Earlier tonight I was listening to the gf as she described a few things that weren’t quite optimal, having to do with the communication between higher-ups and some general management of activities where she’s working part-time.
I felt a part of me surge eagerly, wanting to bring up ideas about making the choice to make a difference in our positions, about picking ourselves, about taking steps to become indispensable. I let the surge rise, and pass. My improved social radar hinted that this was a case where my SO wasn’t looking for solutions; she wanted to ‘vent’ or at least have a sympathetic listener. So I listened and felt a few interesting uncomfortable feelings rise up–uncomfortable because as I listened, I felt full of ideas that sounded so useful and beneficial and empowering, and yet I couldn’t escape the reality that I wasn’t yet living those ideas, that I’ve been settling for mediocrity, been taking the easy path of following directions instead of enough initiative, been struggling against myself to live the ideals that I dearly want to be true. I thought a bit about how this felt very much like a writing moment, because it’s helped move my mind to the pensive state that comes perhaps all too seldom. And that brings me to here.
I began listening to the audiobook version of Seth Godin’s Linchpin just today on the drive from work to Hoboken. Familiar Godin themes quickly emerged and I was reminded of just how influential Godin’s ideas have been in changing my mental diet over the last year, and how much, I think, I wanted to live those ideas, to take the steps to do work worth doing, make human connections, make a difference in a world where mediocrity is the too-easy fallback choice for people who haven’t been taught any better.
Listening to Godin talk about the choice to do great work, to be remarkable, I realized keenly that once again, I’d lost my way. Instead of doing great work, I was doing mostly good work, occasionally very good, and sometimes not enough. The motivation and inspiration feels like it’s often missing from my work, and I notice that I end up gravitating towards ‘default’ tasks that I’m responsible for instead of making the time to do and try things to really improve the department/company/product/myself. The idea of being a “linchpin” is in being the person in any organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced because no one else can do the great things they do. I buy into what he’s saying; I want to become a linchpin. I want to choose to do great work. And there’s some kind of gap I’m facing between the ideas that have already changed my life, and the fulfillment or perhaps achievement of even more completely changing my habits and mind and lifestyle until I can acknowledge that I’m finally putting in hard work towards the right priorities and making headway.
Another idea bothering me while I’ve been considering how distant I am from being a linchpin at my current position is that I feel like sometimes I’m doing some kind of pursuit of my friends in the grand endeavor to improve ourselves. I wonder if this idea is essentially complaining that “no one’s helping me”. I see that plenty of friends are fine with having fun, and have some degree more difficulty when it comes towards working towards things in life that matter and yet are difficult. I was thinking of how I’ve classically been seen as a more “serious” person in most groups, and I imagine it has to do with how I tend to stay on track and not lose sight of the goal. I have nothing against having fun–so long as it doesn’t detract from the pursuit of our goals. So I think about the last month or so and how it’s so easy to schedule in fun, and how I’ve strayed from my weekly planning process that I’d followed until late July, and how despite my desire for help in achieving my goals and despite a group of people being put together to aid each other in the achievement of our goals, people don’t seem to care, at least not enough to hold each other accountable beyond occasional exercises.
I think I’m disheartened to a degree because it doesn’t bother anyone in our group when we’re not making progress on each of our goals. When I’ve stopped making progress on my goals and no one helps to keep me to it. It looks like despite some of the fun and even useful things we’ve accomplished, we’ve most certainly not internalized a culture of mutual accountability. I appear to have been the driving factor in keeping the group organized and focused; what makes me think this is the litmus test of when my motivation wavers. My motivation has been wavering. And people are okay with that: one friend has attained one of the most important of his goals and is working in pursuit of other things. Another seems partly interested in the group’s cause and partly reluctant to participate. Another is involved but has no real stake in what we do. Perhaps that’s one of the issues–that really, no one here has a stake in what we do. I set a vision, moved us toward it, and when my motivation wavers, things begin to fall apart.
I didn’t intend to write this post to talk about the issues above; this post has gone on too long already about an idea not directly related to what I began writing about. No more for tonight.