Life Is Short. Stagnant For What?
I am an elite overthinker.
If overthinking was a sport, my top plays would be all over SportsCenter on a weekly basis. I’d have at least three MVP Awards, a Supreme tattoo on my calf, and a sneaker deal. That’s not the case, so I’ll have to settle for bouts of insomnia, unnecessary tension, and analysis paralysis instead.
I can’t stop myself from incessantly analyzing everything about myself, my life, my experiences, and my mistakes, so I do my best to direct my thoughts in ways that will help me to maintain a degree of peace in regards to my past, and clarity in regards to my future. This has been an ongoing inner monologue. Some days, that inner monologue escalates to a civil war - all within the confines of my rather large head.
2018’s challenges have pushed me to know myself on a deeper level. I had to change my train of thought numerous times to avoid drowning in my own limiting thoughts or negative emotions. As I’ve thought about my trajectory, I’ve come to terms with an important realization:
I’ve spent the majority of my time on this Earth too scared to make big life changes on my own terms.
I tend to wait until I find myself backed into a corner. I tend to passively watch unfavorable situations build up in my own life, despite my ability to switch gears and redirect energy. I spend so much time weighing the pros and cons of changing course that I find it difficult to actually make the shift.
I’ve prioritized a number of things over my own progression and wellbeing - the opinions of strangers, blind spots created by my own pride, traditions that never served me in the first place, and fear of disappointing my parents are some of the first things that come to mind.
Resilience has never been an issue. I’ve bounced back from situations I never imagined I would have to face, and pushed through obstacles that I never believed I would be able to overcome. That’s dope. Full stop. That being said, I can’t afford to put myself in situations where extraordinary resilience is required to simply break even. I don’t need to make things difficult for myself in order to feel accomplished.
Life is short. Stagnant for what?
2018 has been a tumultuous year for me, both personally and professionally, because of the choices that I’ve made in the wake of my realization that I had to be more decisive at every crossroad that I come to along my journey.
It started in February. I shut down my first and longest standing form of creative expression, a music discovery platform called Artistic Manifesto that I had been running for almost eight years. For at least five years, it was my calling card. Long story short: running AM wasn’t sustainable, and it didn’t make me happy anymore. I knew that a lot of people would be sad to see the platform retired, but I knew that the price of continuing to pour myself into a project that no longer made me happy wouldn’t help anyone in the long run. So, I shut it down.
Later that month, I decided to drop my first self-filmed, self-edited YouTube video. It was far from perfect, but I taught myself the entire process and put it out there. I’ve always been ridiculously uncomfortable with hearing how my voice sounds on recordings and in videos, but I knew that I needed to get more comfortable with being on camera, expressing myself verbally, and allowing myself to disassociate from perfectionist tendencies. So, I put it out.
In April, I committed to working as a brand ambassador for a fitness supplement company called CORE Nutritionals. I didn’t have any interest in competing in bodybuilding or professional athletics like the majority of the other ambassadors, but I knew for a fact that my daily lifting sessions and relatively healthy eating habits had been instrumental in my holistic glo up over the past few years. The gym has become a sanctuary of sorts for me as of late. So, I joined the team.
At the top of October, I changed my cell phone number. Up until this month, my cell phone number had been the same since I got my first flip phone in seventh grade. I didn’t quite understand how to set boundaries for myself earlier in my career, and gave my number to anyone who asked for it. As I’ve gotten older, my interest in having empty conversations has all but completely vanished. I had some misgivings about making people feel some type of way if/when they realized that I was no longer accessible, but I knew that my focus was more important. So, I changed the number.
My biggest shift of the year is being cemented today, October 16, 2018, as I hit “publish” on this article. My first print book, Keep It 100: daily affirmations for millennials who are tired of being called millennials, is in stores. All of the stores. After making the commitment to be an author, a year and a half of writing, six months of planning/procrastinating, and a two week pre-order period, my first physical book has been released into the universe for purchase.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous every step of the way. I’m still nervous. But that’s part of the game. I beat myself up for taking longer to finish writing than I thought I would. I questioned the quality of my writing as the release date loomed closer. I wondered if anybody would actually purchase this “thing” that I had put so much energy and effort into. Despite all my misgivings, I knew that I had accomplished something impactful. Something worth celebrating. So, I dropped the book. And here we are.
I don’t like discomfort. I never will.
I put myself in uncomfortable situations every day because I recognize that moving forward is infinitely more important than remaining comfortable. I’m thankful that I can look back on the first 10 months or so of 2018 and appreciate what discomfort and decisiveness have done for me personally and professionally.
We have to continuously push ourselves and each other to make changes when we know we need to - not when life leaves us no other choice but to do so. Remind yourself and the people around you that no choice is devoid of potential side effects, and that hindsight is only possible after decisions have been made.
We have to prioritize progression over comfort if we’re going to win. If you catch me moving scared again, call me out.
So, about this book…
It’s called Keep It 100: daily affirmations for millennials who are tired of being called millennials. It’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, as of today. I’m incredibly proud of it, and I think you will be too. Get the full scoop here.