Seemingly contradictory advice: Show up and go with the flow

Michal Stawicki lives in Poland and he is passionate about personal growth and development.  He wrote The art of persistence: Stop quitting, ignore shiny objects and climb your way to success.

Show up

80% of life is showing up

And even though a lot of what he wrote in his book make sense, I must admit that I have a sense of tiredness because of all the striving that is inevitably part of the process. You’re always striving to be better and to improve and to climb climb climb all the way to success.

Maybe it’s because I let external circumstances unhinge the good habits that I’ve been implementing before the school holidays, which he says is not a good thing. He reminds the reader that neglect causes two negative effects at the same time: you don’t get closer to your goal and you’ve learned to add excuses for inactivity.

In the end I suppose the important skill that you acquire when you stick with it, is perseverance. And of course the added value that once you start with something new, it inevitably also influences the rest of your life to the better. Your intention, attitude and commitment determine your consistency.

Transformation isn’t brought about by a single grand action; it materializes by daily consistent effort. – Michal Stawicki

But some days I feel too much of a good thing is bad. I read once in Martha Beck’s Finding your own North Star that sometimes when you push far enough toward any extreme, you eventually reach its opposite! She adds these lines from the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu:

In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Way,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
Until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.
– Lao-tzu

Some days I think, it is necessary to just go with the flow.

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How to become a superhero underneath

Talked about just doing it and habits yesterday. Starting with small steps are effective “because they cannily sidestep that primitive part of your mind that senses change, or difficult task ahead, and so slams on the brakes and spins you toward some stress-relieving activity”, like watching tv. Just write down what you eat? The lizard brain laughs at this because it’s no threat. So you write down what you eat each day and without even noticing begin to eat slightly more healthy the next day and the next, until after a while you notice that eating six portions of veggies and fruit has become a habit. The principle behind this is apparently called kaizen, the Japanese word for progress through tiny but steady improvements. Justine Musk write more about this with regard to writing a novel: How to get out of your own way and quit procrastinating on your novel.

On the repetitive nature of building habits, I found Victoria Moran’s words (in Living a Charmed Life) motivational:

You can’t buy muscle. The only way to get it is to build it yourself.

By becoming as strong, flexible and fit as is possible for you, taking the whole package that is you (heredity, age, lifestyle up to now, physical limitations) into account, might have positive physical manifestations like trimming down and having muscles that make other people envious.

But the cherry on the cake is that when you KNOW you have “strength and endurance and flexibility beyond what’s expected, you may appear to be a mild-mannered hairdresser or physician or second-grade teacher, but there’s a superhero underneath.”

Maybe I’ve been under my son’s influence too long, but being a superhero underneath seems to resonate with me. Knowing something positive about yourself – holding yourself in high esteem – that’s where your power is.