Worlds best self-improvement super fan

Puzzle

If you try to tackle a big project and end up getting stuck somewhere along the way, it might mean that some steps are missing.

Imagine trying to complete a difficult, 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Even though it has a thousand pieces, finishing the puzzle requires to complete more than a thousand steps.

You need to spend time sorting, grouping, and looking for edge pieces. You also might have to undo some parts of your work as you go along—which adds more steps, since now you need to override previous tasks that you thought had been completed.

This is all logical enough, but a) it takes time, and b) if you haven’t ever done a large puzzle before, you might get frustrated. You might give up along the way, leaving your puzzle half-finished and sitting on the kitchen table for weeks. Finally, you push the pieces back into the box, swearing off puzzles until the next family holiday gathering or global pandemic.

Maybe the root cause of puzzle neglect could be traced to the beginning: you underestimated the number of steps, as well as the amount of effort that would be required to persevere beyond the easy ones.

Two weeks ago, I asked a question in my newsletter: “Why haven’t you started?”

My theory was that a lot of people (maybe even most of us) have something that we really want to do, but we struggle with making any real progress. The more I investigate this question, the more I believe that the answer is twofold.

First, we struggle in getting started because we don’t really know what the first steps are. Often there are prerequisites, steps you have to complete before the “official” first steps, which effectively means that your list of steps is incomplete. There’s an obvious solution to problem one: we need better lists of steps.

But that’s not all! The other reason we struggle has to do with self-doubt or some other internal obstacle.

In response to my question, a lot of readers said something like this:

  • “I know what to do, I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
  • “I’ve been thinking about it for years, but I still haven’t done anything.”
  • “I failed once, so I’m afraid to try again.”

In these situations, having a better list of steps doesn’t fully solve the problem—or perhaps we could say that step one is “learn to believe in yourself.” This will require some more investigation, so I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Until then, know your steps, and have confidence in yourself. Puzzles are hard for a reason!

P.S. One more thing: in jigsaw puzzles, as well as many other challenging endeavors, some steps are harder than others. Some sections may actually be easy, and even in a hard puzzle, putting in the last few pieces is going to be a lot easier than the ones in the middle.

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Image: Marcus

More posts on mindset ok? who agrees?

Have you ever convinced yourself to do something in the name of #self-care? Watched an entire season of a Friends in one day? It was self-care! 

Let’s be real, we’ve all been there. The trouble is that it’s often hard to know whether you’re actually practicing self-care or simply being lazy.

Rest is SO important and I often talk about letting yourself take breaks, but it’s difficult to know sometimes if you actually need a break or if you need to push through and get things done.

For example, exercise is an important element of physical self-care. If you have a workout scheduled but you’ve had a stressful day and feel like taking a break, is it because your body truly needs a rest or because you’re trying to avoid working out? Of course, nothing bad is going to happen if you miss a day, but you may benefit more if you just do the workout. 

There’s a difference between self-care, self-soothing, self-indulgence, and laziness – and it’s important to be clear on what these things look like for you. Otherwise, you might be sabotaging yourself by finding excuses NOT to take care of yourself when you actually need self-care in your life.

In this post, I’m sharing some tips to help you distinguish between self-care, self-soothing, self-indulgence, and old fashioned laziness. If you’ve struggled to know whether you’ve been taking care of yourself or sabotaging yourself, this post is for you.

Let’s Talk About Self-Sabotage


Doing things in the name of #selfcare has become increasingly popular, but are you actually practicing self-care or just sabotaging yourself? Here’s how to tell if something is self-care or self-sabotage.

What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage is getting in the way of your own success. Rather than external circumstances preventing you from reaching your goals, it means you’re doing things that are stopping you from reaching those goals.

One of the best explanations for why we self-sabotage comes from Gay Hendricks’s book, The Big Leap. Hendricks describes that we all have limits to how much love, success, and creativity we will let ourselves enjoy.

When you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, you might fall back into old habits. You might try to push yourself back into your comfort zone when something feels difficult or uncertain (even when you feel like a good change is coming).

Related Post: 5 Signs You’re Dealing With Self-Sabotage


How does self-sabotage show up in self-care?

Self-care is so important for protecting your time and energy, but it loses its effectiveness when you start to call everything self-care.

Unless you’re clear on YOUR definition of self-care, you can end up convincing yourself that anything is fair game.

