I've been struggling to lift myself out of a slump this last week. I’ve not been the usual happy person with a positive, productive mindset.
Maybe it's the Norfolk weather 🌧. Last week it went from warm sunny days to cold, wet and windy pretty much overnight. Or maybe it's because this way of life is here to stay and the uncertainty is weighing me down.
But I don’t think that’s the main reason. I'm pretty sure it's because I make unreasonable requests of myself. When I make commitments that I can't keep, my internal gibbering monkey brain heaps scorn on me for failing. "Ha! See? You idiot? You always do this! You're not going to succeed at anything! You're going to end up just like......" and the cycle of doom continues.
For example, I recently proclaimed on Instagram that I was going to meditate for 60 minutes for 60 days. It was a public commitment to keep me accountable. But of course I couldn't do it. Things got in the way. I broke the chain, then the self-loathing started and permeated into other areas of my life.
I became unproductive, binge watching Marvel films and drinking lots of cups of tea. It was starting to affect the people I love and those I work with.
Thankfully my wife stepped in with some gentle words. She helped me see that I often make lofty goals and set myself up for failure.
She reminded me of the quote in her first book by Debbie Millman: "Anything worthwhile takes a long time." This is the quote she lived by to get her first book published.
I need to look for “minimum viable commitments” and stick to them. Start small and slowly increase over time to build confidence.
It made me think of the law of compounding interest which can be applied to any endeavour, not just in the world of finance.
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.” Albert Einstein
I've now gained more self awareness and understanding of my behaviours. I'm intent on reframing my goals into smaller goals I can stick to. For example, I'm happy to do guided meditation for 20 mins as part of my morning routine rather than just sitting for an hour. Or instead of posting 5 tweets a day, I’ll aim for 5 a week.
Honestly. What was I thinking??
Just writing this, I feel my mood is lifting. Thanks for reading.
(And thanks to Becca, I'm eternally grateful for your unending support xxx)
Now onto the content.
"In our experience, one of the scariest snakes in the room is the fear of failure, which manifests itself in such ways as fear of being judged, fear of getting started, fear of the unknown. And while much has been said about fear of failure, it still is the single biggest obstacle people face to creative success."
Tom Kelley, David Kelley, Creative Confidence. Resurfaced with readwise.io
This tweet gained some interest. It came from a thought I had while reading. I’m using twitter to test out ideas before I write about them. It sparked a few interesting responses.
Play Long-term Games With Long-term People by Naval Ravikant
In keeping with the theme of this newsletter, Naval extends the concept of compounding to wealth, relationships and knowledge. I like the idea that marriage is compounding, where you invest in a relationship every day and the bond grows ever stronger. Or with keeping fit, a little every day is easier than a long period doing nothing and trying to reach the same level of fitness.
All the evidence-based advice we found on how to be more successful in any job by Benjamin Todd, 80000hours.org
I highly respect this website. Their career guide is an encyclopedia of advice for anyone. Carve out an hour or two and take notes on this one. I like how it starts with ‘taking care of yourself’. And it is evidence-based. Which means they’ve done the research for you (they provide references) and it seems nicely biased towards doing good in the world.
H for Handwashing Campaign on the Global Handwashing Partnership site.
It's show my work time. I’ve been working with Unilever on this campaign for Global Handwashing Day on 15th October. I’m excited to share it with the world. The letter H has always stood for common objects like ‘Hat’. We want to forever change what H stands for. From ‘H for Hat’, to ‘H for Handwashing’. And it isn’t just meant for children, but for all educators in life – teachers, parents, mentors, care-givers, siblings, grandparents. So that means you! Download social media, share it, get involved :) Access the resources here.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter. Please drop me a line to say “hi.” Tell me what you’ve been interested in recently; or what insights you’ve had about work, impact, and being a better human. I’d love to learn from you.
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