I’m currently reading a great book by Rosenberg titled Nonviolent Communication.
I’m only at the beginning, but I already came across such a brilliant chapter about denying responsibility that I decided to write some thoughts on it.
Especially since someone told me yesterday (on YouTube),
If you want to succeed, you must do X every day regardless of the circumstances.
So I tell myself:
I must write a blog/post a vlog every day, regardless of whether I’m feeling down, have a headache, am having a good day, or not.
Rebellion. I don’t have to.
Rosenberg suggests that I take responsibility and write it differently, starting with “I prefer…”
I prefer to write every day to demonstrate perseverance, build successful habits, and overcome difficulties.
So no. You don’t have to. By saying “I have to”, you’re denying responsibility. Question that. Reframe it. Take responsibility.
Just because someone said it doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Just because they’re right doesn’t mean you have to phrase it that way in your head.
What do I mean? Why are they right?
Well, they are.
If I have a short-lived passion and abandon my projects (and I have a longer list of them than I’m comfortable admitting), for trivial reasons, then I’ll never finish any of them.
Effects of perseverance
So if I’m persistent and write this blog regularly, a few things will happen:
1. I’ll build a habit
A habit is a simple uninterrupted chain.
It’s a bit like not smoking cigarettes: all you have to do is not light that first one. Building habits is like that too: all you have to do is not break the chain. James Clear wrote that building habits is an art of showing up.
(If nothing rings a bell for you now, it’s worth reaching for Atomic Habits, or at least for Clear’s free newsletter).
Perseverance reminds me of hard work. And building a habit reminds me of hard work only when making that habitual action exceeds my capabilities.
So maybe I don’t have space for it? Or do I have too much on my plate?
2. I’ll show that I’m capable.
I overcome my fears, limitations, anxieties, and complexes. I grow.
If I show that I can act regardless of obstacles, then I’m an excellent person to do business with, right?
3. I’ll achieve success.
If only a fraction of customers buy, and I give up on the first phone call because they didn’t pick up, then I won’t achieve sales success.
If I write one blog post a year, I won’t have returning readers because they won’t have anything to come back to regularly.
How to approach perseverance in a slow life rhythm?
I’ve only just ordered the book Grit, so there’s still learning ahead of me, but for now, I think these are important:
What am I entering the project with? Why do I want to do this? Maybe because of fears? Beliefs? FOMO? For money, to repair a bruised ego, to help others, or for the satisfaction of discovering new things?
I’ve started some projects out of fear of the future, the need to provide for my family. To do something, anything, that stores value over time. To sow, water, maybe the kids will live on the fruits.
Often I need a little time and space to set myself up properly and remind myself why I’m doing this. Sometimes I need to lean on a therapist, sometimes a book, and sometimes take a walk and distance myself a bit.
Or just do nothing in complete silence. Contact my resources, check if all my straps are on red (I loved the first Sims, although apparently, it’s a shame to admit that). Take care of myself and get back to work.
What’s most important? What will really allow me to validate the idea, gain the conviction that the project will move, and deliver some value?
Here I resonate with lean action, scrum, or other agile methods. Systematic work and specialized positions or tools vs delivering some value quickly, no matter how suboptimally.
I like to optimize processes and reduce waste of resources, but investing in a project that doesn’t deliver value and no one wants it is the biggest waste.
Working full-time and preparing to build a house because I had to, because I’m a father and husband (that’s also denying responsibility), was definitely too much for me.
I entered most projects with the wrong motivations. Or maybe just ones that didn’t give me enough motivation to act in the long run?
Building habits isn’t about cutting our veins in the name of perseverance.
Perseverance in actions that bring us suffering may not necessarily be a healthy approach? Maybe that’s precisely denying responsibility?
What do you have to do?
Do you have to?