Savor This Moment

It is so easy to keep push, push, pushing.

Well, not easy, really. Maybe the better word is conditioned. Through each achievement (or like, or tweet), there’s a rush of dopamine in the human system, that signals, “things are good”. Which creates a biofeedback loop to keep doing more of the same. As in, as soon as one milestone is done, to rush off to the next one. And to make sure that to-do list, project, or whatever does equally well (perfection, calling!) to make sure the rush happens, again.

I certainly feel the call to that “rush”. Not only has my 2nd book, Social Era, been named one of the best Business Books of 2012, it has become a best seller. Which gave a rush to want to do the next book. Then, I got invited to do a short talk at TED Long Beach, and the press coverage was amazing. Which made me wonder, “when will I be back, and what could I do better.” It was crazy how much work went into that project and yet I wanted to mount that horse again. And, now having a Harvard Magazine feature piece … with my name right there on the cover. It would be oh-so-easy to turn my attention to the next big thing.

Sarah Green, my editor over at Harvard Business Review, and the co-creative partner of the Feature wrote this to me,

I know that both of us tend to think about how to optimize things — whether that is a business strategy, or an article, or a TED talk, or a book, or email, or even just a way to work out and have meetings at the same time — so let us both take a break from thinking about improvement and “what’s next” and “what’s better” and, for a moment, just savor this moment.

I think she’s capturing what is going on with so many people. Getting the Gold StarFrom the freelance economy where people are persistently having to hustle for work, or the ever-present connection via Social Media, there are many distractions that you or I have bought into. It seems like we are collectively trying to show ourselves, “I’m okay”. Yet, if we are always needing to do to be worthy, then we’ve bought into a lie. The lie is to believe that we’re not already good enough, just as we are. And that lie becomes a trap. One that puts on a treadmill to do more, own more, pursue more … all in the goal to prove we are enough. What we become are doing beings, not human beings. Like whirling dervishes, and deeply unhappy ones.

Savor this Moment. Remember why you did the work in the first place, the purpose. Stop chasing the next gold star. “Just…” Be at peace with the now.

2 Responses:

  1. H. H. L.. March 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm  |  

    I totally relate to what you are saying. Driving to the finish line is much easier when you know there is a starting line just on the other side. The goal may be to prove something, or perhaps it is the sheer joy of being continually engaged in purposeful activity that drives the hunt for the next thing. I think creative entrepreneurs are especially prone to being intrigued by opportunities. Les McKeown refers to this as the Visionary’s “shiny blue ball” syndrome in his book “The Synergist.”

    Reply
    • Nilofer Merchant. March 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm  |  

      Ah, yes, in some ways what is described in this post is good. We are chasing our purpose. But sometimes we are just running towards a mirage of worthiness. It may look like the same act on the outside, the key is to know what it is on the inside.

      Reply

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