Revisiting this year’s resolution – Javascript and more

I know it is June and I am a bit (too) late to discuss my new year’s resolution. But the internet is free and I do have the right to write anything I want. So, to hell with formalities, here I go.

One of my biggest resolutions for this year was to work on more side projects and develop skills that I have always wanted to have and really passionate about. The skill that had easily topped my list at that time was ‘JavaScript’. Yes, you read it right. I desperately want to learn this language well and eventually want to start teaching it, speaking at conferences about it as well as contributing to open source. 

So, what have I achieved so far?

As I said, half of the year is already gone but I would like all of you to take a look on what I have done so far.

  • Frontend Masters is a site dedicated to teach advanced web development skills. The course content is top-notch and state-of-the-art. However, the best perks for me are to get to know the awesome instructors and opportunity to join LIVE workshop with them.However, the courses I have completed so far are:
    • Introduction to Web Development by Nina Zakharenko
    • Introduction to JavaScript Programming by Kyle Simpson
    • JavaScript: From Fundamentals to Functional JS by Bianca Gandolfo
    • CSS3 In-Depth by Estelle Weyl
    • Mastering Chrome Developer Tools by John Kuperman
    • The Good Parts of JavaScript and the Web by Douglas Crockford
    • Advanced JS Fundamentals to jQuery & Pure DOM Scripting by Justin Meyer
    • Advanced JavaScript by Kyle Simpson
    • Asynchronous Programming in JavaScript (with Rx.js Observables) by Jafar Hussain
    • Introduction to HTML5 and CSS3 by Christopher Schmitt
    • Creating an Open Source JavaScript Library by Kent C Dodds
  • Freecodecamp (created by @ossia) is a free, open source, full stack JavaScript learning platform. I find this website extremely useful to test my knowledge by working on small-scale projects that are well-described and well-organized. That way, it’s easier for a beginner to concentrate on the problem in hand rather than spending considerable amount of time in setting up the local environment. I have earned Front End Development Certification by completing 10 different projects and many more algorithm challenges. All my code and problem solutions are available here.
  • Udemy is another repository for online courses. However, I have completed one course from here so far but would highly recommend it to everyone who would like to give it a shot. The Web Developer Bootcamp by Colt Steele.
  • I got involved with Women Who Code-Silicon Valley and gained experience in hosting/organizing  tech-meetup series in Silicon Valley. Being one of the leaders of this chapter, now I have the opportunity to teach JavaScript in local meetups as well as learn from many more developers along the way.
  • I attended two big conferences in the past few months viz. Google I/O 2017 and IEEE Women In Engineering . They were both great and highly recommended for anyone who would like to network with like-minded people.
  • My work on ‘Reducing Gender Gap in Technology’ got noticed and I got the opportunity to be interviewed by Stanford’s 90.1 KZSU Radio Channel. You can listen to my full interview here.

Now that you know what all I have done so far, its time to tell you about my upcoming 6 months plan. Why? Well, first, Accountability. As they say, ‘having an accountability buddy always helps to achieve your goal faster’ and now I have not one but all of you to hold me accountable. 🙂 Second, simply for the sake of journaling. I should be able to quantify my progress at the end of the year and a concrete documentation will help me to measure my success/failure when the right time comes.

What am I going to achieve next?

  • Frontend Masters Courses:
    • Full Stack for front-end engineering by Jem Young
    • Interactive Data Visualization with D3.js by Shirley Wu
    • Complete intro to React v3 by Brian Holt
    • Webpack 2 – Deep Dive by Kent C Dodds
    • Sass Fundamentals by Mike North
    • Data Structures and Algorithms in JavaScript by Bianca Gandolfo
    • Advanced Asynchronous JavaScript by Jafar Hussain
    • Testing Javascript Applications by Kent C Dodds
  • I would like to earn two more FreeCodeCamp Certifications viz. BackEnd Development Certification and Data Visualization Certification.
  • I have two Udemy Courses in mind that I want to complete.
  • Speaking more at local meetups. I really want to get more comfortable with this process.
  • Webpack: Definitely the highlight of my second part of the year. This is my first ever big scale open source project and I am really excited to learn about it.

