I started 2020 with a resolution to publish something on my blog every week with two explicit goals in mind: 1) learn to suck less at writing 2) learn to care less about outside judgement (real or imagined).
I've made some progress on the latter. I'll leave it to you whether I've succeeded in the former.
Frankly, writing has been pretty hard for me. I think what's made this new habit especially painful were the implicit goals I failed to disclose (even to myself). I've come to find out that goal numero uno was to have thousands of people shower me with praise for being so incredibly brave, authentic, and wicked smaht.
Didn't quite hit the mark on this one. Not for lack of dripping with the aforementioned qualities no duh.
But in all seriousness, this writing experiment has been revealing. I underestimated both my ego and self-esteem issues, which seem to be two sides of the same coin. And secondly, it's illuminated a recurring issue around focus (or a lack thereof).
A quick perusing through the topics I've touched on with my blog, point to the issue at hand. I've got to be the only writer that takes a break from exploring mindfulness and meaning to drop a manifesto on how to fix UFC judging. The point being, I haven't yet figured out how to sustain focus on what's important.
Science writer Tim Urban wrote a great series on procrastination that's relevant here. In the posts, he describes how his Instant Gratification Monkey seduces him into avoiding the hard and important work he should be doing in favor of an easy fix (YouTube rabbit holes seem to be his drug of choice).
I read the first two parts of his series years ago, but I didn't feel it applied to me. Video games have been my fix, and I've been mostly clean for the last two years. That stupid Instant Gratification Monkey was my bitch as far as I was concerned. But in the last part of series, he describes just how sneaky the little shit can be.
You can sprint until your legs are jelly, you aren't going anywhere if you're running in place. My activity rate has been high, but busyness isn't the same as effectiveness. I've kept myself plenty busy, but I've subconsciously avoided the hard, important work that should be taking precedent.
I fear what would happen if I try my best at something and still fail. So instead I've half-assed a bunch of seemingly important things in order to preserve the get-out-of-jail-free-card of being spread to thin, just in case the main hustle doesn't go as planned.
Writing strikes me as one of those half-assed pursuits. I'm happy to have stuck with the once-a-week cadence for (nearly) the year, but if my goals were to improve my writing and become more comfortable with putting myself out there, then I'm surely leaving opportunities on the table. And while both probably are important pursuits, if I'm being honest with myself, they're far down the list of my priorities. That could change in the future, but that time is not now.
I've been roughly familiar with Cal Newport's thinking around Deep Work, but in starting to read the book recently, my lack of focus has crystalized for me. Newport argues that getting important work done is hard. Especially in the domain of online work that I'm playing in. I'm basically competing with anyone with a laptop and an internet connection.
Newport believes that the important outcomes are driven from distraction-free and intense focus, deep work, on what matters. To test this thesis for myself, I'm going to be putting some "distractions" on pause for the foreseeable future, and writing publicly is one of them.
The grind of the moment is my dad's audio software company, FxSound. I want to build something I can be proud of that will last well beyond my involvement in the project. We've made some solid progress this year, but there's a few hurdles yet to climb.
In the end, I want to try my damndest to make an impact on this sad, bizarre yet wonderful world we find ourselves in. Sound quality isn't quite making the list of the world's most pressing issues, but I think succeeding in this entrepreneurial domain will open doors to new opportunities to make a dent.
Thank you so very much for joining me. The support means a lot. Not sure when I'll be posting again, but I might pop back in if I feel so inclined to bless you with my word vomit.
So until next time,