The day I discovered how to focus on what is relevant my life changed. I used to waste a great deal of time on the ‘hope’ that what I am doing will bring me some sort of investment in return on my time spent on a certain project, book, or person.
Now I am acutely aware of what I am doing, and by simply reminding myself by asking why I am doing what I am doing I am able to sharpen my focus and attend to things that matter.
“Patience is a virtue” we always hear this saying and yes, it holds value. Good things come to those who wait. However, I would like to point out that if you are not doing the right things then waiting will simply prolong the inevitable, and that is not getting to your intended result.
My girlfriend was reading a book and she was about 1/3 of the way through her book. Nothing that was interesting to her was happening, in fact she hated the book so far. What would you do at this point?
Would you put the book down and start a new one? Or keep investing time into it?
You always have a choice in whatever it is your doing.
I am not here to criticize anyone or tell anyone how to do things. I will state however, that the investment you have previously made does not matter to your future investments.
Let me explain and give a few examples to help you understand further what I am saying here.
Your past has an influence over your decisions.
In a good way this shapes us to be safer. In a bad way this shapes us to be safer. In the Eureka Factor, John Kounios and Mark Beeman explain that children are much more creative because their past doesn't hinder their thinking. They can think outside the box because they don’t realize there is a box.
In Robert Cialdini’s Influence at work he states that you should ask yourself “will you make the same decision if you can go back in time?”
What these professionals are saying is that we are focused on the past and that the future is not dependent on what has happened in the past. The best we can do is let go of the past yet, and this is important, to learn from our past.
I know by trying to explain why the past hold’s no merit in your future I have made it even more confusing. So I will give you examples now in hopes that it will make more sense for you.
When you place a bet at the casino, your previous bet does not matter, it will not predict your next outcome.
Here is an example that phycologists have used to explain this theory.
When you spend 20$ on a ticket to a show and you lose that ticket. Does that show cost you 20$ or does it cost you 40$ when you buy the next ticket?
Let me spoil this one for you while you make an assumption here. The ticket still costs you 20$.
Many people get this wrong, this is because we rely on the notion that what we have done in the past is somehow related to what is going to happen in the future.
Going back to my girlfriend and her book.
If she continues to read her book and then at the end finds out that the book sucked she would be a lot more disappointed because of the time that went into reading that book. Now if she stopped reading it at the 1/3 where she realized that she is not into it, her investment would have been shortened and she could spend more time reading something she is into.
She should not see it as what she has done, instead look past that, no pun intended, and see the outcome for what it is.
We get so hung up on what we have done and we don’t quit. Yet sometimes quitting is the “right” thing to do. Notice how I didn’t say the “only” thing to do.
We always have a choice. Sometimes that choice is very clear, most times it is very muddied because of our past investment.
It is hard letting go especially when you have put so much time and effort into whatever it is your doing. If you have gone to university for 4 years and then realize that the program you have taken was not the one you are interested in what do you do?
Please do not continue your career only to be miserable in life.
Letting go can feel not only rejuvenating but also energizing and stimulating to do something that you love.
I once read from Ryan Holiday that he worked on a chapter of his book for a long period of time. One day he got to his computer and all that work was lost. Not getting upset at the fact that the chapter that he worked on was lost he instead embraced it and after rewriting the chapter he actually gained more insight and felt that he did a better job the second time around.
The point I am making here is that understand and be aware of your initial investment but don’t let that predicate your investment into the future. Stay in the present and see things for what they are not what they were.
Thank you for coming down this far. Sorry I have been absent on you. I know my daily routine has fallen short, however I will get back on track. To be continued….
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