Whenever anyone gets behind the wheel of a car, one moment of indecision can be the cause of a near miss out an accidents. Whenever I’m at the wheel, I try to remember rushing can be dangerous to myself and others. In other words I attempt to ‘pick a lane’ and stick with it, when I’m driving, and in other areas of life.
We’ve all done it. Turn a corner a little too fast and veer into the incorrect lane, then need to change back. Change lanes without signalling for long enough. Forget which lane we need and change multiple times, without looking over our shoulder, swerving in front of a car who knows where they are going. It might be a lack of concentration, or simple forgetfulness, but it affects more than just ourselves. People around us need to know what we are doing so they can help, if they have the mind to. Seeing we know what we are doing will also help them stay out of our way if they wish to. When we give off confused vibes this can frustrate others, leading to poor decisions and possibly, heaven forbid, an accident. Concentration is key, so we can all get to where we’re going safely.
Something that will help us do this is a small amount of advance planning. Where is our destination? Are we travelling at peak time? Is it ok if we are a little late? What is the best alternate route or mode of transport if option one becomes unavailable? Spending a small amount of time the day before, or the morning before, will save a lot of hassle if we need the answer to any of these questions during our journey.
Life can require the same attention to detail. We fly by the seat of our pants at times, drifting around, looking for the thing that will light the fire in our belly. This works sometimes. A professional sportsperson would struggle to improve if they didn’t put in practice to know what to do in stressful in-game situations. A builder would struggle to make a legal construction if they didn’t keep up to date with what the requirements were. In these situations they will need to dedicate time educate themselves. For this part of their life they have chosen their lane and know how to get the best out of travelling in it. It’s up to them to put in the effort, to work hard, to get better at what they do, and show this to the world.
This weekend just ending I was tired before it even started. It feels like I’m playing the same broken record over and over. Every week I say to myself, “I’m going to go to sleep at the same time every day this week, get up, and stick to my writing routine.” Seven of the past eight weekends I have not been able to abide by this decision. Something has to change. Not because I can’t manage resting more during the weekends, but because I have so many story and song ideas I don’t have time to waste! The compulsive side of my personality meant I played The Witcher 3 for far too long. But, differently to usual I accepted I had made this decision and rolled with it. I did not read and respond to as many wonderful blog posts as I wanted. I did not write as much of my book as I wanted (which is difficult now anyway because there’s only two or three pages left to draft!) I have uploaded this blog post about twenty four hours later than I wished to. I did finish editing a short story with my dad for another competition, and thank him immensely for keeping me honest in terms of writing, and keeping my creativity engaged. I finished the last few chapters of my read-through of the bible in one year. This was an immense achievement, but not one I will sit on. I thank God every day for providing me the right message when I need it.
I’m not perfect and I never will be. But I need to pick the right lane to do the things I want to do, and get off my backside when I start to put myself in a rut. Again and again I keep finding the words of Jocko Willink:
Discipline equals freedom.
The way we live cultivates the life we have. It’s a bit of a circular truism, but at work, playing sport, hanging out with family and friends, we have choices. The way we make our choices can bleed into one another. The good ones. And the bad ones. If I choose to spend most of my time outside of work actively being unproductive I risk this happening at work too.
For me, choosing to be disciplined on the weekends is tough. I want to spend them writing as much as I can, because I love writing. Once I start, I fall into the worlds I have imagined, and will imagine, so easily and can write for hours. But getting started, therein lies the heart of the problem for me on the weekends. That’s where my effort needs to lie in the foreseeable future.
What acts of discipline do you need to put in place? How will you go about this?
Keep on keeping on making those good decisions, dear readers. Peace.