Today I woke up feeling lost. How lost? Lost in a way where your surroundings are somewhat recognizable but the number of directions you can take home seem unlimited. And no one option stands out as the obvious path. Then your mind starts to over analyze each and every option, furiously working to figure out which way is best. All the while a simple coin flip would prove to have the similar outcome as the over analyzing.
Welcome to my life.
I have trouble with the ebbs and flows that come with committing to something where the future is uncertain. Which kind of sucks, because life in and of itself is uncertain.
When you have OCD you have trouble committing, to anything. Good or bad. The voice in your head is always telling you that you should do be doing something other than what you are currently doing, because what you are currently doing is most certainly a waste of time.
You’re constantly throwing in the proverbial towel before anything really gets started.
Case and point.
You would think sitting on the beach with a good book, your feet buried in the sand, listening to the wave’s crash along the shore is a pretty good way to spend the day. That is unless you have OCD. For me a day at the beach goes something like this.
Is my chair at the proper angle for the optimal amount of sun exposure? Should I read a book or listen to a podcast? Okay, so I commit to the podcast path. Then 5 minutes into WTF I start thinking maybe I’d be happier reading a book. But which book? I have 3. If I’m going to read should I learn something or just read for fun? Lunch… is it time for lunch? Maybe I should take a nap at lunch, that would be sweet catch up on some much need z’s. But today is beautiful. What if it rains tomorrow and I end up napping today the I’m going to be pissed that I napped today.
You get the idea; it’s a real fucking picnic. I bet you’re glad you don’t get to go on vacation with me.
This brings me back to my problem today. What to do? Today I feel lost. The paralysis by analysis bug has take up residence inside my head.
What is the next right step that will get me closer to fulfilling my purpose? Some days the steps along the path are clear and motivation is just flowing through me. I’m unstoppable. Not today.
I watched a video online the other day of talk by Darren Rowse(twitter,@problogger)*. He is a blogging guru if you will. He laid out what he determined are the 7 habits of lucky entrepreneurs. The first one is; always be learning. If there is one positive byproduct of OCD is you love to learn. Since I was obsessing about my first step, I just decided to learn something. What is the worst thing that could happen? I might actually learn something great.
This led me to one of my favorite sites of late, brainpickings.org. They have posted several pieces on commencement speakers. The first one I clicked on was about Steve Jobs. https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/06/10/best-commencement-graduation-speeches/#stevejobs
Jobs said in address at Standford in 2005, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Thinking about the future is what OCD thrives off og. It is its oxygen. Without it, it dies. That being said I choose to keep taking one step after another, releasing my desire to know exactly where it might lead. I kept reading until something struck me and I’d take the next step, whatever that was.
Enter, Paul Graham and I have to admit I had no clue who this guy was (find out more @ paulgraham.com), but I loved what I read, it resonated with me(along with Mr. Jobs) enough so I was moved to write this blog post you are reading.
“Always produce is also a heuristic for finding the work you love. If you subject yourself to that constraint, it will automatically push you away from things you think you’re supposed to work on, toward things you actually like. “Always produce” will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.”
That is some pretty powerful shit.
The easy thing for me to of had done this morning would have been to just start down an OCD spiral, never actually doing anything, obsessing about what the best next step is.
Instead I sat down with the intention and belief that if I took the first step down this path of learning, it would take me exactly where I needed to go. Trust was tantamount. Trust in the process. Don’t think, do.
In doing this I believe I will discover my life’s work as Mr. Graham so eloquently put it, “like the way water with the help of gravity finds the hole in your roof.”
The result today, did I solve my predicament? Capital Y, Capital E, Capital S, YES. I was able to sit down and commit to writing on my blog. I realized that my motivation gas tank was empty, it tends to get depleted quickly and I needed a fill up. Which is okay, as long as I realize it and find help.
Today it was Mr. Jobs to the emotional rescue, tomorrow who knows. In the words of The Rolling Stones….
“I come to you, so silent in the night
So stealthy, so animal quiet
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh”
*link to his talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYic2c-jR7c