Deadlines, Pain and Learning

We all have deadlines, doesn’t matter who you are. Even if you have a trust fund and are living on a beach in Thailand, you still have a deadline and it’s called death. Sorry to get so morbid on you, but this is the only deadline that ever really gives me anxiety anymore. Of course I still meet my commitments, it’s not like I don’t get my work done on time, it’s the opposite. I finish everything (for my clients that is, my personal projects are a different story) I just don’t get stressed out about it anymore. I think the human mind has an amazing capacity to deal with stress, this is true with all kinds of stress (mental, psychological, physical…etc.). Let me give you a couple examples.

Physical stress: I have done the P90X workout twice now, the first time I did what I thought my body could handle. For those of you who don’t know what this is, here is the cliff notes version. Ninety Days of working out, the program changes up the workout to keep you from plateauing. This is hard enough on it’s own but something special happened the second time I did the program. I pushed myself farther than the first time, instead of stopping when my body started to become uncomfortable, I pushed through it. I ignored the pain. I was safe and I didn’t do anything to hurt myself, I just went outside my comfort zone. I noticed results quicker than the first time. My chubby body, which loves to be sedentary, was protesting, telling my mind to stop. But once you push past that boundary, your mind knows that you can take the pain and your sphere of experience grows.

Mental Stress: It’s like the first time I designed a magazine. With a project this large (so many variables, and approvals, and design decisions) that premiere issue was almost overwhelming. But over the past ten years I have learned how to make lists, manage my time, design efficiently but with quality. These are skills my mind and body only learned from being put in that high pressure situation. And once you complete something you thought you couldn’t, your skill set grows. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, indeed! It’s not like choosing a typeface for a headline is going to kill me, I just feel your confidence grows with every decision you make. You have to remember though, that it is just a project or a job. You do the best you can and forget the rest. 99.9% of the time you get it done. You’ve been through the pain and learned from it so why go through that pain again. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

You also have to realize, you control what you can and as long as your shit is in order, you’re as good as gold. Like starting a new job or playing a new sport, your body adapts, your mind adapts, and you become better, stronger. Outliers: The Story of Success is a non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field, is a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. That is a hell of a lot of time, but we see the results as we do something repeatedly over time. Our brains re-wire themselves and we become more powerful, inside our own heads. I may not be the spitting image of Michelangelo’s David, but my brain is buff baby. So keep on doing what your doing. Like writing your blog, or working out, or just surviving. We’re all good at something. It’s just about getting it done, over and over again, until it’s better, better than his, better than hers, better than what we did before. Because what is the point of doing something if we’re not learning, might as well check off your ultimate deadline. Not quite yet, we’ve still got some learning to do.

1 Comment

  1. yearstricken says:

    Isn’t it funny how we can do incredible things when we have to/want to, and then when we look back, we can’t figure out how we endured what we did. People, including me, say, “I could never do that again.” But sometimes we do, and sometimes we do even more.

    It may be too late for me to have a buff body, but I like your idea of having a buff mind.


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