Your cerebral cavity.
Are you making decisions in order to be special . . . or happy?
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Look at me! I see you looking away. That question is a B-E-A-S-T. But, answer it, you slippy little nipple, you.
WOULD YA RATHER BE SPECIAL, OR HAPPY?
Bear with me here: I have biiiiiiiiiiig thoughts on this. Including the following statements you may or may not wish to read with a whisky:
- Many of us are total workaholic fucksticks.
- Many of us got there because we were trying to overcome something: poverty, trauma, childhoods, being forced to watch the horse drown in The Neverending Story.
- We made it! We did shit! It worked!
- We felt special.
- Anddddd, now we’re basically re-creating that loop over and over and over again—even if the things we do to make us feel special, are the same things that are making us unhappy.
Because, riddle me this: do you really want to run that membership group? Do you really feel like it’s your calling? Do you really, really, realllllllly want to lead a movement around sustainable squirrel-proof birdfeeders?
Or, are you just looking for the high that comes with admiration?
What if you let yourself be average?
I know, fuck average. I FEEL THE SAME WAY. But at the same time, it’s worth recognizing where that narrative comes from. Oftentimes, average is the enemy of people whose situation never let them be.
Raise your hand if you ever actually resented people who “got” to be average. If you never had the luxury of living in a cozy, average home; of having cozy, average parents; of having cozy, average things. (Like Jansport backpacks and Vans sneakers…ahem.)
So, you rebelled against average. Threw spears into the earth and vowed never to want to be. ⚔️ If average didn’t embrace you with her soft & comforting ways, then you would reject average—forevahhhhhh.
Now there’s some fun psychology!
Then, you know what happens?
Eventually you grow up and you go out of your way to keep re-creating that narrative—because that narrative’s your identity. Everything you do is based around that story. The idea of being uninteresting actually, physically hurts. It whiplashes your insides; throws your back out.
As a result? You end up choosing work that re-creates that narrative, too.
You choose work that lets you be special.
Because even though you may not even enjoy it, most other people can’t do it. They’d have to work too hard; it would be too challenging; they don’t have your skills; they’d never make it.
But that’s precisely where you shine. Nothing is too hard for you. You’re exceptional. And there’s precisely where the addiction swoops in.
It’s not an addiction to work; it’s an addiction to feeling special.
Dun, dun, dun. Did a small lavalier mic just drop in the echos of the internet? I think it did. At least, it did for me when I figured this out for myself.
To combat this mind schmuck, you know what question I started asking myself?
“To what end?”
To what end am I going to do all of those things? To what end am I going to start that business? To what end am I going to create that high-level program? To what end am I going to speak in Finland? (Just kidding, I’d love to speak in Finland.) To what end am I going to kill myself every day?
Is it so I can do work I care about? Or is it so I can seem more impressive—to myself?
For me, I never did things to impress others; I did them to impress myself. I wanted a damn good story to tell myself about my worth.
Unfortunately, being impressive and and being content are often two very, very, very different things.
And if I can encourage you to do anything? It’s to choose the latter first. Filter every decision you make through that lens. Will this make you happier, or not? Money is secondary. Because you can make money in 1,000 different ways, but you can’t make more time.
Be discerning when it comes to the quality of your life.
Do what makes you feel good, instead of what makes you look good—because guess what?
If you practice this strategy enough?
You’ll radiate so much joy, you may very well just get both.