Don't Wait For Something To Get Better, Make It Better Yourself

by Paul Hudson

Man, I’ve had some incredibly lazy days in the last week. I’ve spent more time lying in bed and binge-watching TV shows than I’d care to admit.

Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t been slacking on work. I’ve been writing -- I even made progress on my novel -- and working on a startup I'm helping to launch.

I haven’t fallen behind. Though there may or may not have been a better way to spend my time, I don’t regret taking the time off. I'm guilt-free.

I wasn’t putting off things that I needed to get done. I had time to spare, so I used it to do whatever I wanted.

This meant catching up on random shows and watching Dr. Seuss’ "The Lorax" (fun movie, by the way).

There is nothing wrong with occasionally killing time, as long as disconnecting from reality won’t hurt you.

Sometimes we just need to separate ourselves from everything around us and allow some distractions.

Of course, that’s not something you want to do regularly. But doing it once every couple of months months might benefit you.

Some people -- workaholics and the like -- have built up an aversion to taking things down a few notches and giving themselves time to smell the roses.

You may not be interested in watching animated movies, but there must be things that you enjoy doing other than working. These things don't have to be goal-specific; they just have to allow you to live a little more.

Even workaholics like to take vacations from time to time, because not doing so would make them less productive.

Or maybe they’re on the verge of a mental breakdown. There's a time for play and a time for work. The only question is which is which.

Luckily, it's a very simple question to answer. Don’t jump into action when things will get better on their own.

Do make a move when something won’t resolve itself -- when the only option is to make it better yourself.

Often, doing more work won’t bring the goal any closer. That extra studying, extra research and extra time in the office might not benefit you. Sometimes it will, of course -- but not always.

When taking human nature into account -- as well as the fact that certain things require time to come into their own -- it's clear that there can't ALWAYS be a way to push the envelope.

Even when there is, that something -- like taking a long walk -- could seem entirely unrelated. Walks actually quiet your mind, giving you a little extra edge when you get back to your desk.

The truth is that a flow exists. It's created by the passing of time and all the little bits and pieces that make up our reality.

It’s almost always better to go with that flow than to go against it. You've already created the momentum; now take your foot off the gas.

You’ll notice that I used the word "momentum." That’s because momentum has enough force on its own to move along your project -- whatever it may be -- and get you closer to your goal.

There is a limit to how fast certain things can progress before the friction increases with additional applied force. You’ll find that pushing yourself harder will only make your life harder, without getting you closer to your mark.

Now that we have that out of the way, remember this: Things never get better entirely on their own -- ever.

Sure, sometimes you may get lucky, and some things might fall into your lap. But unless you're prepared when this happens, you won't be able to make anything of the offering.

At the very least, you need to prepare yourself for opportunities to improve your life.

There may not always be something that you can do to fix things, to move things along and to solve the problem. But you should always be prepared for possible outcomes.

Of course, if there is something that you could do to make things better, don’t be lazy or a coward, and don't hope that things get better on their own. Failing to act when action is required is still failing.

Life shouldn’t be a constant uphill battle. But people are pretty stupid.

We're quick learners when there's something concrete to be learned. But we don't always pick up on the more subtle lessons.

A lot of the lessons we should be learning are more complex than we realize. Or we're simply opposed to the reality in front of us, so we ignore it.

Because we're overzealous, we do too much when it’s not necessary -- especially when we first take on a new project.

But we get lazy in time. We do little to no work when work is needed. The longer a goal takes to reach, the less likely we are to reach it.

I know that a lot of people believe that the world is designed to make things turn out for the best. Some even argue they're "not wise enough to comprehend the complexity of it all" when things are clearly going very wrong.

It’s a nice way to remove stress. But that's all it is: a nice way to trick your mind into believing there's no problem.

In this world, you benefit from what you create with your own two hands. Unless you make life better by yourself, chances are it won’t get better on its own.

Again, this doesn’t mean pushing yourself without logic or reason. That will do more harm than good.

What you will have to learn is the difference between "play time" and "go time." You'll have to figure out how to calm down when it's time to relax -- and how to rally when it's time to work.

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