Discover more from Life Intelligence
Passion or self-discipline?
And some ideas you should pay attention to
Happy Earth Day, everyone! Yes, I didn't publish on Wednesday, so I can wish you a Happy Earth Day today… maybe 😊
What have you done for the Earth lately? I am not trying to guilt-trip you, just to remind you to do your part and leave this place better than you found it. Start HERE by exploring the official Earth Day website full of ideas, news, stories, ways for you to get involved, and even a quiz… Who doesn’t like a quiz? Anyone?.. Anyone????
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Back in 2000 or so, I did a Fire Walk with Tony Robbins. It changed my life! Then I read his books and listened to his programs on long drives. Fast forward to 2015 to the last stretch of my master's in psychology. As if I didn't have enough to do already, I signed up and completed Tony's 100 hours life-coaching program while still running my business full-time. I hate to say this, but that coaching program prepared me to do what I now do much better than the official degree.
On top of that, it transformed my life. As he likes to say, "Live with passion!" So, I do! I get into things. I am curious. I get excited! I ride the flow! All the way until I lose momentum.
I bet you didn't know that I belong to the 50+ club. "50 Unfinished projects," that is! Why, just the other day, I had a "business idea" about creating a "Local Loitering Place." In excitement, I worked out the marketing angle. Picture a place like the bar from Cheers where everyone knows your name. Except it's not a bar. It's "Coffee, Tea, and BYOB." There would be tables with games, ping-pong, darts, and lots of comfy couches to hang around. Snacks to nibble on but also a couple of microwaves so people can heat up the leftover pizza they brought. Kind of like an oversized living room at someone's house, but you don't have to be invited to hang out. Anyone can come by anytime, as long as they do it between 12:00 noon and 12:00 midnight.
I envisioned people meeting to hang out without spending lots of money on fancy drinks. But then someone pointed out that "fancy drinks" are why people go out. And the ability to say, "Can you believe how much money I spent! But we had a great time!" And someone else told me that it sounds like the kind of place the homeless will love on a rainy day, too hot of a day, or just about any day. And some other people told me some more things while I checked health department requirements, permits, zoning, and how much money I'd have to make to support the place, let alone myself. I realized; I'd have to sell fancy drinks!
So… there will be no "Local Loitering Place" coming to Morro Bay any time soon. Scrap that idea. What do they say? Out of 10,000 ideas, 1000 are feasible, and perhaps 1 makes it to success. But would it work in Bulgaria? Never mind!
The point is to live with passion - passion for life itself.
Passion expresses itself with ideas. Life without ideas is just ffffeee. Ideas are like dreams. Necessary, insightful, motivating, and entertaining. Have some. You'll see what I mean. If you get good at dreaming up stuff, you may dream up something profound and transform the world!
But if you want something done and sustained over time and to improve your business, relationships, and anything you undertake, you'll have to put some serious and sustained elbow grease into it.
Hence, self-discipline! No self-discipline, no long-term success! It's that simple. Things take what they take. You must show up every day, do the work, fix the problems, improve the situation, etc. Progress does not happen on its own. Everything left on its own trends toward atrophy and entropy.
You don't believe me?
Check your muscles! Yep, when was the last time you exercised? What's happened to your waistline? That's atrophy. Unless you are like me and you religiously attend to your physical health.
You said you'd do something, and you didn't follow through. Now the rent is late. You missed an important health appointment. Failed a job interview. The roof is leaking. The fence fell over. Your wife left. Now, you find yourself in a more complicated situation than if you kept your word. That's entropy. It's what the Universe delivers while you petition it for lucky breaks from the comfort of your couch but take no meaningful and consistent action.
You know entropy by its other name – disorder. Left unchecked disorder increases over time. It works on the micro and macro level. In systems and people. In science and nature. Check what happens to an abandoned building or a car that doesn't get regular maintenance.
The same thing happens to your life and relationships, your career, and your dreams.
Self-discipline is the same as regular maintenance. It's not as sexy as a passion, but it provides steadiness and stability. It's also likely to solve most of your problems.
Got debt? Self-discipline will fix that. Make a payment plan and stick to it.
Want to save more and build your nest egg? Self-discipline helps you stick to an investment schedule.
Want to learn something and be good at it? Yep, disciplined practice and prioritizing it over other ways to spend your time.
You get the drift. If passion is like a wind in your sails, self-discipline is like the motor in your hull. If you want to get there, it's helpful to have a motor for those non-windy days. Unlike the ocean breeze, humans are less reliable emotionally. We fluctuate a lot, and sometimes we flat out stall.
With self-discipline, you'll make progress even when you don't feel like it!
The hidden cost of atrophy and entropy are two-fold. On one side of the coin - reduced life satisfaction, depression, laziness, feeling unmotivated, wasting time, feeling lost, sense of meaninglessness, indecisiveness, low self-esteem, and lethargy. On the other side – anxiety, harsh self-criticism, jealousy of others' success, anger, confusion, feeling conflicted, fear of failure.
If you must choose passion or self-discipline, choose passion AND self-discipline. Clearly, that's the best choice! Let passion get things going, then use self-discipline to KEEP going, with occasional reminders from passion of why you are doing what you are doing. You can get very far with self-discipline alone but may start to forget your original inspiration and become mechanical and pedantic.
You won't get very far with passion alone. Even relationships held together by passion only fizzle out after about 18 months if no one bothers to do any real work or wants to sacrifice for the relationship's well-being.
Passion and self-discipline together make miracles!
So, what happened to my 50+ unfinished projects? Well, I didn't say I carry around the same 50 forever and ever. I do get things done! But there's so much fun to be had in the idea space that there are at least 50 things I am (slowly) working on at any given time. Then, as opportunities arise matching one or more of these projects, I revive and complete them.
There's a time and a place for everything! I try not to miss them.
What's your take on this? Wanna tell the world about your unfinished projects? Go ahead, comment below 😊
One of my ongoing projects is to optimize health. It requires learning things about humans. It also requires honoring the changes of aging. In other words, this is not a topic or a project that can be completed. Instead, as science reaches new conclusions, I fold them into my optimization plan.
A few months ago, I became more curious about the role of protein in aging. My body wasn't healing as miraculously as it did in my twenties. I refused to accept the "you're just getting older" mantra. I also know better than hurrying up and buying every supplement Google adverting hits me up with. Basically, anything that promises remarkable changes over a short time, featuring people in their twenties but talking about people in their fifties, should immediately be discounted as snake oil. Period!
I did some actual science review. Then I paid attention to the amount of protein I consumed. As a vegetarian, I lean heavily on carbs. I love fruit and chocolate. I can live off pastries. But it turns out my body can't. I found out how much more protein our bodies need to repair and counteract natural damage. No, it's not like KETO or Atkins amounts. But definitely double what I was ingesting.
Since I implemented that change, I wake up brand new every morning again, no matter how hurt I go to bed. Hello again, long hikes and hard workouts! I am invincible again!
Here's a starter article to acquaint you with the subject. You can go from there, measure what you consume, geek out on what types of protein are better, etc. And FYI – no one said you couldn't eat carbs. Knock yourself out. That's good news because I am not giving up flaky pastries and hardy bread!
Why Older Adults Should Eat More Protein (And Not Overdo the Protein Shakes) from the Keiser Foundation.
If you want to go deeper, check out Role of Dietary Protein and Muscular Fitness on Longevity and Aging from the NIH.
Thanks for reading. Drop me a line. Ask me anything. I'll write about it 😊
Next week I’ll be on the road. You may hear from me… I’ll try.