Where's the fire?
At the start of 2020 I had great aspirations to try an to build an app and grow to an ambitious monthly revenue.
It certainly gave me a kick up the butt and finally got me to realise the design & development of an idea from 2007.
Lots of water has passed under the bridge in the past couple of years, I’ve switched jobs, moved to the other end of the country, fought with COVID, and as for us all, life happened.
Over the past year I’ve become aware that the prevailing wind of online "inspiration" leads people to “hustle culture” - a state of energy where you’re striving from sun-up to (long after) sundown to achieve your goals.
Like with many things in life that way of thinking just isn’t healthy for everyone.
I’ve played the startup game before; turning an idea into a real application, taking on hundreds of thousands of users, as well as hundreds of thousands of pounds from investors.
It was exciting, challenging, and due to many reasons not good for my mental health.
I don’t want to repeat past mistakes with the app challenge so I’ve come to accept it’s ok to go at my own pace.
When I was a kid and got into trouble, as I often did, my parents would challenge my defence of “but my friends did it!” with a quick response of “and if they jumped off a cliff would you do that too?”
It never made sense back then, but many years later it definitely comes to mind when considering what I energies I bring into my life.
For some people working all the hours that they can to strive for untold riches is their driving passion.
It’s just not what floats my boat - I’m sure I thought it did for a while and all the Instagram & Twitter posts of those hustlers I followed back in the day encouraged it.
When training the body you need to put it through a certain amount of stress for it to improve. Muscles need to be broken down to be built back up stronger. It’s been proven that regular healthy stress on the body helps you live longer, and can improve bone density.
However too much stress & strain can lead to injury.
In my experience, the brain is similar - although I don’t subscribe to the idea that the brain is a muscle - it still needs stimulation to grow.
Too much stress & strain on the brain can lead to injury too. It’s just less visible with the brain and plays out in ways that seem strange to people around you displaying anger, depression, self-harm, or much worse.
At least if you’ve got your leg in a cast people can see you’re injured.
Rest & enjoyment
It’s taken me years, and one very challenging burnout (more on that another time), to appreciate that making time to rest is just as important as being on the ball or challenging myself.
I was chatting to my Dad earlier today about how my sense of enjoyment of rest has changed over the years and how resting doesn’t mean parking my butt on the sofa and playing the Playstation as it did in my twenties.
Picking up the guitar and playing music, exercising, learning new languages or sports, meeting new people, or learning lines for a play or scene are all things that put healthy strain on my mind and body. At the same time I find them as restful as laying on the sofa with a good book.
I’ve come to realise any stress I feel to succeed is stress I’ve generated myself. Other people may put pressure on my time, or my ability to progress, but stress is a choice - you can still grow from pressure with out feeling the negative effects of stress.
A great therapist once gave me a sheet of paper on it with the Gestalt Prayer on it.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine. From Gestalt Therapy Verbatim by Fritz Perls, 1969
At the time I was struggling to deal with and understand a failure that felt all-encompassing. But with hindsight I realised that I was trying to live up to other people’s expectations at the time.
For Sharetheirday I'm determined to get it live and find a level of success with it, but I want to enjoy the journey this time and set the pace that fits around my life.
The new challenge is to keep momentum, make progress every week, and have fun. It feels like that’s a much more interesting type of challenge to me these days.
The app challenge is dead! Long live the app challenge!