The theme of the past week has been that I’m discovering the battlefield is all in my mind. The hardest things I’ve had to do last week were all related to wrangling my mind into compliance.
It puts me in the mind of a quote I heard from Lebron James about how being tired is a frame of mind. While I don’t know if I 100% believe that to be true I can say that my ability to accomplish things is deeply tied to my mental fatigue or discomfort than any true physical limit being reached.
Last week was an exercise in meeting the self-imposed limits of my mindset.
By brushing up against the limits of my standard mindset I hope that I’m in the first stages of a dramatic change in what I’m capable of.
How do I imagine this happening?
Phase 1: Find the limits of my mindset – run into the things that make me uncomfortable. Notice the things I do to escape that discomfort. What am I willing to do to prevent myself from experiencing the mentally tough tasks that I must complete? What compensatory things do I do to make myself feel better? What money do I spend to make myself feel better? What story do I tell myself about these behaviors?
I’m knee deep in this phase. This is the phase where I start to ask myself questions that seem to revolve around self-care and work/life balance.
Not that these are bad questions – but in my case often these are questions I use to grease the wheels toward quitting.
While those things are definitely important – what is more important for the future of my family and I, is that I learn how to achieve the goals that I’ve set for myself. Or at least give the pursuit of these goals my absolute best effort.
How can I actually know what my best effort is until I have given absolutely everything I have to the goal in front of me?
So what is the goal I’m looking to achieve?
- I want to learn how to work hard while maintaining mental flexibility and toughness (a.k.a Not Quitting until goal is achieved)
- I want to pay off some consumer debt.
This year we finally had the celebration for our COVID postponed wedding and managed to rack up around $23k of debt on two different credit cards.
In the two months since the wedding I put in some extra shifts and budgeted very precisely to be able to pay off $10,500 of our wedding debt. However, we’re heading into month 3 and austerity historically hasn’t served as a great long term plan for me. Right around this time I usually end up letting my foot up off the pedal.
This time I want it to be different.
That means that continuing to work long days is the plan of attack for me. What started as working Saturday’s to gain a couple of extra dollars has started to grown into 16 hour days where I work two jobs in order to speed up the process.
For me, 16 hour days have a special ability to play with my mental toughness. Usually ten hours into a sixteen hour shift I can come up with all sorts of reasons why this is no longer a good idea. The other thing that can happen is that I start to make all sorts of unnecessary purchases on account of the fact that you “deserve it”. All this of course ends up just short circuiting any progress you’ve made financially.
It’s very interesting that a lot of my posts this week have all been related to mental health and the challenges we face when we choose to do hard things. Focusing on growing the mental toughness necessary to accomplish the tasks that will significantly move my life forward has been intriguing and helpful. It’s allowing me to get a 30,000 foot view of my habits and weaknesses.
Now that I have a family I’m feeling like if I ever want to experience the life that I’ve dreamed of – I have to become a better man. A more patient man. A man who is capable of being able to accomplish more. A man who may have to suffer more without spewing his pain onto others. A man who is also still able to love and express joy.
A man who is deeper than the man who I am today.
I know that one missing part of me achieving the things I want to is that I need to find communities to plug into that will support me in getting to the outcome that I desire. My family is a great support but I’ll need to seek out men who are on similar journey’s and who can inspire me to be more than I am today.
Fly or Fall.