No really, stop what you’re doing right now, and ask yourself if it really matters.
What takes up most of your time every day? What are you pouring your sweat into? Does it really matter? Or are you so drunk on the endorphins that your hard work gives you that you forgot to ask?
I bet some of your best days are the ones where you felt you had been productive, you had worked hard, and you had put the seconds in every single minute. Maybe you cleaned your entire house, you organized your bookshelf by author, you made a healthy dinner, and maybe, you even got time to squeeze in a one-hour workout. And at the end of it all, you feel good about yourself.
But let me ask you this, one year from now, will the any of what you did on that “productive” day really matter? Or were they just empty shots of endorphins that made you feel like you were working hard even though you weren’t going anywhere?
Self-control isn’t just about choosing to work hard. It’s also about having the insight to choose what will be beneficial for the future instead of what will give you temporary satisfaction. It’s about choosing to focus on what will matter in the long run, instead of wasting your time on what won’t be remembered two weeks from now.
As a part-time job, I do online transcription. It’s a job that requires very little skill, but it’s incredibly time-consuming. For the longest time, I would get on my computer and type away for hours, and when I was done with it all I would feel exhausted and happy. But then I realized, as soon as I use up the money I made on any particular day, the work that I did that day would mean nothing at all.
I am not working towards a promotion and transcription — no offense to the transcribers out there — is a job that’s almost impossible to feel passionate about. That’s unless you have an unusual love for typing. So it’s not my life’s goal. Spending hours on transcription does nothing to get me closer to my life’s purpose. It’s literally just a waste of my time. I would be better off spending time on things that will benefit me in long-term. Like this blog.
Sure, cleaning and organizing your house is fantastic. By all means do it. But if you spent five hours doing unnecessary nit-picky cleaning and when you’re done with it all, you have no time to focus on your long-term goals then I would say you have wasted those five hours. If you’re choosing to spend so much time polishing your spoons instead of polishing your violin skills to get you closer to your dream of playing in theaters, then you’re just getting drunk on empty shots of endorphins. You’re not practicing self-control.
You want to feel good about yourself, so you eat healthy and you work out. Today. Tomorrow, you negate all the positive effects of your workout with five hours of Netflix and eating. Again, you’re wasting your time. You know what you’d be better off doing? Focusing on crafting a sustainable long-term health plan. Maybe that will mean you don’t get to do that 1000-calorie workout today and to enjoy the high that you’d get from it. But you will keep reaping the rewards of that fitness plan for months or even years away from now.
If you’re running on a treadmill, you should probably not convince yourself that you’re actually going somewhere. Have the self-control to focus your energy on what truly matters instead of getting drunk on useless hard work.
Cheers to life!