So many motivational speakers out there preach doing more. “Outperform your opponent, do what he won’t do. Be better than anyone else at everything.”
I say… Productivity ain’t shit.
Productivity is trying to jam 37 hours of planner items into a 16-hour day. That’s a blivit. What’s a blivit? While I was training at the police academy, one of the instructors, the imitable Lt. Davis, once told a recruit that he looked like a blivit. Then he proceeded to educate us all that a blivit is “ten pounds of shit stuffed into a five-pound bag.” His name was blivit the rest of our time at the academy.
Don’t make your day a blivit. Stop trying to stuff more into a day than it’s meant to hold.
Don’t get me wrong. Time management is crucial. Using your time wisely gets things done. But wasting your day on social media looking for your next dopamine high accomplishes exactly nothing. Trying to stuff more hours into a day to make up for wasted time is also futile.
We should do better, not more.
Look at any person who has become famous for what they have accomplished. Are they superior at anything else? Take Elon Musk, for example. Whatever your political feelings about him, you can’t deny he is exceptional at what he has done. He’s a creator, a problem solver, and an innovator. But can he play a musical instrument, cook, do karate, paint a portrait, wire an electrical outlet, or roof his house?
When I started martial arts in 1987, my instructor’s wife, herself a 1st Degree Black Belt, once said she met the head of our Korean organization. He was a 9th Degree Black Belt and a master of his craft. But she said, “he can’t hang a picture, but he is perfection in action.”
We can’t do it all, but we can do one thing better.
Do one thing with passion, and do the rest with purpose.
I’ve written before about the dangers of making your “job” the one thing you do well in life. If the company lays you off or fires you, or if they downsize you out of your position, or if you change jobs or careers, or you retire; then what do you do? You’re the best at doing a job that no longer exists for you.
What are you passionate about? What do you naturally excel at doing? What comes easy for you? What are your outside interests? The answer to these questions hints at what you should be doing. If you suck at math, perhaps you shouldn’t expend all your effort getting into MIT or UC Berkley. If you are color blind, it would be a waste of time going to school for interior design. If, however, you excel at math and have a genuine interest in architecture, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pursue an education at Rice or Cornell.
Follow your passion as if it’s the holy grail. Chase it, hunt it down, perfect it in every way. All other things, do well. Slack at nothing. Pursue diligence.
Don’t try to be all things to all people at all times for all the right reasons. If painting portraits is your true passion, and you know nothing about building a workshop addition to your existing house, hire someone who has made homebuilding THEIR passion. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel for each item on your to do list. Do the things you CAN do and let the experts do the rest. While they work their trade, work your passion. Paint your portraits, photograph flowers and butterflies, build furniture, make dresses, and the like.
You aren’t competing against your neighbor. And your neighbor isn’t in competition with you. If your neighbor grows prize winning tomatoes, and your passion is cooking; there’s no need to try to grow better tomatoes than your neighbor. Go ahead and make your Tomato Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic; but there’s no harm in asking your neighbor for his tomatoes and offering him some of your Michelin Five Star Cuisine when you’ve finished preparing your finest dining experience. While he is growing tomatoes, he’s not trying to recreate your exquisite dinners. He might only be interested in freezing the tomato juice so he can make salsa during the winter. Stop comparing. Stop competing. Strive only to be better than you were yesterday.
If your passion is collegiate wrestling and BJJ, and your coworker excels in intricate Shaolin Five Animal Gong Fu, stop competing with him. Get a part time job coaching high school student on how to get a full ride scholarship into that big university. Let your coworker be the best at Gong Fu. You are both chasing your passions. There is no competition but that with who you were yesterday.
Progress isn’t linear.
It’s like the stock market. It has its ups and downs over time. If you’re learning to play guitar and you only know a few chords; continued, regular practice is the only way to improve. There is a philosophy regarding progress in that it only takes 1% improvement each day or each week to show a marked difference in skill over time. Imagine you are learning to paint, or make pottery, or bake pastries. Each time you attempt a project you make a tiny mistake, an inconsequential error, an infinitesimal way it could be improved. Sure, it may have worked, but it could have been better. So, the next time, you change your method, you correct that one tiny mistake. But then you find another area that could suffer improvement. This goes on for a few years until you suddenly find yourself giving advice to others who wish to embark on a similar journey.
