A few days ago, I got six pieces of news ranging from good to exceptional, and one piece of bad news. Of the good news were well wishes, opportunities, advice, and connections from people I care about. The bad news was almost trivial and there isn't much I could do about it.
Today I was out for a run in the park when it started raining hard. It's rainy season in Vietnam, and it came down pouring. After a minute, I gave up trying to stay dry, and enjoyed my run in the rain. I was enjoying it, mostly having my mind turned off and enjoying the audio I was listening to - a really wonderful story called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by a guy named Og Mandino. Really a beautiful piece to listen to, read by its author 30 years after he wrote the book.
And yet, that damn bad news comes back to mind! What is this? I have so many opportunities I could think of, jump upon. I could create, produce, serve, connect, relax, enjoy, train - the whole world is open before me, and I think of trivial shit that I can't change.
I'm going to willpower this off of my mind. Being human is a strange thing.
Be skeptical, please. This realization was somewhat shocking to me if it's true, or even partly true.
So. A large amount of my reading of the last month has focused on organization, execution, time management, planning, maxing out effectiveness, and so on. But I started to find something -- the threshold of gains from "theoretical planning" and "theoretical organizing" starts to fall off entirely after a few weeks of it. You 80/20 things and make plans to the best of your knowledge, giving it an hour or so per day, and a long session here and there.
And then after that, there's not much gain to be had from it, and execution takes over...
...or does it?
Well, it does. But just like "theoretical planning," you could also say there's "theoretical execution."
When I was younger I had a lot of success. Success that came too easy. You might wonder why that's a bad thing. But sometimes success shields you from what you are really good at, or what you really want out of life. At 32, almost 33 I'm a much different person than I was 10 years ago. Yet, 10 years ago success came about as easy as picking apples out of apple trees. I couldn't do any wrong. I build websites and they took off. They made a lot of money. But without a strong foundation in my life that money, and that success did not last.
Then came failure.
You might think I'm crazy but failure was the best thing that ever happened to me. Over the course of a few failures it shaped my soul, it shaped my mind, it created a narrower field of focus. It created a deeper desire in my heart. It helped me find myself. I was not the product of success, nor failure. All of that comes from within me.
I realized that I had sacrificed part of who I was to achieve success, and failure was my way of bringing balance back to my life. It made me realize there's a lot of me to work on still. It made me realize that I could be the architect and designer of my life. That I didn't have to take every opportunity and run with it.
It made me realize that with hard work, with desire, and with passion that I could create opportunities out of nothing. That my greatest talent, my greatest skill was my ability to create. And the world turned upside down again.