The worst kind of regret is not living up to your ‘ideal self’

Lifehacker published an interesting piece on How to avoid a life of regret:

According to psychologist Tom Gilovich, lead author on “The Ideal Road Not Taken,” published in the journal Emotion, our regrets that bother us the most involve failing to live up to our “ideal selves.” Basically, we’re not as bothered by the mistakes we’ve made or the things we ought to have done as we are bothered by never becoming the person we truly wanted to be. Gilovich explains:

“When we evaluate our lives, we think about whether we’re heading toward our ideal selves, becoming the person we’d like to be. Those are the regrets that are going to stick with you, because they are what you look at through the windshield of life. The ‘ought’ regrets are potholes on the road. Those were problems, but now they’re behind you.

The author delineates the actual self, ideal self, and the ought self in what’s called the self-discrepancy theory:

The actual self is what a person believes themselves to be now, based on current attributes and abilities. The ideal self is comprised of the attributes and abilities they’d like to possess one day—in essence, their goals, hopes, and aspirations. The ought self is who someone believes they should have been according to their obligations and responsibilities. In terms of regrets, the failure of the ought self is more “I could have done that better,” and the failure of the ideal self is more “I never became that person I wanted to become.”

So, chase your ideal self – not what you think you are, not what your peers want you to be, but what you aspire to be. You’re going to have to make the leap if you want to avoid the worst kind of regret: not trying at all.

How to avoid the comparison bubble

How to avoid the comparison bubble

It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison bubble. You always want what we don’t have. You are incorrectly taught to copy, just as you’re erroneously taught to think in absolutes.

Celebrate what makes you unique

You should do what makes you unique. You should feel free to steal ideas from other people and build on top of them. Don’t just copy-paste.

The worst nightmare will be looking back on your efforts and thinking we you just couldn’t be yourself.

Being different, standing out, is what should push you on.

If you need more encouragement:

A still inchoate creator

gif by Sharon Liu

The blank page doesn’t write itself. It stares at you, pleading for you to quit and move on to something else.

Those who persist pace themselves into unfamiliar territory. A big bang does no artist any good. What matters is not the end result, but pushing through in a gradual approach.

Creators strive for long-term serotonin over the short-shock dopamine.

They’re the ones that embrace vulnerability. They dance with fear while building up the bicep of the brain. Confidence speaks as if it were alone, dying to go public.

The barrier lies within the self. It tries to impede greater personal growth. You are your own worst enemy of nuclear insignificance.

To wait in the ambiguous middle while everyone else flies by on the racetrack of certainty.

“You have to do the work now, because you don’t have forever.” — Spike JonzeClick To Tweet

Doing the work is a conscious anxiety-ridden habit, but it can run with it like a GIF loop. Chances are if you did it yesterday you can do it again today.

The race to patience is on. It’s settling that’s the problem.

The burn of discontent

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Everything starts and ends from the burn of discontent.

We all have an inkling for something, a dormant enthusiasm, waiting to erupt so we can pour our hearts into it.

But the wait is killer. Toiling in anonymity while practicing in mediocrity needs a special kind of patience.

The resistance can only win at our own capitulation. The work is all that matters. Self-promotion is a form of confidence.

We must seek the respect we deserve

No one is going to announce our emergence. All we can ask for is consistency. The only talisman is the heart and head work.


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The emotional journey of creating anything great

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via Bill Gross

Why is it that every new idea begins with excitement but ends in the ‘dark swamp of despair?’

Writes Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

The key to achieving anything is not necessarily maintaining that excitement but pushing through all the CRAP (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure) and maintaining a beginner’s mindset.

Of course, you’re likely to lose interest, energy, and emotional support from family and friends along the way. That’s why it’s equally important to have a vision of where you want to go and what you’d like to accomplish. Developing habits, a daily practice, also help fight the resistance.

Good things are supposed to take time. Progress ebbs and flows. It’s beneficial, almost necessary, to step away from the work and plan unscheduled time. Even when you’re not thinking, you’re thinking; the brain never turns off.

If innovation were easy, anybody would do it.

Goal setting 2018 where all believing is betting

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Photo by Wells Baum

Offbeat, except in normal life.

Shaken, not in rage to be stirred.

A contrarian, narrowed into a consensus view.

Constant surprises, a search for settlement.

Ludicrous ambition, tolerable mediocrity.

Finally a new year, with more conviction this time.

Writes Gary Lachlan in The Caretakers of the Cosmos: “Without goals, without some purposeful anticipation, we live, Frankl said, only a ‘provisional existence’, a kind of marking time which is really a death in life.”

In the game of goal setting, all beliefs are gambles.

Give yourself permission to build 

Motivation ebbs and flows. It is fickle and short-lasting.

So we can’t wait for the muse to compel us to work. As Chuck Close said, “inspiration is for amateurs.”

However, what we can do is develop a passion for something, fire up our grit to push through crap (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure), and give ourselves permission to act like the finishers did before us.

It is discipline that converts information into actionable items. We learn nothing until we put knowledge and possibility into use.

Everything is practice.

‘We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish’

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via giphy

“We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish.”

Malcolm Gladwell

Life is a series of dashes; a movie, not a photograph. To echo Cervantes, “The road is better than the end.”

Don’t forget to enjoy the moments in between.

 

If you’re struggling to get started, do it badly

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Perfection is the antithesis of inspiration; it prevents you from getting started.

The trick to getting going is to do it badly. Be intentionally messy.

Producing crap isn’t the end-goal. The point of taking small actions is to create enough momentum to feel like we’re winning.

What sustains persistence are small improvements. You’re looking to go from one pushup a day to two the next week. You’re trying to walk five thousand steps a day before graduating to six thousand. You’ll need to write one-hundred words day after day before developing the muscle to get down two-hundred words on a consistent basis. By the way, there is no such thing as writer’s block!

Do small things to get started — not matter how poorly — to avoid second-guessing yourself and to prime the motivational pump.

Fear is never as bad as it seems

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Most fears are irrational.

When we let what we’re scared of drive our decision-making, we seek safety which mostly means inaction. Like algae, we prefer to stay local, isolated from the from the sun that feeds us with its light.

So how can we get where we want to go when a constant state of dread lies in our way?

When stuck in doubt, heed the words of Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” The amygdala exaggerates our anxieties.

If we’re courageous enough, we’ll say yes and do it anyway.

Fear is both natural and artificial; if used wisely, it can be the impetus for action.