At its core, self-care involves activities and practices we engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and enhance our well-being.

Here are some examples:

Self-sabotage means doing the opposite of the thing you need. You might talk yourself out of self-care and convince yourself that you don’t need it right now or that you need to focus on work instead.

Even knowing this, it’s difficult to identify which actions are self-care or self-sabotage in disguise. Let’s talk about how you can tell the difference.

Related Post: The Unspoken Complexity of “Self-Care” by Deanna Zandt

Types of Perceived Self-Care


Doing things in the name of #selfcare has become increasingly popular, but are you actually practicing self-care or just sabotaging yourself? Here’s how to tell if something is self-care or self-sabotage.

We can call anything self-care if we really want to, but here are some common terms that people often use interchangeably with self-care:

Self-Soothing

Self-soothing (or self-pampering) involves little to no exertion from you that makes you feel better in some way. It may act as a sense of escape, especially if you’ve had a stressful day. For example, getting a manicure or watching Netflix. You might feel relaxed by these activities, but they’re not necessarily going to help you find balance or become a healthier person.

Now, self-soothing is not frivolous or unimportant. It’s good to relax! But it’s important to know when you’re self-soothing rather than practicing self-care.

Self-Indulgence

There’s also self-indulgence which involves excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s desires. Self-indulgence is a “treat yo self” mentality. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while, but self-indulgence is not true self-care (remember, self-care is about regular practices and habits whereas self-indulgence is better in small doses).

Laziness

Then we have good old fashioned laziness. Laziness is the quality of being unwilling to work or use your energy to do something. An example of this would be putting off a task (especially related to self-care) because you don’t feel like it.

Is laziness okay? If you’re avoiding something, not exactly. Doing nothing doesn’t always mean you’re being lazy. If you’re being intentional with relaxation, it can serve you well. You’re allowed to veg out and give your mind and body a break.

“Self-care only works if you’re actually caring for yourself and not just letting yourself off the hook.”Hannah Jack

Choosing Self-Care


Doing things in the name of #selfcare has become increasingly popular, but are you actually practicing self-care or just sabotaging yourself? Here’s how to tell if something is self-care or self-sabotage.

In order to know if you’re in need of true self-care, you have to listen to yourself and make the choice to do what is best for you. Your mind will try to trick you into doing what’s easiest (which is often the lazy route). That’s why awareness is key.

Everything comes down to awareness. What classifies something as self-care is ultimately the intention behind it, so you have to be aware of your own intentions.

Here are some questions to help you become more aware of your intentions when making decisions around self-care:

  • Am I making this decision to escape or avoid something?
  • Will this choice help to reduce my stress levels?
  • Am I trying to disconnect from myself?
  • Will this choice enhance my well-being?
  • Will my future self thank me or suffer later because of my actions now?
  • Am I letting my head get in the way of doing what I really need?
  • Would I be able to do the things that I need to do more effectively if I a) rest now or b) work now and rest later?
  • Am I going to feel better by doing this thing? Am I going to feel worse?

Remember, awareness is key. Slow down and ask yourself if what you’re doing is self-improving or self-defeating. When given the chance, choose the option that enhances your well-being.


How do you tell the difference between self-care and self-sabotage?

I hope this post has helped you to identify what self-care looks like in your own life. Here are some more posts to help you on your self-care journey:

Related Posts:

The post Self-Care or Self-Sabotage? How To Tell The Difference appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

who else really loves self-improvement ?

By Leo Babauta

For anyone trying to do meaningful work, feeling connected to that meaning can be a big challenge.

It turns out, even if you can stay focused on your meaningful work for most of the day … it’s easy to lose connection to why it’s meaningful. To why you care about doing this in the first place.

We get stuck in the drudgery of doing endless meaningless tasks, stuck in task mode, rather than feeling that the tasks are meaningful ways to spend our day.

So how do we deal with this challenge? Not surprisingly, the answer is practice.

Let’s take a look.

Have a Deeper Why

If you haven’t done this step yet, don’t skip it. We need to find a deeper reason to do our work, other than, “To get paid,” or “Because it’s on my list or in my inbox,” or “Because other people are waiting for me to do it.”

If we don’t have a deeper reason, work becomes meaningless drudgery. We can put up with it for years, but it won’t feel like a meaningful way to spend our lives. It won’t feel inspired.