Thats all for today. I intend to write regular bi-weekly posts in order to track my progress and keep all of you posted. Do you have any advice? suggestions for me? Please feel free to drop me a line. 🙂

However, I do not want to end this post without thanking all my online mentors who are continuously helping me to grow. Thank you Sean, Kent, Ben, Quincy, Marc and all the other awesome members of this community for putting so much hard work into this process. You guys rock!!

 

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The Art Of ‘Supercompensation’ – Getting Better at What You Do

I came across an interesting article about ‘Supercompensation’ the other day that really struck me.

In sports science theory, supercompensation is the post training period during which the trained function/parameter has a higher performance capacity than it did prior to the training period.

Starting small allows you to get out of your head and start building the momentum necessary to make the habit stick. But once your new behavior is a reliable part of your daily routine, it’s equally important to increase your efforts to get better at what you do. Here is where the idea of ‘supercompensation’ comes.

The idea is that since the human body is an adjustable organism, it will not only recover from the exercise. It will also adapt to the new strain placed on it and get a little bit stronger than it was before. Supercompensation will only occur if you increase your efforts to a level that is higher than your body is already used to. For example, if you do the same exercises over and over again, there’s no new level of strain for your body to adapt to and because of that, no supercompensation will occur. So, if you want your fitness level to improve, you can’t settle for running the same trail at the same intensity week in and week out.

This is not only for Fitness…

The concept of supercompensation isn’t just helpful for fitness. In fact, it’s a very useful concept for any positive change you’re trying to create:

  • Want to be more mindful? Add one minute to your meditation habit every month.
  • Want to sleep better? Make one small improvement to your bedroom every week.
  • Want to clean up your diet? Remove one type of unhealthy food from your diet every week.
  • Want to become a prolific writer? Add 100 words to your daily writing goal every month.

You get the idea.

Always look for ways to raise the bar just a little bit and push yourself to get better at what you do. If you can do that, your consistent, tiny improvements will lead to massive results over time.

Lessons to Learn from Olympic Athletes

Every four years, we get to see the best of the best of the best compete. The Olympics is so interesting, because the athletes have few chances to win medals in their lifetime. In almost every other sport, you get a new season each year, but in the Olympics, it’s do or die. Lose and wait close to a half-decade for your next opportunity.

Every year I cry with those athletes who break down on the podium while holding their gold medals.

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Image from Google. From Left: Emese Szasz, Ryan Held and Sarah Sjostrom

And I also cry with them who were not able to make it this year.

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Image from Google. Jaqueline Endres

And then I wonder, what sort of training could have possibly made them so emotionally strong, what motivates them to train like crazy for years and shed their last drop of blood in a competition like this. I was determined to find out all about their ‘mind secrets’ and wanted to know if there is any tricks that we could learn and implement in our daily lives. Fortunately, I found ten.

Today I will share those lessons that we can learn from the world’s greatest athletes in the world’s greatest athletic showcase.

Love the work for the sake of the work

For every Michael Phelps, there are hundreds of Olympic athletes who don’t make sizable incomes. Olympic athletes train and compete for love of their sport. It’s why they’re so endearing.

We all want to make a full time living from what we love. But that might not always turn out to be the case. There’s none of the pretentiousness you see with professional athletes. The Olympics represent sport in its purest form. If  you want to be a writer, write for joy. Write to make a difference and get ideas you believe in to spread. Don’t write just so you can create a course or get a book deal. People can tell if you’re being sincere or not.

Work, Work, Work

Imagining practicing your craft for 4 long years every day and night. That’s what it’s like to train for the Olympics.

