David asked me how I manage to keep making a significant post or more virtually every day of the year. The starting place is mission — having a sense of something you really must do lest you lose your very sense of who you are.
Whether it be upping your Game, keeping a blog alive, or simply being a real human, the essential element in living is commitment to something bigger than yourself. For this reason, even if there were no other readers, I’d still be blogging. I do it because I must. Blogging is part of paying attention to all the other “must do” things in my life.
The first step in working out what you must do in your own life is taking at least a day or so on a regular basis and ripping aside all the “must do” things other people throw at you. Nobody has any business answering this question for you. Too many people in this world are buying into someone else’s mission. It’s not as if your sense of what’s important can’t change with events which tend to uncover things previously hidden from your awareness. We count on that very thing, but if you buy anyone else’s packaged set, you have compromised to the point you have no point of your own.
The best way I know to do this is to break off your routine; go somewhere off your normal life’s route and do something else entirely, or nothing much. Be alone with your thoughts for awhile. Don’t go off to some packaged retreat; those are fine in themselves, but they steer you in a specific direction. You need to find your own by getting lost and discovering your own sense of direction.
The second step is simply applying what you discover about yourself. No one can do this for you, either. If you can’t find the power to break out, you mission won’t matter. But if you find something you can do, even just that one small step in the direction you found is all it takes. Then another, and another. You probably won’t even know where to point your toes, as it were, until after you completed the previous step and passed through the contextual changes. Take your time and let it sink in. Do what’s in front of you first.
Third, learn the only constant is change. Embrace it, because it’s what separates us from everything else in the universe — conscious and constant change. Surely you’ve encountered that old Prayer of Serenity: Lord, grant me the patience to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference (paraphrased; write your own). Learn serenity and it’s outward manifestation of aplomb.
The final thing is learning to chase down what makes you hesitate. Were I to use the term “what you fear” it would be too narrow. Chase down what makes you uncomfortable, bored, what brings dread and fear, and anything else that doesn’t make you smile. Frankly, this is critical to mission itself. Learn how every negative emotion in any degree signifies an enemy to be conquered. Build up the callouses you need on your soul, because that stuff isn’t going to go away. Each thing rubbing you raw holds a clue to what you can and should change.
Naturally, you could pay lip service to any of these things. And sure, you could steal this little list of four steps and repackage it for sale, if you were into marketing. Go ahead; I really don’t care. I’m not the first guy to dream up something like this. Given a different audience, one which interacted with me more, I’d probably write it quite differently. Give me a week or two and that would be enough to see me change some parts of it, or offer a different structure entirely. The whole point, which I hope is obvious, is it has to come from inside or it won’t mean a thing.
I write because I can’t shut up; it’s central to my mission. Don’t compare yourself to that, because it could be viewed as a miserable burden in some contexts. Explore your own soul and decide how much writing is enough for you, along with just about anything else we humans do.