When we begin a new project, the ‘newness’ of it tends to keep us in raptures. We are full of passion and motivation. Unfortunately, as this wears off, so does our desire to continue. We get bored and start looking for the next shiny object.
Im 100% guilty of this myself. When everything is said and done and I look back, I’ve stopped and started so many times, on so many things, that I never really make much progress on anything.
Perhaps you have felt this way too?
Become okay with the boredom of the endeavour
What separates the best performers in a particular field from everyone else?
Without question some have an innate genetic ability, talent, amazing idea etc. However, that only takes you so far. Beyond that, it comes down to repetitions. And in particular, how many you can do over a sustained period of time.
More specifically, the boredom of having to repeat similar tasks day-in and day-out.
This is an interesting mental inversion. Thinking of becoming ‘okay with the boredom of the repetition’ rather than ‘having good work ethic’.
We hear other people being ‘really excited’ or being ‘so amped’ about working on their projects that we get in a lull and become depressed when we are not are in the same head space with our work.
I believe the difference is really that these people also feel this lack of motivation it’s just that they still manage to show up everyday in spite of this.
So what really does separate the winners from the losers?
It’s the ability to do whats required when it’s not easy.
Fulfilment in the journey
Part of the problem is that our expectations are such that we see an end goal. Literally, the END as the GOAL.
- It’s a single experience that happens, success is reached, and then it’s gone. That cannot and is not fulfilling.
- Everything along the way is attached to that single outcome. If that outcome is not reached, then the rest is felt as failure. We are setting up a system that is rigged to lead us to that failure. These expectations tend to look something like this:
“Once I get the pay rise, then I’ll finally feel settled.”
“When I lose 20kg’s, then I’ll be happy.”
We are giving our power to something separate from ourselves. We are not taking ownership of our own happiness. We are giving it to something external.
We have to learn to love the journey.
We have to enjoy the process.
From the examples above:
We need to re-evaluate what “feeling settled” actually means.
We have to embrace a healthy lifestyle and find exercise that we enjoy doing because of the benefits it provides — not base happiness on a number on a scale.
How to become okay with the boredom of the endeavour
- Deadline. Set one. But be realistic. If you believe something will take 18 months, make sure that that’s clear from the outset so when you’re 6 months into it and feeling uninspired, you can remember that you committed to a full 18 months. Ensure smaller milestones are set so that you can track your progress.
- Why. Make sure you know what yours is. Dig down and find the REASON WHY you are doing what you are doing.
If your goal is to lose weight, you need to find the real reason. “Because my doctor said I should” isn’t very motivating. It also puts the power in someone else’s hands. Instead: “I want to be able to play with my son outside” is a much more powerful motivator. And when you feel the boredom kick in, you can look at his photo and be reminded of the true purpose for the goal.
- Tweak. If the journey is becoming mundane – what are your options to make subtle shifts? Environment? Actions? There are sure to be some things you can change — can you go somewhere else to do the work or change the space?
Be sure to identify what exactly is boring you about the process so that you can come up with a solution to address that problem.
- Happiness. This is not an external force. This has taken me a long time to realize and something I continue to work on. It is 100% internal.
If you are struggling with this it may be worth taking the time to try and work on it. There are no real quick fixes here unfortunately. Changing your mindset to be fulfilled by the process might mean you have to make peace with some other things in your life. Do a reassessment of what truly brings you joy in life. Are those needs being met? Is your goal actually the right one for you?
- Ritual. A daily ritual is important. Even a 5-minute one that you incorporate into your day is beneficial.
Ultimately there will come a point where things get hard. I mean really hard. You need to be okay with that and STILL put in the work.
You need to get used to being bored. But more than that, fall in love with it. Realizing that it is serving you. Once you do this, you will realize that the repetitions and practice are what is separating you.
Once you do this, the results will take care of themselves