No one wakes up every day ready to give themselves 100% to the day ahead.
If you think Winston Churchill rolled out of bed every day ready to work his butt off and say things that would be quoted for years to come, you are wrong.
If you think Steve Jobs didn’t wake up some mornings and say, “Why the heck am I doing this?”, you are wrong.
If you think Lebron James wakes up every morning wanting to practice his jump shot again and again and again, you are wrong.
There is nothing wrong with waking up some mornings and questioning everything you do. I love my job. It is a perfect fit for me. It’s incredibly challenging and rewarding. I have grown more here in 2 years than I did in the 8 years prior. But, some mornings I wake up and have the overwhelming desire to quit.
To give up.
For me, in this situation, the typical excuse is, “I’m so tired,” or “I don’t want to sit at a desk all day,” or “Am I really even making a difference?” or “Would they even miss me if I left?”.
The underlying theme here is “I”. That it all revolves around me, and therein lies our problem.
We think everything is about us. Our culture has ingrained us with the sense that everything is about us. Self-promotion, self-help, self-growth, self-improvement.
The dirty truth is that it’s not at all about us.
The value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away.
If you began to measure things in terms of how much you gave away instead of how much you received or felt you received, think about how your life might change.
Here’s how you can fight the “I” bug. Whenever you have a thought that feels or sounds selfish, counter it. Play devil’s advocate to yourself.
- “I’m so tired.” can be countered with “Someone out there today is far more tired and worn down and my life is pretty good so it’s time to get up and give today my all.”.
- “I don’t want to sit at a desk all day.” is countered with “Someone has to do it because the work being done here is making a difference not only in my life, but in the lives of those around me at work and hundreds of other people I will probably never know about.”
- “Am I really making a difference?” is countered with “Yes, someone somewhere is feeling the impact of the work I do and without it a void is created. I am the only one who can do what I do and add unique value to the world, I can’t afford not to keep fighting to make a difference. Every day is a baby step of progress.”
- “Would they even miss me if I left?” is countered with “Yes. If I pour myself wholeheartedly into my work and aim to exceed expectations every time someone will be impacted. Not only would they miss me if I left, but I bet they would go out of their way to make sure I know that and they would try to keep me.”.
Stop trying to make life all about getting what you want. It’s over-done and boring. I’m tired of running into people with an agenda. People who always want something from me for themselves. I can’t imagine what our world would look like if our lives were all about giving ourselves away.
So, why not make it our ideal to strive for? As I write these words I can’t help but be reminded of the words spoken by Jor-El to his son Kal (aka Superman),
“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you…In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”
Why not strive towards an ideal? We will stumble and fall, but in time we can accomplish incredible things. Especially if we help other people accomplish wonders.