I am eternally an all or nothing person. Its my best and worst trait. I see the all the possibilities until I decide, and then I forgot that there were ever choices. This is good in high stress situations, and maybe thats how it formed. In tragedy, I often am my best self in the sense that I am of help to other people. I don’t get freaked out or overwhelmed easily, probably because I don’t see the choice to pull away. Maybe its the Christianity, maybe it was the karate background, who knows.
All or nothing thinking is a type of perfectionism, and on the dark side probably a form of egotism and self sabotage. I’ll never forget when my ex wife and I were young, like 22, she wanted us to run together because she was trying to get in shape. I was already in good shape from my ill fated competitive karate career, but I was game to help and do something with her. We had just moved to Park Circle and we went jogging around the main roundabout. After about 10 minutes, she just stopped jogging. I pushed her to keep going but she didn’t want to budge. Not because she was done or feeling sick, but just because she wanted to take some breaks in her run. This blew my mind. This isn’t how you get in shape. You keep going and don’t stop then you go further and further each time.
I was right, I was also very narrow minded. The problem with this type of attitude is that it doesn’t consider the living conditions of your pursuit.
Before you reach your goal, you will have to live in your process. We spend most of our time in our process and only brief glimpses of sunlight in our goals or our failures.
I am the kind of person who is willing to live in shit in order to get what I want. As I write this, I am living in a 4 bedroom house that is almost completely empty. I have a couch, tv, table, coffee table, desk, and 1 bed. The AC in the upstairs doesn’t work well. One wall is ripped out in my stairwell.
But the rental unit on the back of my property however is perfect, well appointed, and cute as fuck.
This is how it has to be in the beginning. Either your dreams or you are going to go hungry, there often isn’t enough food to go around.
With all that as a preset, recently I’ve started to learn the value of single event progress. Your whole life can change in one moment. One conversation, one seminar, one album. John Danaher, the famous jiu jitsu coach talks about this a lot.
As a all or nothing legalist type, i resist single event progress because it doesn’t fit my preset of huge commitments and thats a mistake.
I’m working on this, but its hard because I’m very very hard to influence (stubborn).
But often times the times I open myself up to single events, I am delighted with what happens. I let my buddy Michael Clayton bully me into going to New Orleans with Hagan last year and the first night there was probably the most magical day of my whole year.
I’ve been training with a very talented brown belt friend named Rehan lately. We just get in rounds where we can, and my mind resists it. Because its not long term, because its not on some orderly schedule. And yet, every time I train with him I get better because 1. he’s way better than me 2. single event progress is a thing.
The opposite spirit of unhelpful perfectionism is the art of cobbling. The definition of cobbling is
“to roughly assemble or put together from available parts, to improvise”.
For someone who likes to bullshit and go with the flow as much as I do, I have a lot to learn about cobbling.
Sometimes we don’t have all the elements we think we need to go where we want to go. But that can very very easily become the excuse you use to not build. At the end of the day, you do not have control of the elements, you have control over your work.
Build that road, build that dream, build that business, build that album, build that love, build that joke and don’t sweat it if things don’t match at first or ever. Just build.