No time? Listen to it instead
I have written articles and blog posts on the internet for over ten years now. The websites have changed, but there’s this ritual of half-year recaps that has always stuck for some reason. Every year, I would summarise the things I did by June. I did that once again in December.
This year, I want to do something different. I want to focus on the things I stopped and didn’t do. I’m trying to change some things in my life. I’ve added and added things to my life over the years. I believe this is the year I want to lighten the load.
The Pursuit of More
Almost five to six years ago, I was faced with an incredible opportunity that had me step up to become the best version of myself. The idea was to solve my imposter syndrome by earning it backwards. In other words, if you feel undeserving of what you’ve gotten, become the person who deserves all of that.
It worked well too. I’ve built systems and habits that make my life run even today. I’ve gotten fitter, smarter and overall, calmer as a human being. Yet, there’s always the anxiety of not being enough at the end of the long day. My focus on the things I cannot accomplish or fail to complete has always been higher. I’ve experimented and started new things over the years. Some of them stuck, some of them are now dead, some are hung in limbo.
Until last month, when I decided to change it all. I started cutting things out of my life.
The Pursuit of Less
In one fell swoop last month, I ended two podcasts that were just there but not being updated. I stopped my reading goal only to read what I enjoy. I quit reading philosophy for some time to replace it with fiction or books on history. I paused all my projects, including Nudge.
Then, I started to add things back to the plate one at a time. I decided to leave most of what I do behind and only keep the habits I enjoy. The idea was to cut most of what was dragging my life down in the pursuit of becoming the person who deserves a good life.
Throughout this process, the lesson I learned that I deserve a good life without proving I do–at least, not anymore. I’ve proved enough. Of course, I would still do most of what I do, but I am learning to be more intentional about it now.
I don’t have a neatly wrapped up conclusion about this, to be honest. This is more of a perspective and opinion on the two ways one can go about their life. I don’t see any problem with either. I worked at a startup until last year. While the load was incredibly high, I was also learning incredibly fast. I’m now working in a profile that’s not as heavy-handed (yet). I think there are parts about that flexibility that I’m enjoying too.
The point is, if you continue on a pursuit of more with intention, you will learn and grow faster than most people around you.
In the past decade, I’ve learnt about four programming languages, audio editing and podcasting, graphics design and illustration, WordPress management and customization, a bit of German, a lot of philosophy, board games, psychology, game theory, statistics and data science, way too much about fitness and nutrition, about six methods of brewing coffee, cooking my meals, starting a business, taxation, shipping, et al.
I’m pretty sure the list will go on and on.
Now, I am a bit exhausted. So, I want to pursue less with intention. It depends on where you are currently and what you want from life, and what works in your present context.
I feel there are no wrong answers because life is situational.
The idea of pursuing less or more is entirely dependent on where you are in life. If you want a phase of rapid growth, you should probably go for more. If you wish for a phase of slower, more directional growth, the pursuit of less is your bet. There are tradeoffs, of course. Less means feeling inadequate more often. More means being more prone to exhaustion. Yet, there are no correct answers. The premise is situational. However, whatever we choose, we must choose with intention. It makes the tradeoffs bearable.
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