Sure, there’s world championships in between, but reaching the podium is the holy grail Olympic athletes are really shooting for. The medalists get there by incessant practice — shaving milliseconds off their start, jumping a half an inch higher, repeating routines until they’re woven into their muscle memory. Many of these athletes dedicate their entire existence to practice and do little else.

Each time I feel like complaining about my lack of ‘speedy success’ in my craft, I remind myself how much practice and time it takes. I guarantee you there is always room to practice more than you are right now. Make your effort match your aspirations.

Get Obsessed with your goals

We’ve all heard the stories how Olympic athletes literally eat, breathe and sleep their sport. Life is focused on one thing: becoming the world’s best at that sport. Obsession is part of achieving goals. As average performers begin to forget what their goals are because of a lack of exposure to them, the pros are imbedding their goals deep into their subconscious minds daily. Their minds are like guided missiles, always adjusting and correcting to maintain accuracy toward the target.

Have a sense of Emergency

Most of us operate like there is an endless amount of time in a day, week, month, year and life. Olympic athletes are extremely sensitive to time. They have a sense of urgency because they are operating at a level of awareness that constantly reminds them the present moment is all they really have. They’re on a mission to fulfill the dream of winning the medal, and they know the clock is ticking.

An Olympian gets one shot every four years, and can realistically compete for two or three Winter Games. Life is short, and if you’re going to make something happen, now is the time.

Take Care of Your Body

Olympic athletes keep strict diets to keep their body in peak condition for competition. You can’t eat fast food 3 times a week and win a gold medal. Sure, most of us are not athletes, but productivity and health are greatly tied to each other.

In our daily lives we’re consumed with both personal and professional stressors. Time off and life balance are key factors in performance cycles, as are massive influxes of effort. Getting more sleep, eating healthier, working out regularly, taking care of the mind are extremely crucial to produce quality work.

Believe in Yourself

Ask any Olympic athlete from any country competing in the games how they expect to place in their competition, and every one of them will tell you they expect to win the gold. That’s because faith has always been a hallmark of world-class performers – most notably the faith performers have in themselves.

It’s so difficult to see yourself in a place of success when you’re nowhere near reaching it. Mastering your mindset is just as important, if not more, as mastering the craft. Olympians have an extremely high-level of trust even when they are failing or going through a slump. This faith in self may stem from being raised in a positive environment, or from performers talking themselves into it. Muhammad Ali admits he told the world he was the greatest before he truly was as a way to bolster his faith in his own skills.

The difference is champions like Olympic athletes have faith in their goals and dreams while most people are often deathly afraid of believing in something that may or may not happen.

Have Patience

To be successful in any career you need to work hard and practice, but the most important trait anyone can have is patience. Building a career is a marathon, and most of us burn ourselves out (way) before we even succeed.

Multiply the length of time you think it will take you to succeed in your career times ten. It’s hard.

I haven’t yet mastered patience, but I keep trying, because I know there’s no other way. I have to remind myself to stay steady and avoid burning out — every.single.day.

Compete With Yourself Only

I like the fact that the Olympics includes so many individual sports. Individual athletes compete with themselves only. In sports like swimming and track and field, you aren’t trying to penetrate your opponents defense. You’re just doing the best you can, and the best wins. It’s pure.

You’re the solitary athlete. You train constantly to prepare for your next big shot. Each blog post or book you write is an attempt at reaching your “personal record,” for quality, craftsmanship, and excellence.

If you look in the other lanes during the race, it’ll slow you down. Keep your eyes forward and run to the finish line.

Invest and get a Coach

Some people scoff at hiring a coach or taking a paid course because they think it’s just as easy to find helpful information online for free. This comes from a scarcity mindset.

Are we so gifted that we can’t benefit from training or coaching?

Do we know something the world’s most successful people who use coaches don’t?

You can spend endless hours, months, maybe even years of your life trying to figure everything out on your own, or you could get help.

Olympic athletes work with the best trainers.

Internet marketing draws its share of seedy characters, but there are coaches and training programs with honest intentions to help you. I’ve paid for membership websites to help me improve my craft on a regular basis.

