my passions for guitar and writing.
Who’s talking about quitting?
There are plenty of sites that talk only about the successes. When you read them they make it sound like they never stumble and that it is always sunshine and flowers. When I read those sites I smell bullshit. The truth is that everyone struggles sometimes and to ignore that side of reality is dishonest.
I share my thoughts, feelings and opinions on what it takes to do something difficult. Learning a musical instrument in mid-life is something many people want to do, but sadly it isn’t something that many people actually do.
I have been pretty clear about the state of my goals and my plan to continue working towards them in 2013. If anyone is interested they can actually track my progress on my guitar, writing and blog posts beeminders and I recently edited and posted my 250 hours of Deliberate Practice video.
If it was easy everyone would be doing it
I know how difficult it is to motivate to do something that you really want to do but doesn’t come easily to you. To practice daily and progress in a skill. To change your diet and lose weight. To exercise regularly and get in shape. To write and publish your work regularly. I have made progress in all these areas but still struggle to maintain forward momentum and avoid sliding backwards.
I have had my fare share of setbacks, lost momentum, or set my goals too high. I have hit learning plateaus and I have lost interest. I know I am not the only one in the world that has experienced this.
We all have people in our life or that voice in our head that says “it isn’t that difficult” or “you just need to try a little harder.” I appreciate that you may already be trying as hard as you can and may still be struggling. I am passionate that you keep trying.
I want you to throw out this idea of perfection and indulge in the idea of good enough. I want you to realize that new habits don’t come easily to most of us but there are techniques to make them easier to adopt. I want you to see me as an example of someone working through these challenges to achieve my own goals.
I want you to share your own story in the comments
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
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Who Wants To Be A Master? I Want To Be Good Enough