Habits & Contradictions: do you want it as bad as you say you do?
How often do you think about your daily habits, and what they’re propelling you towards?
It would be wonderful if dreaming big was enough, and our imaginations could dictate reality.
We all know life doesn’t work that way.
A dream is a beautiful starting point. It can be a north star as we navigate life in search of fulfillment, happiness, and self-actualization. Despite their potential, dreams are devoid of lasting impact to the world until they’re brought to fruition.
Dream chasing is a popular term, but I conceptualize it as dream building. Brick by brick. Day by day. Consistently choosing habits that allow us to move closer to our dreams is the key. I’ll be the first to admit it: a lot of days I don’t feel like laying a single brick or building anything.
I lose track of my big picture dreams in the midst of busy days, long nights, stressful situations and unexpected roadblocks. I have off days (off weeks, off months). I feel insecure about my progression, or lack thereof. These self-imposed limitations can’t last forever, though. I got places to go.
“Cuz next summer I ain’t finna say ‘next summer, I’m finna…”
That’s a Kanye quote, if you’re unfamiliar. It’s from a song called “We Don’t Care,” which is one of my favorite tracks from his 2004 album, College Dropout. It’s my “damn, I still made it” anthem. This was ‘Ye’s major label debut, and he still had a chip on his shoulder that many of us could empathize with.
I love this quote in particular because of how focused it is on making things happening in the present, by any means necessary. Not “next summer.” Not next month. Not next year. Not tomorrow. Now.
I lay bricks most consistently when I’m able to maintain that sense of urgency. Easier said than done. I’m human, and distractions in the smartphone era are more prevalent than Drake cultural appropriation thinkpieces.
I don’t always hold myself in the highest regard. Sometimes I let roadblocks put a question mark at the end of the declarations I make about who I am, what I stand for, and where I’m headed. I forget how far I’ve come, and what I’m capable of. I fell back into that train of thought towards the end of last month.
"I’m not going to wait for anyone or anything to redirect me towards pursuit of the goals that I’ve set for myself. I am my own x-factor."
A recent New York trip pushed me out of my comfort zone just enough to get me back on track. There’s something about the fast pace of NYC that always revives my confident, focused, aggressive inner hustler. Maybe it’s the lack of familiarity that forces me to discard the norms of life at home. Maybe it’s the people I meet who are also building towards their dreams. Whatever the underlying reasons, I embraced my time in New York as a personal revival of sorts.
I spent about a week in the city, and found myself feeling more inspired than I was when I first touched down. I headed back home with new opportunities brewing and increased confidence in myself. As I settled back into my home routine, I reflected on the experience, and took pride in what I was able to accomplish.
As I continued to reflect, I thought about the fact that my biggest successes in New York weren’t even dependent on being in the city. They were sparked by a new environment, but I could have made the same strides from the comfort of my own home.
I made a choice that day.
I decided that I’m not going to rely on outside stimulus such as a location change to keep my motivation on point. I’m not going to wait for anyone or anything to redirect me towards pursuit of the goals that I’ve set for myself. I am my own x-factor.
Do you want it as bad as you say you do?
Ask yourself this question. Often. When you’re winning. When you’re losing. When you’re unsure of your next step. When you just feel like taking the path of least resistance. When rent is due. When you feel like you’re not good enough. Ask yourself if your habits line up with your goals.
Assess the way you spend your time. Continue to evaluate the way you describe, and subsequently treat yourself.
Remember that you can change your position in life dramatically over time with consistent, targeted effort. Don't wait for external sources of inspiration to push you towards laying your next brick. Don't leave your progression up to chance.
Dreams are beautiful starting points, but you owe it to yourself to bring them to life. Refuse to let your habits and dreams contradict each other. We need you to be the best “you” possible, for the greater good.
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