You’re smart. Do your due diligence, and invest in yourself.

When you watch the games this week, think of the dedication, time, and energy these athletes put into preparing for their events. Think of the mindset it takes to train four years for a race that lasts ten seconds.

I am sure that If we work even half as hard as an Olympic athlete, we’ll make it till the finish line.

Willpower is Overrated!

We all have our big, audacious goals, and we know what we *could* and *should* be doing to reach them. Suppose that you have set a goal to lose 10 pounds. You are absolutely determined to be 10 pounds lighter by next month! You are using your willpower to prove that you are stronger and more powerful than those extra cookies and calories. So you say to yourself, “I will not overeat… I will not overeat… You repeat this to yourself over and over again, using your willpower. But all the time you are consciously saying this, your imagination is visualizing how great those cookies smell, and telling you how great those cookies taste. Sooner or later you will grab those cookies or extra calories and chug them down. Why?

Despite having both the motivation and the know-how to get things done, you’re confused as to why you can’t seem to accomplish your goals. At the end of each week, each month, or each year you look back and feel guilty about all that you didn’t check off your to-do list, and you wonder if it’s because something is wrong with yourself, or that maybe you don’t have enough willpower to reach the huge goals you set for yourself.

I have done enough research on it and today, I’m here to tell you that nothing is wrong with you or me, and that willpower is overrated.

Why We Can’t Rely On Willpower

“You will have to choose your willpower battles wisely.”

Studies have shown that we do have a type of reserve for willpower, a fuel tank, if you will, that can run low and cause us to avoid accomplishing tasks, going to the gym, or even yelling at someone in traffic on the freeway. Since you run your business 24/7/365, you have to know which tasks are worthy of using your willpower and which can be made automatic so you can save that precious resource.

Whenever you have a conflict between willpower and your imagination, whenever they are pulling in opposite directions, your imagination will ALWAYS win! But if your willpower and imagination are working together, pulling toward the SAME goal, this will create an all-powerful force that is impossible to overcome, and success is always the automatic, inevitable result.

You Have More Control Over The Situation Than You Think

Instead of feeling bad about how much willpower you don’t have, concentrate on what you can change. Do not forget that you do have control over how you organize your environment, the habits you build, and the routines you create for yourself to get work done.

1. Design Your Ideal Environment

Remember that our brain is very adept in picking up all sorts of visual cues from the environment around us. For example,

  • If you usually work from home, don’t work near a bed which is not made. You will be tempted to lie down for a while more frequently than concentrating on the work at your hand.
  • Use Post-it notes everywhere to remind your brain about the important goals or milestones of your life that you still need to achieve.
  • Organize your desk. Make it more tempting to work.
  • Uninstall apps like Facebook or Netflix from your phone if you are ending up wasting a lot of time on them.

In short, remove all the distractions from your environment so that your brain does not have to make such trivial decisions all the time and therefore, use your limited willpower reserve.

2. You Are A Creature Of Habit

I cant stress enough on this point. There are things that you do on a daily basis, like brushing your teeth, taking the dog for a walk, or catching up with your significant other over breakfast. These are practices that you do on a regular basis that you don’t have to actively think about. In fact, they’re so ingrained that you exert little, if any, mental energy to do them and that’s beneficial because then you get to spend all your willpower to take more important decisions. Let me explain more on this.

  • Instead of thinking about losing 50 lbs, you might want to create a routine of going to gym every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6pm after work.
  • Instead of thinking about becoming a writer ‘one day’, you might want to create a routine to write only 100 words every day.
  • Instead of thinking about joining the famous 5AM club ‘some day’, you might want to create a routine to wake up only 10 mins earlier than the day before.

My favorite quote from Aristotle:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Almost all the successful people on this earth have some sort of routines in their lives. Some of them eat the same breakfast everyday where as some of them wear the same dress at work everyday. When you create routines, it becomes easier to estimate what you can accomplish each day, which allows you to be more productive today and in the long-term.