So why do you care about doing what you do?

What makes this meaningful to you?

There are lots of possible answers … here are a few:

  • Because you’re helping people you care about
  • To make a change in the world that feels powerful
  • To help people who are struggling or in pain
  • To preserve something you care about
  • To protect or serve your loved ones
  • It’s an act of love for yourself or others

In my experience, the most meaningful reasons to do anything are to serve others, out of love. But sometimes, we have to start by loving ourselves — that’s incredibly meaningful as well.

So get clear on your Why. Feel connected to it.

Set Rituals to Connect with Meaning

It turns out, just knowing why something is meaningful isn’t enough — we tend to forget it as soon as we get into Doing mode.

And so having points during your day when you connect to your meaning is a good idea. Create some rituals that will remind you to practice feeling connected.

Some simple examples:

  • A short 2-5 minute meditation in the morning or evening, where you visualize the people you care about, and practice connecting to their hearts
  • A devotional practice on your yoga mat, or in front of an altar, where you think about the struggles of the people you’re helping, and devote your work to them
  • A photo, Buddha statue, vase of flowers, candle — some object that will remind you to pause and practice feeling connected to your Why
  • A short moment of pause, where you set intentions before you start writing or answering messages (for example) — intentions of serving people you care about

What rituals would you like to create to connect to your meaning?

Practice Connecting to Meaning

Rituals are structure in our lives to help us remember to feel connected to meaning … but they won’t really do anything if we just go through the motions.

We have to practice really feeling the meaning.

So how do we do that? For me, it’s about feeling it in my heart. I practice feeling the love and devotion for the people I care about (all of you!), picturing any difficulties, struggle, pain or fear that you might have, and wishing you all happiness. Basically, a version of lovingkindness meditation, aimed specifically at the people I’m trying to serve.

I practice standing as Love, in my being. I practice feeling compassion in my heart. I practice feeling devotion to those I care deeply about, in my core. And then I see what flows from that — writing an article like this, recording a video, sending an email or message.

I practice trying to reconnect to that feeling as I’m writing or doing the task. I’ll forget, and lose connection, over and over again. That’s OK — it’s not about being perfect. It’s about coming back to meaning, over and over.

Because it makes every single thing I do so much more meaningful. Because it infuses my life with meaning. This is an inspired life! I wish you nothing less.

Worlds best self-improvement fan right here

Have you ever convinced yourself to do something in the name of #self-care? Watched an entire season of a Friends in one day? It was self-care! 

Let’s be real, we’ve all been there. The trouble is that it’s often hard to know whether you’re actually practicing self-care or simply being lazy.

Rest is SO important and I often talk about letting yourself take breaks, but it’s difficult to know sometimes if you actually need a break or if you need to push through and get things done.

For example, exercise is an important element of physical self-care. If you have a workout scheduled but you’ve had a stressful day and feel like taking a break, is it because your body truly needs a rest or because you’re trying to avoid working out? Of course, nothing bad is going to happen if you miss a day, but you may benefit more if you just do the workout. 

There’s a difference between self-care, self-soothing, self-indulgence, and laziness – and it’s important to be clear on what these things look like for you. Otherwise, you might be sabotaging yourself by finding excuses NOT to take care of yourself when you actually need self-care in your life.

In this post, I’m sharing some tips to help you distinguish between self-care, self-soothing, self-indulgence, and old fashioned laziness. If you’ve struggled to know whether you’ve been taking care of yourself or sabotaging yourself, this post is for you.

Let’s Talk About Self-Sabotage


Doing things in the name of #selfcare has become increasingly popular, but are you actually practicing self-care or just sabotaging yourself? Here’s how to tell if something is self-care or self-sabotage.

What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage is getting in the way of your own success. Rather than external circumstances preventing you from reaching your goals, it means you’re doing things that are stopping you from reaching those goals.

One of the best explanations for why we self-sabotage comes from Gay Hendricks’s book, The Big Leap. Hendricks describes that we all have limits to how much love, success, and creativity we will let ourselves enjoy.

When you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, you might fall back into old habits. You might try to push yourself back into your comfort zone when something feels difficult or uncertain (even when you feel like a good change is coming).

Related Post: 5 Signs You’re Dealing With Self-Sabotage


How does self-sabotage show up in self-care?

