It was still dark when I woke up this morning. The SleepCycle app that I use as my smart alarm clock showed 6.05am, even though I set it for 6.30am. Apparently, the app decided to wake me up a bit earlier while I was in the light REM sleep phase.
As I laid there with my eyes closed a thought crossed my mind: “Why don’t you just sleep a bit longer, there is no harm in it, right? Besides, it’s so warm and cozy under the blanket. Look, it’s cold and dark out there, why in the world do you need to get out now…?”
I was about to give in. The thought was very rational and made total sense. A few more minutes passed by and somehow I found the strength to pull off the blanket and stand up.
Hell, it is cold. Shit. Ok, let’s get going.
I grabbed my phone so it doesn’t accidentally wake up my family and headed to the bathroom. Right after I stepped out and closed bedroom doors there was a sudden urge to unlock my phone and check what’s up there. Any new emails? How about videos or new likes on Instagram?
It took another mental flex to get rid of the thought. There was nothing good about letting in some external noise this early in the day. My phone will have to wait for another couple hours before I’m actually ready to dive in.
After washing my face and drinking my morning supplements I paused yet again. It seemed like it was about to rain outside. Not good.
“Well, I’ll have to cancel my morning exercises. What are you going to do, right? There is always tomorrow. Besides, I could use some rest from the yesterday soccer practice.”
Another mental flex… and I’m stepping outside. The morning air is chilly, another reminder of the upcoming winter. The grass under my feet is still wet from the morning mist and for a moment I just stay there in my backyard looking at the massive oak tree that my neighbor planted over 50 years ago.
Then I hear a sound coming from the house.
“Oh snap, seems like my son is up early, I guess I have to head back in. No luck today.”
And I see myself doing the first squat. The second one was way easier and the third one was a breeze. About 20 minutes later my morning routine is over and here is the best part, after a year of daily repetition most of it happens pretty much automatically (once/if you get going).
I feel pretty good, the blood is pumping through my veins and everything just seems a bit more positive.
Now to the best part – shower time! The water is hot and pleasantly relaxing, the shampoo smells so good.
“Cold water? Now?! Are you f..king crazy? Why? Why Why Why…?! Some asshole told you to do it and you stupidly believe it? Is there any scientific proof that it does any good for you. Bullshit! What if it’s bad in the long run, then what?”
Flex… and I see my hand twisting the shower handle and then …
“Crazy mf…ing shit! Stop the madness!”
I feel cold water hitting my face and back sending shock waves to every cell of my body. I want to turn it off and get out, but instead, just stay there and let the cold do its work.
In about 30 seconds I start to regain control and the water doesn’t seem as cold anymore. My whole body and the head, in particular, feel very alert. It’s almost like an invisible film was removed from your eyes and you suddenly see and feel everything very clearly.
Once I step out from the shower there is this awesome sensation of burning skin. It’s not hot and not cold – just perfect!
Finally, I feel like I’m really ready for the upcoming day. Only there is one more thing that I’ve yet to accomplish.
“Let’s just go upstairs and get some breakfast, nobody reads your stupid writing anyways. Who the hell you think you are, Stephen King or something? Look, it’s been over a year and you have no measurable results, why waste time on it? You don’t even promote your stuff, so what’s the point? How about this, we do a post every other month instead of once a week and I can guarantee nothing bad happens.”
Another mental flex… that was a tough one to swallow.
I find myself in front of the laptop staring at the white screen with the blinking cursor. Minutes go by as I think through the possible topics in my head and every one of them seems boring or useless or both.
Then I start typing and it gets a bit easier. It’s like getting in the zone where stuff just flows from your head and turns into words on the screen.
It’s not always fun and roses though. There are days where I just put in a sentence or two (if even that).
Today was one of those days where I couldn’t squeeze out anything good. Oh well, at least I gave it an honest try…
Ok, time to eat my breakfast (finally!) and go to work. Sure, there are two Skype calls that I do every day on the way to the office, but that’s the easy and fun stuff (same as the work itself).
Actually, there is one more mini-battle to address and I almost forgot about it… See, a few months ago I decided to start recording short daily live videos.
Why? Two reasons:
- I felt like I had something to say
- To exercise the brain and improve my speaking skills – a personal area where I needed some work.
- It seemed like a fun thing to do.
Three months into the process and I realized that it’s actually not as easy as I thought it would be. Every day once I get out from Penn Station, I desperately shuffle through useful thoughts that I’d like to share and at times it gets pretty intense.
This morning was no different.
“Shit. I have nothing useful to share. Should I just skip today’s recording? Especially so that almost no one knows I’m still doing those videos…”
Not going to lie, I was about to give up, but at that very moment, an idea popped into my head and seconds later I got on Facebook, pressed the record button on my phone and got it done.
Those are just a few examples of my personal battles that I fight pretty much every day. The list goes on and on:
- oh, this cookie looks soo good, can I eat it?
- who cares if that chocolate bar has only 30% cacao and a ton of sugar, it tastes good!
- do I really have to go to Whole foods to get an organic spinach or a regular one at the cafeteria will do?
- should I wear computer glasses at work or people would think I’m crazy?
- why carry your own olive oil if you can simply use the one at the salad place?
- say no to a free pizza and soda at the office, are you out of your mind?
- I’ll just quickly check Email, Facebook and Instagram and then dive in into work. There is no harm in it, right?
- will skip reading today, too tired and have a lot of “work” on my plate.
- why clean up after your kid every day if he’ll just mess everything up tomorrow anyways?
- why wash all of the dirty dishes in the sink every evening if I can just wash the one I need?
- wearing blue light blocking glasses at night looks weird, should I still do it?
Here is the interesting observation, if you choose to surrender and simply follow the most convenient/known route, the chances are you will end up someplace you don’t want to be.
Think of it like a piece of crap effortlessly floating downstream. It has no control over the situation and just waits for the fate to deal its cards.
Do you want to be in that position? Yet that’s the reality for the vast majority of people out there.
Sure, you can’t win every single battle and I personally lost numerous times (this very post was supposed to be published a few days ago), but it’s the whole war that matters the most.
If you feel too comfortable in your life, it’s a sure sign of stagnation and decoy. You will cling to your status quo for as long as possible until another garbage collection cycle comes and swipes you away. As it always does, sooner than later.
Remember, challenges create growth and growth brings happiness. All of those seemingly little victories matter. Every single one of them. They prepare you for what’s to come. They will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Now, wake up, pick up your battle sword and fight!