3. Discipline is a Far Superior Alternative

Discipline elicits positive behavior by adhering to a set of rules, while willpower elicits positive behavior by exerting effort to resist impulse. When you consider that difference, you realize that discipline and willpower are in fact complementary — if you have more discipline, you actually need less willpower.

Here’s a quick hypothetical scenario to demonstrate this:

Willpower: There’s a box of cookies sitting on the kitchen counter, and I must resist them every time I walk past.

Discipline: The rule is no junk food in the house so I’ll never see the cookies and subsequently think about them in the first place.

When I say the word ‘willpower’, what comes to mind? Probably a person, staring at a plate of cookies, showing visible signs of pain as they perpetually resist grabbing one.

When I think of the disciplined soldier, I imagine a blank faced person simply moving along with the metaphorical current created by the set of rules they must follow. The rules are external – they don’t need to think or worry about them. The soldier simply moves with the rules, like a raft on a river, almost effortlessly. They demonstrate strict discipline, yet the actual behavior is thoughtless and automatic.

The key point: Being highly disciplined actually requires very little mental energy and effort which makes life easier.

Another scenario,

Willpower: I know I need to go to the gym, but I’m tired and want to lie around, ugh, ok, c’mon, gotta get going…

Discipline: I go to the gym every Tuesday at 6pm after work, looks like it’s time to go.

OK, One more,

Willpower: Ugh, I don’t want to get up, I’ll snooze it once (rinse and repeat 10 times, you’re not fooling anyone)

Discipline: My loud ass alarm is blaring across the room. I literally cannot go back to sleep. I have no choice but to get up to turn it off.

Got it?

Concluding Summary

Willpower can be a great starting point. In the beginning it will take some willpower in order to resist having that extra slice of cake or whatever other activity you are trying to change. But relying strictly on willpower is a losing battle. Eventually you are going to run out. Using willpower creates an enormous mental and emotional strain, and at some point everyone breaks and breaks hard, undoing all of the good they may have done.

Instead, using a system of rules and routines is much more conducive to success than excessive exertion of will is — discipline works with your inherent inclinations, and willpower works against them.

So next time you feel like your lack of motivation or willpower are holding you back, take a second and look a little harder. Have you done everything you can to set yourself up for success? Do you have a specific plan of attack, with clearly defined goals? If not, take a step back and create a plan first. I promise it will take you a lot further than willpower and motivation ever will on their own.

 

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Most personal development books advocate secret shortcuts to success. The 4-Hour Workweek, an extremely popular title from author Tim Ferriss, detailed strategies for “joining the new rich” and traveling the world by working as little as possible. Cal Newport’s latest book entitled Deep Work by contrast is refreshing in its emphasis on extremely cognitively demanding work as the key to success and personal fulfillment.

Deep Work is defined as “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” Deep Work is contrasted with Shallow Work, defined as “Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.” Newport’s thesis is that the ability to actually concentrate on hard stuff is becoming rare due to addictive and distracting technologies from Facebook to Buzzfeed to email. Meanwhile, any job that can be replaced by a computer or someone in a developing nation will be, so deep work is actually more valuable than ever.

Deep Work is the knowledge workers’ version of “deliberate practice,” the sort of which leads to expertise as found by K. Anders Ericsson in studies of violin players, golfers, chess grandmasters, and so on. Sheer number of hours of very challenging practice with the aim to deliberately improve one’s skills correlates with the greatest expertise, hence the “10,000 hours rule” popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. Expert violin players practice 3-4 hours a day, whereas mediocre players practice only 1 hour a day or less. Similarly, knowledge workers who spend 30-50% of their work day in completely focused concentration on important, difficult projects produce more value than knowledge workers who spend most of the time checking email, sitting in meetings, and distractedly trying to get a few things done each day.