Self-care is so important for protecting your time and energy, but it loses its effectiveness when you start to call everything self-care.

Unless you’re clear on YOUR definition of self-care, you can end up convincing yourself that anything is fair game.

At its core, self-care involves activities and practices we engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and enhance our well-being.

Here are some examples:

Self-sabotage means doing the opposite of the thing you need. You might talk yourself out of self-care and convince yourself that you don’t need it right now or that you need to focus on work instead.

Even knowing this, it’s difficult to identify which actions are self-care or self-sabotage in disguise. Let’s talk about how you can tell the difference.

Related Post: The Unspoken Complexity of “Self-Care” by Deanna Zandt

Types of Perceived Self-Care


Doing things in the name of #selfcare has become increasingly popular, but are you actually practicing self-care or just sabotaging yourself? Here’s how to tell if something is self-care or self-sabotage.

We can call anything self-care if we really want to, but here are some common terms that people often use interchangeably with self-care:

Self-Soothing

Self-soothing (or self-pampering) involves little to no exertion from you that makes you feel better in some way. It may act as a sense of escape, especially if you’ve had a stressful day. For example, getting a manicure or watching Netflix. You might feel relaxed by these activities, but they’re not necessarily going to help you find balance or become a healthier person.

Now, self-soothing is not frivolous or unimportant. It’s good to relax! But it’s important to know when you’re self-soothing rather than practicing self-care.

Self-Indulgence

There’s also self-indulgence which involves excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s desires. Self-indulgence is a “treat yo self” mentality. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while, but self-indulgence is not true self-care (remember, self-care is about regular practices and habits whereas self-indulgence is better in small doses).

Laziness

Then we have good old fashioned laziness. Laziness is the quality of being unwilling to work or use your energy to do something. An example of this would be putting off a task (especially related to self-care) because you don’t feel like it.

Is laziness okay? If you’re avoiding something, not exactly. Doing nothing doesn’t always mean you’re being lazy. If you’re being intentional with relaxation, it can serve you well. You’re allowed to veg out and give your mind and body a break.

“Self-care only works if you’re actually caring for yourself and not just letting yourself off the hook.”Hannah Jack

Choosing Self-Care


Doing things in the name of #selfcare has become increasingly popular, but are you actually practicing self-care or just sabotaging yourself? Here’s how to tell if something is self-care or self-sabotage.

In order to know if you’re in need of true self-care, you have to listen to yourself and make the choice to do what is best for you. Your mind will try to trick you into doing what’s easiest (which is often the lazy route). That’s why awareness is key.

Everything comes down to awareness. What classifies something as self-care is ultimately the intention behind it, so you have to be aware of your own intentions.

Here are some questions to help you become more aware of your intentions when making decisions around self-care:

  • Am I making this decision to escape or avoid something?
  • Will this choice help to reduce my stress levels?
  • Am I trying to disconnect from myself?
  • Will this choice enhance my well-being?
  • Will my future self thank me or suffer later because of my actions now?
  • Am I letting my head get in the way of doing what I really need?
  • Would I be able to do the things that I need to do more effectively if I a) rest now or b) work now and rest later?
  • Am I going to feel better by doing this thing? Am I going to feel worse?

Remember, awareness is key. Slow down and ask yourself if what you’re doing is self-improving or self-defeating. When given the chance, choose the option that enhances your well-being.


How do you tell the difference between self-care and self-sabotage?

I hope this post has helped you to identify what self-care looks like in your own life. Here are some more posts to help you on your self-care journey:

Related Posts:

The post Self-Care or Self-Sabotage? How To Tell The Difference appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

posts like this are why I like this page

Step 1: Ignore every step-by-step system for success, including probably this one

Look, I know you want to be that big badass with the sweet ass house and all the fancy letters after your name, but let’s be honest for a second. Insane, spectacular success is achieved by doing something exceptional and extraordinary.

To achieve something exceptional and extraordinary, you must—by definition—do something that few or no other people are doing or willing to do. Therefore, wild, insane, spectacular success can only be achieved by actively going against what others have done and/or believing you can do things that others believe they cannot do. Therefore, anything that can accurately be codified into a step-by-step system on the internet is full of shit and not going to help you achieve this kind of success.

