As 2013 fades into my memory and the newness and potential of 2014 presents itself, I can’t help but think of a particular book; The War of Art came recommended to me by a friend, one who shares a similar mindset. We both work at a job that we view as temporary. Something to fill the day (and the wallet) while we work towards reaching our potential in our particular areas of interest. For him, the dream is music and art. For me, the dream is writing (and possibly radio/broadcast related).
You see, the phrase “birds of a feather flock together” comes to mind. Here we are, working in a small store in a small town surrounded by small minded people. Yet, we both dream big. There’s a certain untapped potential that we can sense on one another. That’s where the previously mentioned book comes into play. We both find what the author calls “Resistance” playing a huge part in our lives. Resistance has been called many different things by many different people. Basically, Resistance is what makes you lazy – that voice that says you can take it easy when you know you should be working towards something. Resistance is what convinces you to plop down in front of the TV or computer and waste away an evening. Resistance tells you that you’re too tired to exercise. Resistance is always telling you that tomorrow will be the day you start working towards your goals. Resistance wants you to be comfortable at all times – no point in exerting yourself in any way! Resistance is a bitch.
Resistance is the single biggest hurdle I face in my life. The reason why this book is a burning presence in my mind lately is because (for me) it gave Resistance a face. It describes Resistance and its intentions succinctly, giving me something tangible that I can be aware of. Before, I knew there was an inner turmoil, a part of me that didn’t want me to try to stretch myself out and seek accomplishments, but it was too vague, and I could never quite put a finger on it. Now? Now I’m aware.
Me and this friend happen to have had our eyes opened around the same time. It’s like we’re standing in a dim room with all our friends, peers, coworkers, etc. Everyone is shoulder to shoulder, wanting to move on to the other room, but feeling a little claustrophobic and scared. Unwilling to move, as they can’t quite make out the way. Me and this friend, however, happen to have this handy little tool. A faint headlamp just popped on for the two of us, one that allows us to just make out what lies ahead. Enough so that we feel comfortable moving forward, even if it means leaving behind the others.
While that previous analogy sucked, there has been plenty of analogies and metaphors flying around in the recent conversations I’ve had with this friend. Talks of having our eyes opened. Talks of swimming when before we were content to float. Quotes of the motivational variety, from famous people and ones not quite as famous. Quotes like this one from Hellen Keller
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision
We’re at the same place, and we’re realizing that we can’t just sit around and hope life falls into our lap – rather, we’re going to have to work for it. Finding that likeness in another person (especially in a small town where talks of change or improvement is met with hostility, fear, and/or Resistance) is refreshing, and our conversations have been lively and entertaining. A sense of momentum is building. That momentum, and that call to overcome Resistance, is what I keep thinking about when I look towards 2014.
2013 in Review
It was an interesting year, to say the least. I sat on this very website at the beginning of the year, and called for big changes. Surprise surprise, I was right (even though saying there will be change in a given year is like saying the year is at least 360 days long). As I sit here, I’m fully aware of what is new. This laptop I’m typing on – new. The shirt, pants, belt, shoes, chair, table, apartment, section of the town I’m living in…all new. The notch on the belt is new, as I was consistent enough with my pledge to run that I had to make a few more notches to keep my pants from falling down. Even the dedication to which I am approaching this post is new. Often, when I would sit down to write, I would get to the first test, and quit. That is, I would reach that first moment where I would be stumped on what to put down next – so I would quit. Click away and left myself be distracted by the wonders of the internet. Anything to alleviate this feeling of a mental block. I’m having to strain my brain just a tad? Well, fuck that!
A new approach I’ve taken (much in thanks to The War of Art), is to plow through those moments. To put in the effort and quit waiting for inspiration to strike. This mindset has helped me tap out three chapters of a book idea (~3500 words so far) when I was struggling for words at the beginning of Chapter 1. Ideas would always come fairly easy, but I would pat myself on the back for having them, and never allow them to come into fruition. I’d be content simply having thought of them, and lament the fact that they never became reality when I, myself, never sat down to allow for it to happen. This is one of the things I’ve wanted to carry over and focus on during the new year.
As a whole, it has been a solid year for me. I stayed out of trouble, for the most part. I pushed myself into uncomfortable situations, and came away glad that I had. It wasn’t enough to coast by in life, I thought, and several times I decided to force a change. I’ve begun to makes steps in the direction I think I want to head in life. Nothing serious, to be sure, but baby steps is better than nothing. I’ve met a woman whom I’m happy to share my life with, and while you never know what will happen, it’s been special up to this point. I’ve focused on my mental and physical health, and have become a better person for it. More positive and more fit, two things I would have been thrilled to hear about at the beginning of 2013.
I want to keep the momentum, that’s for sure. I want to try to succeed, every day, in making myself a better person. Luckily, there are several ways for me to accomplish that
- Work on a new skill (piano, etc)
- Check/update goals and to-do list
It’s pretty simple, but if I can accomplish at the very least one of those things from the above list each and every day, I’ll consider it a success. I’m tired of letting Resistance win certain days – where I accomplish nothing and lie in bed, lamenting the fact while having done nothing to overcome.
I also want to fail more in 2014. Failing more means that I have tried more, something I haven’t done enough of in my life. I’ve been too scared, too often. Sitting here, looking back on this post, I see enough errors or oddly worded sentences where (in the past) I’d become too ashamed to post, holding down the delete key and questioning why I even bothered. No more. Now, I’ll let my thoughts breathe a little easier, and quit trying to stifle my creative mind so much. I want to try to post consistently again, possibly once a week? We’ll see. I’m thinking, if it rolls around to a Sunday and I haven’t posted anything in the past seven days, I’ll force myself to sit down and hammer out at least 300 words. Hmm. That’s basically saying I’m only going to post on Sundays, isn’t it? Well, whatever it takes.