Each and every time I practice my Karate or Tai Chi, I discover an area where I could improve. I have been doing martial arts all my life. Yet I believe that one shouldn’t practice until he gets it right. He should practice until he can’t get it wrong. I once met a martial artist nearly thirty years ago. My instructor at the time touted the man’s brilliance and martial arts prowess. When I met the man, I engaged in a serious conversation with him about marital arts and life. He told me he practices 500 karate punches every day. Then he looked at me with deadly seriousness and told me, “After 25 years, I think I might almost have it right, maybe.”
You should approach your life and your passion with the same fervency. Every day is a new chance to learn, to experiment, to grow. Some days will show more improvement than others. This is normal and natural. Flow with it.
Do what you want. Do what you like. But don’t do what someone else forces you to do.
I know a girl who is in high school right now. Her mother went to school to become a Physician’s Assistant. This woman told her daughter that she could go to school only if she studied to be a physician. Otherwise, mother wouldn’t pay for it. Either you’re a doctor, or you can find the money somewhere else. Granted, this girl is brilliant, but he is not interested in becoming an MD. She has other plans already. IF she takes the money and goes to med school, she won’t be passionate about it and likely may not do well. She’ll be doing what she is forced to do, not what she wants to do.
This doesn’t mean you live in the poor house while you pursue your dreams. Go get a well-paying job, while also chasing your passions. I am passionate about martial arts. I have practiced since 1987. I may not be the best, and only because I have had to work so many hours to make ends meet. But I am still at it. Still plugging away every day. Improving bit by bit. As you will. I just finished massage school. I am adding massage to my list of specialties at my business, Tri State Holistic Wellness. For fun I am also learning how to play guitar. Sure, I suck. But some day, I hope to be alright.
Practice every damned day.
Mediocre practice brings average results. When learning to play guitar, if you try too much at once, your fingers are too sore to play the next day. If starting a yoga program, they tell you not to go beyond what you can each day, or you may be too sore to continue.
But regular, focused practice produces continued growth and improvement. A few minutes each day will show a marked difference in performance over time.
But show up. Put out. Do it even if it’s inconvenient. It’s your passion, you know you want to.
I love watching videos by David Goggins and Jocko Willink. They are similar and yet unique. Both men were Navy Seals. Both men have seen combat. Both men inspire people to do more than they thought possible.
David Goggins is all about doing more. He believes suffering is the fastest way to self-discovery. He says that on the other side of suffering is greatness. He runs ultra marathons. Not because he wants to. He runs ultra marathons because so few people CAN. He needs to do what other cannot. He truly believes he needs to suffer to find himself. He needs to be prepared for the worst, in the event that it ever happens. If he prepares for the worst, when adversity occurs, he’ll be waiting with a smile.
Jock Willing is all about discipline. He gets up every morning at 0430hrs., that’s 4:30 in the morning, to do his calisthenics, martial arts, and weight training. He encourages his staff to do the same. They join him, not because their job depends on it, but because their very lives depend on it. They have seen what happens to a person when they are disciplined enough to put out every day. They won’t let a day go by where Jocko gets his in and they don’t get theirs. Jocko feels that discipline is the best way to condition the mind to prepare for adversity. He says that discipline is the way to freedom. To a disciplined mind, everything is fuel for the fire. Once you are disciplined, you a free from worry, you are free to make choices. You can organize your life because you have the discipline to do what is necessary to get the job done.
Show up every day. If you need to get up early to get your workout in, get up early. If you must get up early to practice music or make pottery or sew a new dress pattern or build a dovetail joint for the kitchen cabinets you are attempting to build, well, … fucking GET UP. Get to it. Get ‘er done. You won’t get any better at anything watching Jersey Shore or The Kardashians (there I go again, bah hah hah). Turn off that boob tube and get busy building your life.
You came here, in this meat suit, to do something spectacular. Do it. Don’t waste your life trying to buy a fancier watch, or a car that offers “the luxury you deserve (yes, that’s actually said in the ad).” You came here to offer something to this world. You, a spirit, arrived here in flesh to find your gift, develop it by hard work and arduous training into a skill, and honing it through discipline into a talent, so you can offer it to the world.
So do it.
Don’t worry about doing more.
Be better, so better.
But do something.
Joe “Weeg” Weigant is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Metaphysician, and Empowerment Coach. He combines bodywork, energy work, and coaching to relieve anxiety and depression and balance the nervous system. Weeg coaches his clients to drop the white flag of victimhood and pick up the banner of empowerment, inspiring them to stop riding in life’s trunk and take the wheel of their lives.
Weeg sells herbal products by Nature’s Sunshine, Pure Herbs Ltd. and Juice Plus. He teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.
Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.