Do you think Steve Jobs ever sat around Googling, “How to revolutionize the way everyone communicates?” Fuck no. Do you think Thomas Edison went to the library looking for books titled, “How to build things that can change the world?”

No, they got to work on things that felt important and things that few to no other people could conceive, much less think about.

Steve Jobs pop art

The problem with a lot of these paint-by-numbers systems that you come across in these articles is that they suffer from what’s known as the “narrative fallacy.” The narrative fallacy is the human tendency to weave explanations of cause/effect into sequences of events that don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other.

For example, if you read a biography about Warren Buffett or Albert Einstein or Eleanor Roosevelt, you will inevitably spend much of the early chapters learning about their childhood. These early chapters are filled with cute and profound-sounding vignettes about their parents, their teachers, and a series of events that “caused” them to later become the kind of genius that they were.

There are two problems with this though:

  1. Whatever happened to little Albert Einstein, there were millions of other little boys who experienced the same shit, yet they did not become Albert Einstein.
  2. Just because two events in a notable person’s life appear connected does not mean that they are connected. The biographer connects them because they form a great narrative. Not necessarily because they reflect reality.

Think about it, for every event that makes it into someone’s biography, there are thousands of small, private events that are, in sum, likely just as influential, if not more than what you actually see. Therefore, these narrative devices, while they make for great books and cute articles like this one, they don’t actually help us suss out what drives incredible levels of success.

If there really is a first step to achieving wild success (and there’s probably not), then it would be this: ask yourself, “What is something critically important in the world that few people are aware of or not working on?” Then… get to work on that! 

But understand that even that is no guarantee. Because, let’s be honest, our definitions of “success” are a bunch of fairy godmother, made-up bullshit. Oh yeah… I went there. Fuck your dreams. Fuck your dreams with a cherry on top. Let’s get real…

Step 2: Understand that “success” is just something you and everyone else made up—it’s not even real

Look, most of your dreams aren’t really dreams, they’re merely imaginative over-compensations for the feelings of inadequacy you are trying to avoid in yourself.

People with an overwhelming desire for wealth or fame aren’t motivated by the pure joy of having wealth or fame. No, they have a hole in their psyche that they are trying to fill with enough stuff to not make them feel so inadequate anymore. Maybe they got pushed into too many lockers as a kid. Maybe Mom was an alcoholic and Dad was never around. Maybe they always felt like the stupid kid in class and had that one teacher who was Satan incarnate.

Whatever it is, none of us get through childhood without emotional scars (or, if you’re one of the lucky few who did, then please eat a dick casserole). Those scars cause us to see the world in a skewed, unbalanced fashion—as though everything is magically tilted against us in some imaginary way. They cause us to overestimate the value of things like sex or money or adulation or prestige to the point that our behavior becomes compulsive. These biases then cause us to suffer because they make us do stupid shit.

Ultimately, our definitions of “success” become skewed based on this funhouse mirror view of the world. Daddy was always broke and spending his money at the casino, so you grew up with an unconscious over-emphasis on money and material wealth. You feel like unless you’re bringing down at least eight-figures, then you’re a broke, miserable failure and no one will love you. As a result, you screw your own grandmother out of Christmas money because interest rates are low and you can get a better ROI if Granny cries herself to sleep at night. Congratulations, you have become a grade-A dick casserole.

(We’re just going to run with the casserole thing until it starts to get weird.)

Stylish wealthy couple on a luxury yacht
Dude, stop pretending you’re hot shit, you’re on a fucking pirate ship.

And while it may feel like your definition of success—lots and lots of money—is objective and reasonable, it’s really just you playing make-believe in your head. Plenty of people have definitions of success that have nothing to do with money—they lead happy and healthy lives. Many people who are rich feel as though they are miserable failures and that it’s never enough. There is nothing inherently “successful” about money or fame or love or anything else. It’s our minds that make it so.

That’s right, we each make up what “success” means for ourselves, and then we spend our lives measuring ourselves against that definition. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t actually define success for ourselves, we simply adopt the definitions that are handed to us by our family, environment, and culture.

When you’re a kid, you see everyone around you obsessed with honor or prestige or education or self-indulgence and you kind of just go along with it. Meanwhile, so many years go by that you forget that you went along with it. You start to believe that this is how the world operates—this is what success is.

