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Caution: Reading this Article will Make Your Life Better (Can You Handle It?)
That title isn’t clickbait. It’s a legit warning. Do you really want your life to get better? Of course everyone SAYS they do. But nodding your head and actually meaning it are two completely different things…
The Devil of Comfort
That’s because everything you WANT is out of reach because everything you NEED is still within reach. As long as you’re comfortable, a better life is best enjoyed in theory.
For example, if you have a stable job—even if you hate it—it’s still better than unemployment. If you’re in a relationship—even if it makes you miserable—it’s still better than solitude.
To amend the old idiom, it’s not JUST better the devil we know than the devil we don’t; rather: it’s better the devil we’re comfortable with than the devil of uncertainty.
Put simply: we’re scared of CHANGE.
Take a Vow of Uncertainty
So I ask you again: are you serious about changing your life?
If so, take a Vow of Uncertainty. Repeat after me:
“I hereby swear to reject comfort and mediocrity in favor of the pain and discomfort that comes with positive change; I will stare with unswerving certainty into the uncertain depths of the abyss that stands between me and my goal of a better life.”
To Quote a 19th Century Philosopher…
“The abyss.” I appropriated the concept from Nietzsche: “And if thou gaze long into the abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” It’s one of my favorite quotes but—taken in context—doesn’t directly relate to self-development. Yet, on its own, that one sentence explains why you can’t—why you won’t—commit to finally, actually following through and improving your life.
An abyss, by definition, is a deep, dark hole that appears bottomless. Likewise, uncertainty, by definition, involves a situation with unknown information. To stare into the abyss is to stare into uncertainty and, the longer you stare, the more you can feel the abyss gazing into your fears and insecurities.
We fear pain. Failure makes us insecure. That’s why imagining a better life is so easy: all we see is the result, a better life. Once, however, we take it a step further, once we try to actualize a better life, we quickly discover: it’s really fucking hard!
That’s because we’ve forced ourselves to look into the process, to gaze into the abyss. And, somewhere in darkness, we know pain and failure are staring back at us, waiting…
Step into the Abyss
For most people, seeing the abyss is enough. That’s as far as they get. When thou gaze into the abyss, watching Netflix on the couch looks a whole lot better to thee…
But not you! Not anymore! You took a Vow of Uncertainty. That means it’s time you stop gazing into the abyss and enter it—once and for all…
In this world, there are only two types of people:
1. The few—the brave—who enter the abyss
2. And then there’s everyone else
While everyone else gets comfortable with a flabby body, an underwhelming job, an unexciting love life, you’re going to face your fears, embrace pain, get comfortable with discomfort, and overcome your insecurities.
Each time a failure knocks you on your ass, you’re going to get back up and take another step forward, take another step deeper into the abyss…
THAT—and that alone!—is the secret to conquering the abyss:
You take it one step at a time.
Focusing on anything BUT the next step is doomed to fail. Stop trying to see the totality of the process. Don’t gaze onto the unknowable depth of the abyss. Because no one—and I repeat no one—has ever achieved a worthwhile goal mistaking the forest for the trees.
Or, in this case, mistaking the forest for the NEXT tree that’s directly in front of them.
To Quote the 20th Century Shoe Company…
Dwelling on the odyssey of process will—by necessity—break you. It would break anyone. After all, any goal worth achieving demands more than we initially have to give. Getting stronger, becoming better happens slowly, and it happens each step time you take another step forward. So, rather than peer into the abyss, avert your gaze downward, toward your feet.
All that matters is taking another next step.
Ward off the cold, intimidating, and—ultimately—dream-crushing gaze of the abyss with another favorite quote of mine: JUST DO IT!
Whatever the next logical step toward your goal may be, if you’re serious about a better life, if you really want to become a better you, honor your Vow of Uncertainty by remembering the advice of every Nike commercial and just fucking do it!
Do it, one step at a time.