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Carving Your Path + Slashing Through Distractions

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It’s an easy enough thing to have happen.

You want to live passionately and you start to pursue a dream. You chug along with it and suddenly there are all these things to do, create, experiment with, buy, learn, and follow up on. Soon enough you’re busy with the work of your pursuit.

Damn, there’s kind of a lot of it.

So much, actually, that soon enough you start feeling like maybe this isn’t so much fun. Why is there so much work to do? I thought passion was supposed to be fun and all this work stuff isn’t fun. One, two, three more glances at your to-do list and you cross the line into the overwhelm red-zone and soon your many vices take on a new glimmering appeal. Lost in the haze of whatever it is you do to distract yourself, you can’t remember why you’re doing all of this anyhow and ego puts the finishing touches by smearing some self-defeating and/or confusion-inducing questions into your mind and you’re officially lost with Vaseline on your lenses.

I speak from ample experience when I say that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to passion-dream-manifestation is clarifying what success looks like to you and what being a successful _ (your passionate dream is) looks like 3, 5, and 10 years from now.

That’s the whole point, right? You want to experience fulfillment. So clarifying what this is for you is your North Point – a shining star guiding your way through the maze of choices and slashing through the gazillion distractions we face each day.

So here’s the simplest thing you could do to help yourself.

1. Write out in detail what being a successful _ (your dream) looks like to you. Both now in the sort term and in the longer 3, 5, 10 year term.

2. Take the 3 year version and back it up. What steps do you need to take to get from where you are now to there? Be really incremental with it. If developing a body of work or learning a new skill is part of that, then you know what you’re doing for the next 6 months. But what then? Break it down.

3. Put what you wrote someplace you can see it. Perhaps on the wall above your desk or on your fridge. If you’re more of a symbolic sort of person, take what you wrote and make a collage or image that says it all and put that up, along with what you wrote.

The beauty is that when you have this, then you know what you need to be doing right now. It’s clear.

When you’re faced with choices between x, y, and z, you can look to the 3-year North Point and decide if x brings you closer to that or puts it off.  Being busy for the sake of being busy does NOT mean you’re being productive for your dream. But being busy with a clear focus and purpose DOES.

On that note, I’ll say one other thing. A lot of things that look like they’re taking you towards your dream aren’t. I call it faux-productivity. For example, If you want to be a musician, you need to practice. Period. You just do. There’s no two shakes about it. So a faux-important thing you may be seduced into doing before you can get started is cleaning your room, well how about the whole house, and getting the perfect cup of tea, and oh it would be good to get outside for a minute, Nature’s always inspiring, and so on. Sometimes you may need to do these things, but most of the time you don’t.  You just need to pick up your instrument and play. You can get to the rest of that if it’s really so important later.

Photo: Kelli Trontel + Thorn + Sparrow

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