And when you’re confronted with people who have different definitions of success, or people who point out all of the ways that your precious little definition actually doesn’t make much sense… well, it kind of freaks you out. I mean, if this thing by which you’ve measured yourself for so many years doesn’t really exist, what the hell have you been doing all your life?

That thought is often too much to bear…

Step 3: Succumb to the existential despair that comes with the realization that your self-definition is completely arbitrary and self-invented

Most people resist this realization—that their definitions of “success” are made up and largely motivated by their emotional dysfunction—for a couple reasons. One, it potentially invalidates a lot of what they’ve spent most of their adult life pursuing. Two, it’s really fucking upsetting to realize that the thing you cared about so much might not actually matter. And three, because if the things you’ve spent your whole life caring about may not actually matter… holy shit, what if nothing matters?

Yes, coming to the realization that your definitions of success were simply arbitrary and made-up by either you or the people around you can throw one into an existential crisis.

Historically, most middle-class yuppies hit Step 3 around middle age. So many have this experience in their 40s and 50s that it has become known as the “mid-life crisis.”

You spend your whole life defining success as a good job, a nice house, 2.5 kids and a dog. You work for twenty-plus years to get there and then one day you wake up and realize that you have achieved everything you ever wanted… yet you’re still the exact same sloppy, smelly motherfucker that you were twenty years ago. You don’t feel successful. You don’t feel anything different. You still get just as annoyed and anxious as you used to. You still question and doubt yourself constantly. You still feel frustrated and insecure… it’s just that those frustrations and insecurities have changed shape.

“Fuck, all that work… and for what? What do I do now?”

When you ask this question there may not be a right answer, but there certainly is a wrong answer.

The wrong answer is: “way more of what I did before.”

couple under money rain

A lot of people who have defined success as money their entire lives hit middle age, wake up with a shitload of money, have an existential crisis, and come to the conclusion that the answer must simply be more money. This is how you end up with millionaires who live in permanent emotional poverty—a sense that no matter what they do, that it’s never enough. Don’t be this person.

This “never enough” conclusion follows pretty much every worldly definition of success—money, status, prestige, fame, power, accolades. There will always be more to achieve. Therefore, it will never feel as though it’s enough. It’s like living on an extremely exhausting treadmill… except that the treadmill is stuck on an elevator to hell.

Step 4: Eat some popcorn. Drink a beer. You’re going to be okay

When thrown into the maw of an existential crisis, it’s easy to feel as though the world is coming to an end. This beautiful ideal that you spent so many years holding up as the bastion of purity and sanctity has fallen and revealed itself to be yet another illusion of your own fantasies. As a result, you feel directionless. You begin to question everything. You fall into despair. You feel as though there may be no point to anything at all.

But then something happens. Life goes on. That bonus check from work comes through, and while you still recognize that, on some cosmic scale, money is meaningless—it feels kinda good. Birthdays come and go. Vacations are still fun. That new show you watched with your partner was pretty awesome.

Hold on a second… life is actually, like, pretty good.

Slowly but surely, you begin to realize, “Wait, I don’t have to define success to have a good life!” And this epiphany is soon followed by another, more profound epiphany, “I can adopt whatever values I please!

And then your mind gets to work. What is your definition of success? What is the yardstick by which you will measure your life?

For some, it becomes some ideal—being a good parent, having integrity, practicing honesty, treating others with dignity.

For others, it’s a perspective—success is being fully engaged and appreciating each moment as it arises. There is joy and excitement to be found in any experience, and success is choosing to orient oneself towards it.

For others, the definition becomes incredibly mundane—waking up and going to work each day, cooking meals for friends, being a nice person. And amazingly, these mundane definitions of success somehow seem more effective than the ambitious world-changing definitions of your old self. They are easily achievable. They are enjoyable. And when repeated indefinitely week after week, year after year, incredible things start to happen.

Step 5: Focus on what matters now

Great achievements happen not just through grand visions of the future, but rather doing what feels most significant and important in the current moment.

Let’s return to the Steve Jobs example, as he’s a paragon for what most would consider “wild success.” Jobs didn’t sit around thinking, “What will make me as famous and successful as possible?” No, he got to work on devices that would improve his life today. The focus was on solving day-to-day problems for people.

We think of huge leaps in innovation or creativity as these massive moments of inspiration. But, in reality, they are actually a simple questioning of assumptions that are in front of us all.

