9 am-5 pm work is tough. You start work on time, and you wait for 5 pm to close the laptop. You have your dinner, do a little bit of planned or postponed business. Go to sleep. And again. Again and again until Friday - the day that everyone is waiting. Like it’s such a big day that we all need to celebrate. Company drinks or just some events always happen on Friday. The following weekend is just an award when you finally can do something different. The sad part - weekend tends to finish, and we go back to 9-5 duty.
Day by day, week by week, and it’s already Christmas time. How did it happen so quickly? It was Easter just yesterday, why is it snowy outside? Where did all the time go? But the main question is more profound - why don’t I remember it?
We all have enough good moments and events during this time. It’s not like I was sitting and working 24/7 the whole year, no. It’s an environment where we expect everyone to work during the week and don’t have any time but weekends to live the life that we want. Monday till Friday are always busy days with no room for anything. It’s an enormous pressure. It’s demotivating. Sometimes it makes me feel that I do nothing, I’m just a small piece of a vast machine, and my effort doesn’t make any difference. And this feeling becomes more robust month by month, year by year.
What about my purpose? My ambitions? Am I supposed to always be in the same state?
First, I need to reveal myself - I don’t have the right answer for it. I’m not that guy from yet another blog post who became a billionaire, who created a successful startup and sold it, who wrote ten bestseller books. I don’t have 10 top secrets on how to get on the Forbes list under 30 and become rich.
But I know a bit about how to stop worrying about it too much.
We expect too much from everyday life. Whenever I watch movies or tv shows, I’m asking myself: “I also want to live this life - full of adventures and challenges! What am I doing wrong?“. I want my life full of events, challenges, and meeting new people! I want to make an impact on this world!
Short answer - I can do that. But I need to make a few adjustments to stop worrying. Once I’m on that way of achieving something (small or big, doesn’t matter) - I will see that worries are gone.
First of all, 9-5 work is a normal thing, and there is nothing wrong with it. Work is work. Life is life. I can not just suddenly drop everything and do whatever I want. Or maybe I can, but I’m just scared too much.
It’s okay to have a feeling that you are missing something. That you have so much potential to achieve something significant. We all have this feeling from time to time, and most people want to do great things that will change anything in this world.
It’s easy to fall into the valley of despair (Dunning–Kruger effect) and stay there way longer than needed. And it affects us so much that we stop caring about things, don’t use our passions and our imaginations. Our energy is low. We wake up with the thoughts, “oh, no, just another day.” But how to overcome this feeling?
It’s easy to say: “just stop worrying about it.” Maybe for someone, it’s simple indeed but not for all of us. Finding the reason for that feeling is the most crucial step here. Is it an annoying job? Not enough time for hobbies? Am I afraid to try new things? Once I’m able to figure out the reason I would be ready to go next.
I can apply this Dunning–Kruger schema to my whole life and my general knowledge. I don’t know so much, and I will never know everything. But instead of becoming more desperate and sad, I prefer to do small steps to achieve my ambitions.
For example, I started doing this blog just a few months ago, but I wanted to start for a long time. I was full of reasons why it’s not the right time to start writing that I have nothing to tell people that my stories are not interesting for anyone. That I will be just yet another pretentious blog with no real value. Or that my writing skills are not right. And why do I need it - spend my free time, when I already have work?
I will never be ready and prepared for anything new. There is no moment when I would say: “Okay, Maxim, you learned enough, now go and write a blog.” Practice always wins. I need to try. Fail. Try again. Fail. Try more. Until I find my style and subjects (not just hyped things) that represent me, and then I can write from the heart with all my passion. So I started writing this blog. I haven’t found my style yet but I will there one day. Who knows where would take it!
This process of finding what is essential is laborious. But it never comes suddenly at one moment. We need to try different things, different approaches to find it. It’s a challenging adventure full of the unknown. The result worths all the effort, because then we come closer to our ambitions and goals.
We all can achieve great things. Learn how to code, write blogs, draw comics, yachting, you name it. It requires time and a lot of effort from our side. Practice and mistakes are the best friends.
How to stop worrying and start doing something?
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that” - Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Chapter 2
It doesn’t mean that you should live in a crazy fast mindset. Be patient, but it doesn’t mean that you can do anything. Practice hard. Learn things. Talk to people in the industry. Care about work-life balance. Try new things and not be afraid that someone could judge them. The modern world is a fast-paced place, the earlier you will benefit from it.
Treat every day as a day full of new opportunities, not like “just another working day.” Of course, we all have days when our energy is low, or we don’t have any mood. It’s fine! We are not machines.
I don’t believe in the word “talent.” We all can do great things if we put enough effort into it. Sometimes I can be lazy, and I want to cover it by saying, “well, I don’t have a talent.” But then I realize that I’m just lazy and my will is not stable.
I’m not saying that we all need to always have a positive mindset or “you-can-do-it” approach. It’s a fairy tale for business and personal growth coaches. I can not go inside the head and mind of anyone to see what drives this person. No one can do that. So it’s all guesswork and personal experience. The funny part here - it works well because we are all humans, we all want to live our best lives and be happy. And even if someone’s experience doesn’t work for me, I can listen to someone else. Might be his experience is relevant to me.
Follow your dreams and ambitions. Our work doesn’t affect it at all. Yes, it takes 8 hours per day, but it doesn’t mean that once you finish your work - the day is over. Do small steps. Enjoy your hobbies. Meet your friends and talk about all the things.
Care a lot about your sleep. Sleep should not be treated as a punishment like “oh no, another 8 hours for nothing”. It is an essential part of our life. It affects our mood, our energy, and our focus. I recommend the excellent book about it “Sleep smarter” by Shawn Stevenson if you are interested.
Do sports! Not just to look fit and attractive but also to stay healthy. There is no need to go crazy about it, but regular small exercises will help a lot.
I can’t promise that all these pieces of advice will work for you. But maybe a few of them will do, and that would already be a great result of my blog post.
Oh, and to give the example of my current goals: I want to finally learn how to play the harmonica and I want to give a public speech.