There are those who say and there are those who do. You can never do both of them together and still do them well. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I want to do this” or “I want to visit that place” or “I want to learn how to do this” and months or years later you still think, “Why did I never do that?”
I’ve always believed that life is not merely comprised of tasks but tastes. For some of us, doing more is what it means to be doing things right. If something goes wrong, we then have the excuse that we are doing too many things and once in a while, something can and will go wrong, if it has to. For others, and these are the artists in their own fields, doing less and doing well is essential. These are the people who look in to the details and the subtleties of everything. They don’t care if they do things on time or if they do as many things as others. All that matters to them is whatever they’ve done is the best they can do.
They say we humans have the potential to do far more than we think we do. And in trying to leverage that potential, we try to put a lot of our energies everyday in doing a lot of things. A lot of things, really. Not that there is anything wrong with being able to do a lot. It’s just that it never ends. The list keeps growing. It is like we are “trying to fill a bottomless cup”, to quote the wise guy from Kung Fu Panda II. The point is, we can do a lot and we can do a lot more than that. It will never end. So what do we do? Well, there’s one thing we can try. Slowing down! Take time to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Give every little thing the importance it deserves. And that’s important because I say so? NO! That’s important because all the crazy people knew this. They are the great ones. The greatest composers, painters, writers, sculptors and even the greatest scientists and businessmen and the like. ALbert Einstein was smart but he had no interest in showing that in any thing else but math and physics, because that was what he was passionate about. He could have done a lot but he chose to focus. And are we glad he did! Howard Hughes was obsessed with things that flew. Obsessed. Yes, that word is bad but well the good side of it is you are really in to something to be obsessed with it. And I don’t see how that can be wrong. The world has seen many a folks who have given up all and went for what seemed nothing at first, only to realize years later that it was the right choice. And I consider myself to be lucky enough to see a few of these people alive today. And one of them is Stevhen Paul Jobs. A lot of things are said about him everyday, both good and bad. But no one can deny that he and his efforts have changed the world. He did cause a “dent in the universe” because he believes in doing that, “otherwise why even be here”. In a quote (not an exact one) he said, “Some of the most important decisions we make here at Apple is deciding what not do to. That gets rid of a lot of crap so we can focus on what’s good.” We see people everywhere who do so many things because they need to be done. Not wholeheartedly, but because they have to do them. Wouldn’t a lazy person be far better who does nothing out of obligation or necessity but only when he feels like doing things? But if everyone did that the world will go crazy, right? It might lose it’s rhythm for sure, but will it be that devastating? I don’t think so.
Let me explain.
It’s simple math. Don’t we all have at least one thing that we’d like to do but we don’t for every thing that we do but we don’t want to? That’s a fair assumption I believe. So if one day, you became totally carefree and gave up feeling responsible for the things that you do only out of necessity and you started doing only those things that you wanted to do always, you’d still be doing the same amount of things, right? So what changed? The actual things! And the fact that you’ll be a lot happier at the end of the day. But wait. You ask, what happens to the things that you are not doing now but were essential like cleaning? Well, here’s the thing. It’s not that you are never going to do those things that you don’t like doing. You’ll do them for sure if they are really necessary. The catch here is this, that firstly, you get time to live without doing the things you thought were necessary and that you had to do them to exist. And that’s huge. You’ll realize that most of them aren’t really necessary. Get rid of the crap. Secondly, you actually did a lot of things that you wanted to do. That means you are very satisfied with your life now. And those things that you will still need to do out of necessity, you’ll try to find some fun in them and do them with more elegance now. Be more creative with them. You ask why couldn’t you have don’t that before? Well, do you make your strategies when you are on the battlefield? No 🙂 You need to be away, relaxed, comfortable and have a nice view of how it will be like to decide what stays, what goes. How is this math? I don’t know! It is not 🙂 I had to put it there in the beginning to make you feel that what was to follow would be very complicated, as complicated as simple math is, because otherwise it will lose it’s value. It’s so simple, you wouldn’t have taken it for a solution. Someone taught me this years ago and I want you to learn it as well – In learning anything, the fundamentals are the most important thing. They are quite often the easiest and also the ones everyone else pays the least attention to.