I’m prone to spontaneous bursts of inspiration, usually in the negative form. Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, and comparing them to my now days, I notice that I am not so different from my younger self. My main method of change is and has always been through revolution, rather than evolution. Revolutions are cold and bloody, and happen overnight. Evolution is long and steady, and happens over a lifetime. I’ve went through many phases in my young life, and would shift capriciously from hobby to hobby; not over time, but overnight. I would awake and something would be different. I wouldn’t feel like being a movie director anymore. I wouldn’t feel like being a world-famous photographer anymore. I wouldn’t feel like:
– being a professional bowler anymore
– being a professional basketball player anymore
– being a masterful magician anymore
– being an accountant anymore
– being a lawyer anymore
– being a doctor anymore
My inability to commit to anything long term was not an aspect of pessimism for me growing up; it was of optimism and a sense of opportunity. I would never quit one thing and pity myself on the couch: I would quit one thing for the other — the other being at that time a better opportunity. This allowed me to become a masterful dilettante growing up, and, unfortunately, works great when you’re a teenager.
As good as my lack of commitment to any one particular thing was for me growing up, this same form of approaching change seems to be incompatible with adulthood. As a child, you can quit bowling for ping-pong and not a single person would be harmed in the making. Jobs to me are no different than a hobby — I feel the urge to move on to something new very soon after beginning it. The difference of course is that you can’t just quit a job like you can a hobby: you’re married now. You have a mortgage to pay. Utilities to keep on. Parents to support. Team-members to not harm. Switching becomes quitting, giving up. Grit becomes the necessary skill to have, not passion.
And I haven’t yet made that transition. I still look to spontaneous bursts of creativity and passion as my guiding light to decision making. This has made me all too susceptible to feeling the need to quit jobs way too soon into one. And although I would not want to trade this trait for anything in the world, I am beginning to see the powers of its destruction; its form of revolutionary over evolutionary change.
Throughout my childhood, I’ve developed my sense of passion and self-reliance so strongly that my sense of grit, resilience, and long-form hard work is essentially non-existent. And although during childhood revolutions are a great way to quickly explore different realms and dabble in hundreds of fields, during adulthood, it becomes exhausting.
I want to become less of an “idea-man” and more of a hard-working man. Less of a creative bursts man and more of a man that works through the temporarily uninspiring. Less of looking through instantaneous change as a way out and more through developing myself through one thing over a relatively long period of time.
Grit, resilience, perseverance, and hard-work are all words not presently in my dictionary. And I never quite had the goal nor interest of acquiring them either. I’ve cherished my instinct far too much, and while I never wish to let that go, I do see the need to develop other forms of life management.
The goal now is to set goals. Create strategies. Cherish long-form execution over spontaneous bursts of creativity and ideas. To look out rather than in. In its current form, this is revolutionary: my desire to do this came overnight. So it’s fun. It’s full of change. I’m going to do great at it.
For the first 45 days.
After that, it’s going to be miserable. Old me? Come up with something new to do.
New me: keep going. For me, that’s undefined. I’ve never kept going after hardship and boredom. I’ve always always always looked for and found something new. By sliding unlubricated through this narrow and impossible crevice, I’m hopeful that I’ll find develop an appreciation for the painstakingly slow yet impossibly effective process we call evolution.
Evolution makes dust into man, while revolution turns man to dust.