Scientific breakthroughs often happen in this way. As Thomas Kuhn discusses in his famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the biggest breakthroughs in science rarely come from veterans within the academy. That’s because scientists who have built their career and prestige on the current paradigm of understanding are less likely to challenge it.

The biggest breakthroughs come from outsiders—people who have no career or prestige, people like Einstein—who look at the current assumptions and simply say, “What if this wasn’t true? What could be a better explanation?”

What we generally perceive as “wild success” after the fact, typically begins as something small, something unexpected in the moment. And, as Jobs once said, while we can look back and connect the dots, at the time, the way forward is never clear.

Ultimately, people who adopt terrible definitions of success usually do so because they are trying to give their life a sense of meaning and purpose. But, it turns out, the way to give your life a sense of meaning and purpose is to simply be engaged with the problems of the now, to work tirelessly on what stimulates and excites you today, without lofty visions of what prestige might exist for you in the future.

Because not only is this a more emotionally healthy definition of success, but it’s the definition that actually gets shit done.

who else really loves this ?

By Leo Babauta

For anyone trying to do meaningful work, feeling connected to that meaning can be a big challenge.

It turns out, even if you can stay focused on your meaningful work for most of the day … it’s easy to lose connection to why it’s meaningful. To why you care about doing this in the first place.

We get stuck in the drudgery of doing endless meaningless tasks, stuck in task mode, rather than feeling that the tasks are meaningful ways to spend our day.

So how do we deal with this challenge? Not surprisingly, the answer is practice.

Let’s take a look.

Have a Deeper Why

If you haven’t done this step yet, don’t skip it. We need to find a deeper reason to do our work, other than, “To get paid,” or “Because it’s on my list or in my inbox,” or “Because other people are waiting for me to do it.”

If we don’t have a deeper reason, work becomes meaningless drudgery. We can put up with it for years, but it won’t feel like a meaningful way to spend our lives. It won’t feel inspired.

So why do you care about doing what you do?

What makes this meaningful to you?

There are lots of possible answers … here are a few:

  • Because you’re helping people you care about
  • To make a change in the world that feels powerful
  • To help people who are struggling or in pain
  • To preserve something you care about
  • To protect or serve your loved ones
  • It’s an act of love for yourself or others

In my experience, the most meaningful reasons to do anything are to serve others, out of love. But sometimes, we have to start by loving ourselves — that’s incredibly meaningful as well.

So get clear on your Why. Feel connected to it.

Set Rituals to Connect with Meaning

It turns out, just knowing why something is meaningful isn’t enough — we tend to forget it as soon as we get into Doing mode.

And so having points during your day when you connect to your meaning is a good idea. Create some rituals that will remind you to practice feeling connected.

Some simple examples:

  • A short 2-5 minute meditation in the morning or evening, where you visualize the people you care about, and practice connecting to their hearts
  • A devotional practice on your yoga mat, or in front of an altar, where you think about the struggles of the people you’re helping, and devote your work to them
  • A photo, Buddha statue, vase of flowers, candle — some object that will remind you to pause and practice feeling connected to your Why
  • A short moment of pause, where you set intentions before you start writing or answering messages (for example) — intentions of serving people you care about

What rituals would you like to create to connect to your meaning?

Practice Connecting to Meaning

Rituals are structure in our lives to help us remember to feel connected to meaning … but they won’t really do anything if we just go through the motions.

We have to practice really feeling the meaning.

So how do we do that? For me, it’s about feeling it in my heart. I practice feeling the love and devotion for the people I care about (all of you!), picturing any difficulties, struggle, pain or fear that you might have, and wishing you all happiness. Basically, a version of lovingkindness meditation, aimed specifically at the people I’m trying to serve.

I practice standing as Love, in my being. I practice feeling compassion in my heart. I practice feeling devotion to those I care deeply about, in my core. And then I see what flows from that — writing an article like this, recording a video, sending an email or message.

I practice trying to reconnect to that feeling as I’m writing or doing the task. I’ll forget, and lose connection, over and over again. That’s OK — it’s not about being perfect. It’s about coming back to meaning, over and over.

Because it makes every single thing I do so much more meaningful. Because it infuses my life with meaning. This is an inspired life! I wish you nothing less.