While Newport emphasizes the benefits in productivity and job security from Deep Work, I think the real benefits are in meaningfulness and life satisfaction. Newport has given a name to something vague I’ve felt was missing in my life. Now I not only have the vocabulary to talk about it, but also a model of how to live a deeply meaningful life in a sustainable manner.

I’ve had a belief that to do a high volume of good quality work, it was necessary to be a workaholic. Not wanting to experience the obvious negative effects of workaholism, I’ve instead chosen to be a slacker. Newport presents a golden mean between the extremes of workaholism and slacking, activity and rest; that of spending 3 or 4 hours a day sequestered in highly concentrated periods of challenging mental labor, 90-120 minutes at a stretch, never working after 5:30pm, and managing all this by ruthlessly eliminating the inessential. Newport advocates hard, hard work for which there is no shortcut.

Ultimately Newport’s Deep Work is not simply about doing better work, it’s about living a better life, balancing many competing priorities, determining which technologies aid your most important labor, and valuing your energy and your time as the precious and non-renewable resources they are.

This book a must-read for anyone who does knowledge work of any kind and wants to live a meaningful life in our age of distraction.

 

100% Commitment Is Easier Than 98%

I agree that the topic is pretty enticing. We always want to commit 100% to all our daily responsibilities. But at the same time, we fail and we fail very badly. And when we fail, it’s personal because we generally don’t put effort into things we care little about. This blog is intended to provide you some new thoughts about what you want to commit and how you want to pursue it in order to get success. Before I start, please note that I am not 100% perfect in this art either but I have been training myself for months and hence, I am certainly better than the average.

If you try to tackle everything wrong in your life at once, you’ll quickly burn out and quit. It’s happened to me many times before. Life is super busy. You don’t have time to focus on a thousand different areas of your life to change. That’s exhausting, and frankly, not helpful.

“small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.” – Charles Duhigg in his book ‘The Power of Habit’

I used to be terrible at working out regularly. But then I forced myself to go to the gym just for 2 days every week (for about 30 mins). Eventually I started to feel confident about it and ended up hiring a trainer. He helped me to boost my confidence even higher. Now, I lift weights regularly and I am more cautious about what I eat or drink. I feel less stressed and more control on my life. All because I started exercising twice per week.

Now, let me talk about the term ‘Absteiner’. An abstainer is someone who is generally all or nothing. Hence, when an abstainer falls off the wagon, they crash and burn. However, when they focus on just one thing at a time, and succeed at that, they feel more in-control of their lives and when an abstainer feels in-control, there is nothing that can stop them. They become fiercely committed to what they’re doing and experience a sense of limitless power. As an abstainer, this feeling only comes after you’ve kept your own commitments. Does that sound like you? If yes, you will be glad to read this post.

As You Succeed, Your Vision For Your Life Will Expand

A natural consequence of success is an increased vision for what you can do. This is where abstainers often fail. Because we’re are highly passionate about what we do, we often start at a sprint. But long-term commitments are marathons, and so abstainers often burn out.

*Note: This happens to me almost every time I set out on a new grand plan. I get so pumped up and excited that I try going a million miles an hour, only to find I’ve given up later that day.

But I have worked on it (and still working) and have made myself better. The goal of this blog is to discuss those tactics that have helped me to get better at the craft.

Feel It

Feeling good is so important for passionate people like us. As our own toughest critic, we often ride a roller coaster of emotions. However, as we succeed at our one thing, and our vision for our lives expand, we will naturally feel amazing.

When you feel amazing, you show up to life differently, don’t you? You are more present and attentive to others needs. You’re less focused on your own problems. You’re less worried about the results and worried more about being genuine. Commit to this one thing and life will feel great.

Attach yourself emotionally to the goal. Feel it inside and constantly visualize the moment of success and there is a high chance that you will be able to conquer your goal.

Gain Insane Motivation And Momentum

As stated previously, when you succeed at your goals, they generally expand. When your goals expand, a gap is created between where you are and where you want to be. This gap ignites in us a psychological process called self-regulation, which is our motivational resources management system that helps us attain our goals.

