I have a friend that talks to me whenever she feels bad. and when she feels better, she leaves to go do what we talked about. except that what she needs to do is hard, and this creates stress. so to protect itself from the stress, her mind looks back to see when was the last time that there wasn’t any stress? oh! when talking to William. so my friend comes back for another de-stressing conversation, it feels good, and the cycle continues.
and this is the same thing with starting new projects. you come up with a project, and it’s all exciting. you’re all happy and can’t wait to make the project a reality. right now, no obstacle can stand in your way. you start working on your project. you hit an obstacle, and it’s hard. stress kicks in. so to protect itself, your mind goes looking for the last time when you felt good, and there wasn’t any stress: ‘oh! when I was inventing a project.’ so you get to inventing another project. and it feels good. and the cycle continues.
years later you realize that all you’ve done during that time is invent new projects. but you havn’t actually accomplished anything.
and making a decision is the same thing. when the time comes when you ultimately have to make a decision, you get stressed out. and your mind goes to the last thing you did to remove the stress: ‘oh! postponing the decision.’ or asking somebody’s opinion. and that makes you feel better. and so the cycle goes on.
and making a decision is hard because there’s no security. there’s fear. you don’t know whether it’s the right decision or the wrong decision. and guess what? no one knows either. there are only those who don’t know, and those who pretend they know. and now your mind starts imagining all these scenarios of what would happen if it’s the wrong decision. and the fear paralyses you. and you get stressed. and you postpone yet again. all of this creates an endless loop of unhappiness and stress.
the best way to overcome those loops is to make a decision now, and stick to it. choose an obstacle now, and overcome it. decide on a project, and ship it. don’t come back. don’t postpone, and by all means don’t invent another project.
update (14dec2010): for this to work you have to actually BELIEVE that the only way to do this is to make effort. there’s no other way. it will be hard, and full of obstacles. as long as you’re looking for shortcuts, you’ll be stuck in the loop. once you genuinely BELIEVE that there are no shortcuts, you will choose an obstacle, and overcome it. then choose another and overcome it. when you genuinely believe this, that’s when the magic starts to happens.
update: for deeper insights, and more detailed recommendations, please read the comments.
p.s. related topic coming later: the secret to self-made happiness.