I read a great line on a forum recently – “Why is it so hard to put into practice what you know?” Answer: “…because in Theory – theory and practice are the same thing, but in Practice – they are not”
I’m like most people, I only put a small amount of what I learn into practice. I’ve procrastinated a lot in my life. This used to bother me but I’m ok with it now. What changed me was the realisation (thanks to a perfectly timed comment from a great mentor) that our time on earth is short and that I was never going to get to ‘do it all’ anyway. I always knew this but never really internalised it.
For me, ‘swallowing the blue pill’ meant I had to let go of notions that I had subconsciously courted my entire life. It was hard. It felt like I was in some sense cutting myself adrift from the old familiar me.
Going through this process made me realise that my biggest sin of all was not the bad decisions I’d made nor the wrong directions I’d taken in life, rather it was the time I waste every day. I haven’t fully grasped it yet and do find myself wasting time now and again, but I’m more honest with myself about that now. I’ve dropped the internal judgment and instead work to create systems in my immediate environment that keep me on track. It’s working well but needs to be constantly improved. I put a countdown timer on my desktop, it counts down the number of estimated days I have left in life – that helps!
I make a serious effort to only do those things that further my goals and bring me closer to my dream. This involves cutting out a lot of ‘stuff’ I used to do and breaking the ingrained habits of doing them to free myself up for doing what matters.
If I had to say what the secret to this is, I would say it’s about clearly defining your dream in a way that feels right to you and makes sense, then committing to it with full intent on achieving it.
A mistake I used to make was believing that I had to know clearly what my purpose in life was, and since I didn’t know I felt paralysed and unable to take steps towards it. This was a limiting belief.
In theory I knew, but in practice I didn’t know how. The truth is you just need to pick whatever purpose seems right to you at any given moment and set things in motion. You can change your purpose whenever you want, and typically that’s what people do. Life becomes clearer to you once you encounter the challenges in your way, they shape you and help you tune in deeper to the real you. It’s the real you that knows your purpose.
My dream is not just one thing, it is an idealised version of the kind of life I genuinely want to live. It encompasses my work for sure, but it is centred around my family, my friends and my desire to make a decent contribution. It is structured around how I want to spend the hours of my days and the days of my life.
It takes a clear goal before your brain can focus on the diversity of tasks you need to get done. Once you have this you can then pour all the theory you have learned into real practice and start making progress. Forget about everything else, there’s too little time!