Specifically, self-regulation works in three ways.

  • Self-monitoring determines how well we are currently performing
  • Self-evaluation determines how well we are performing against our goals
  • Self-reaction determines how we think and feel against our goals. When we feel dissatisfied with our performance, self-reaction pushes us to reallocate our motivational resources

To trigger this self-regulation process, goals need to be highly specific, based on external indicators, deadline-driven, and challenging.

As you succeed in your one thing, and as your vision for your life expands, this process will commence. Thus, as your goals grow, you will naturally alter your behaviors to match your new goals. Your motivation and momentum toward huge things will surge and skyrocket.

At the end..

One of my all time favorite quotes is as follows:

“Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.” In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.” — Clayton Christensen

People are really good at self-sabotage. We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. Hence, Clayton Christensen says 100 percent commitment is easier than 98 percent commitment. When you fully commit to something, the decision has been made. Consequently, regarding that thing, all future decisions have been made. As you stick with your 100 percent commitment, you’re life will be far easier. You won’t have to agonize over needless decisions. You’ve already decided. You’re not going to eat the cookie or that sugar drink. It’s not even a debate.

 

It Will Always Suck

According to psychological research, the anticipation of an event is almost always more emotionally powerful than the event itself.

The fear of asking your boss for a raise is paralyzing and can last months. Yet, once you get yourself to finally do it, it’s over before you know it. The excitement of attaining some object or objective can become obsessive. Yet, shortly after you obtain your desire, you’re bored and in search of something else.

“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” – Cornell psychologist.

Interestingly, your mind can seduce you so much so that the idea of something becomes more satisfying than the thing itself, so you stop at the idea and never make it real.  It’s so easy to dream. It’s easy to tell people about your ambitions. It’s easy to create vision boards and write down your goals. It’s easy to stand in front of a mirror and declare affirmations. And that’s where most people stop and I had stopped too. The very act of dreaming stops us from achieving our dreams. Consequently, when we attempt the activity itself, we immediately hit a stone wall of resistance. More often than not, we quickly distract ourselves from the discomfort with some form of momentary pleasure.

So how can we control it? How can we get out of this blackhole? Should we stop dreaming altogether? No. Instead Do something and don’t stop until it’s complete, no matter how long it takes.

The Power Of Objective-Based Pursuits

Your goal is to learn how to accomplish hard things without continuously distracting yourself. You want to develop what Greene calls “A perverse pleasure” in experiencing internal conflict, and sitting with it.

If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.

You can apply this principle to anything and everything. You can do a homework assignment and just do it until it’s complete. You can write an article and stick-to-it until it’s published. You can do 100 pull-ups, or run 5 miles, and go until you’re done. Who cares how long it takes?

Without question, we live in the most distracted time in human history. It is almost impossible to remain focused on a single-task for more than a few minutes at a time. The law of opposites is in affect. With every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While most of the world is becoming increasingly distracted, a select few are capitalizing on this fact. Hence, Economist Tyler Cowan has said, “Average is over.” The middle-class is gone. Either you’re among the select few who are thriving, or you’re like most people who are distracted, overweight, and struggling.

The choice is yours.

When something sucks, do you quit? Or do you push-through and eventually enjoy the satisfaction of growth and success? Anything worth doing is going to suck at the beginning. Anything worth doing is meant to require pain and sacrifice.

True confidence is earned. It’s earned by succeeding. Not by wishing for success. True confidence emerges when you consistently push-through things that suck. The longer you sit with the boredom, pain, and discomfort — and actually create something meaningful, the more confident and successful you will be.

Doing the work is hard.

Getting into elite physical condition is brutal.

Developing deep spiritual maturity requires giving-up who you want to be for who you really are.

All of these things “suck,” at least initially, and in-the-moment. However, if it doesn’t suck, it’s not worth doing. And all of us absolutely can learn to endure the discomfort of the moment to build a life worth having.Can’t we?