A downside to being analytical, ambitious, driven, and learning about a lot --
You see problems where others do not.
Because, what is "potential" except a set of things that aren't right already?
Because of that, it's easy to get restless, not happy with the status quo, to feel like you're falling short of all you know it's possible.
The funny part, seeing that potential, seeing how things could be... it means you actually get to live a much more rich and full life. You just maybe don't appreciate it as much, because you see all the other things you could be doing better.
I find it crucially important to balance this. Without keeping this in check by appreciating the way things are in each moment, I fear that I might lose the ability to find contentment. It's not that I choose to dwell there very often, but I believe that it's very important to be able to get to a state of contentment when necessary. Always know your exits, right?
Well said!!! I just had a huge fight with a senior developer and it really boils down to the fact that I can see how everything can be so much better.
It is true. I just finished reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (Tynan recommended it! and I saw it on Derek Siver's book list) and it relates directly to this issue. The stoics used a technique of negative visualization, contemplating the loss of all things that they value (relationships, possesions, etc). They used this technique to attempt to create desires within for things they already had and appreciate the status quo, rather than endlessly pursuing more. Interesting concept.
I never really understood good marketing until I started to respect my own time more. These days, I'm trying to really live 24 hours per day the way I want to be living them. Do you know how much time there is in 24 hours? It's a lot.
Before I respected my own time, I didn't really respect other people's time as much. Don't get me wrong - I was always cool enough, I didn't waste people's time, but I never realized what a magnificent thing people choosing to spend their time with you is. There's so many good places to spend your time - getting entertainment, learning, connecting with good people, building things, inventing, relaxing, thinking, working. When someone spends their time with me, whatever the medium, that's a tremendous honor.
When someone comes to join me at my blog, reads something I write, listens to me speak, meets me for a coffee or we go on an adventure together - there's a hell of a lot of other places they could be, and a hell of a lot of other great things they could be doing with their time.
I think good marketing respects that. Good marketing goes, "This person could be anywhere else - let's make it worth their while." Kathy Sierra, Seth Godin, and Chet Holmes all talk about this - educating people, teaching them, making them want to spend time with you. Being entertaining, or informative, building a place people feel welcome, or strong, or get smarter at.
I think that's most of good marketing - having people want to spend time in and around you, your company, wanting to be associated with what you've got. The rest of good marketing is offering people something worth many, many times more than what you're charging. My current target is 10x - if I'm working to help someone build their revenues, I'm aiming to get them 10 times my fees in net profit, for a 1000% ROI. To be honest with you, I'll settle for 4x and 400%, but I'm aiming for 10.
If you've been paying attention to your life activities, you've already noticed that there is a general maxim for activities: if it is easy and entertaining now, it will probably be detrimental in the long run, and if it is hard and boring now, it will help you out down the line. Obviously there are exceptions - playing with a pet is easy and fun, yet has documented positive psychological effects, and doing something like fitting a lightbulb in your mouth doesn't sound fun nor is it easy, but that's not going to do much for the future you.
But those are dramatic, and rare exceptions. Scrolling your Facebook newsfeed, watching your favorite television show, tearing apart a fast food burger. These are all easy to do, and are very fun while you are doing them, but once they are done, you don't have much to show for the effort other than those fleeting moments of entertainment.
Meanwhile, think about writing something, about working out, about doing language grammar drills, or choosing to eat healthy. These are things that are classically difficult and often boring - everyone always tells themselves excuses in order to get out of them. However, after those actions are completed, you always have something to show for your time, be it a blog post, toned abs, or a better understanding of how to conjugate things in Portuguese.
There's the Past, Present, and Future, and the things that feel good in the Present look silly and trivial in the Past. The more work you put into the Present, the brighter the Future becomes. Our minds are just hardwired to seek pleasure not pain, even if the pain is just the monotony of forcing yourself to do something without an immediate payoff.
So how can you buck off your brain's whims and choose to do what's important? It's simple - choose to do the activities which will still matter in one year. One year is a long time - long enough to make you forget all the little silly things you did last year, but not so long as to be unimaginable. You could possibly scale this time period down to as low as 3 months, but the point is to have an interval that is long enough to make you forget the things you did in the day. Let's stick with a year for this example.