I’ve always been an extreme person. My internal motto has always been to either do something all the way, or not do it at all.
When I was getting to know my wife (back when she was just my girlfriend), I think this scared her a bit. Always putting everything you have into everything you do is really draining (on yourself, and the people around you).
If you’re on a strict diet, your friends may not like it when you can’t go out to certain restaurants with them. If you’re on a strict time schedule, your friends may not like it when you can’t hang out on the weekends. If you’re building a company, your friends may not like the fact that you’re always talking about your work. If you’re lifting heavy weights six times a week, your friends may not like the fact that you’re always completely exhausted.
No matter what the situation, giving 100% of your effort to any one task is hard. It requires dedication, commitment, and pain.
When my wife first told me how extreme I was from her point of view, I had to take a step back and think it over–was I really that extreme? Do I need to slow down? Should I pace myself more? So I did what anyone would do: I tried it. I slowed down, paced myself, and tried to relax more.
After going through a few phases of being not-so-extreme, I realized that it just wasn’t for me. If I’m not giving what I’m doing 100% of my effort, I tend to feel bad about myself–I tend to have regrets.
There’s nothing worse than looking back at:
- What you’ve done.
- What you’ve accomplished.
- What you want to accomplish.
And thinking about all the ways you’ve could’ve done better: I should have done this, or I could have done that, or I can’t believe I didn’t do ….
To me, that is by far the worst feeling–knowing that you didn’t give it your all, and feeling the regret sink in, day after day.
Even though busting your ass every day and working as hard as you possibly can is painful, it is a lot less painful than not living up to your potential, and taking the easy way out.
No matter how much you try to justify your actions to yourself: if you aren’t always fighting yourself to be as good as you can be, struggling to get better, and ripping through obstacles on the way to the finish line–you will certainly have regrets.
Don’t settle for that.