We all fall off the ol’ horse from time to time.
I’ve fallen off plenty of times myself, and for much longer periods of time than I’d care to admit.
In life there are two general paths: The easy road which becomes more difficult or the difficult road which becomes easier over time.
Whenever I slip into habits of procrastination or of choosing short-term gratification over long-term gratification, sooner or later a dullness, a lackluster sense of existence starts to seep into my sense of wellbeing.
However, the sooner I notice what is happening and make the decision to embrace long-term gratification decisions, the sooner my sense of ALIVEness and wellbeing starts to improve.
We can fall off of the proverbial horse for 5-10 minutes, for 5-10 hours, for 5-10 days, months, years, maybe even lifetimes.
Short Term vs Long Term Gratification
The longer we stay on the short term gratification (STG) road, the harder things become.
Most of us are familiar with our own STG (short term gratification) mainstays. Maybe it’s junk-food, mindless social media scrolling, computer or video games, binge-watching episodes of the flavor of the week, mindless date application swiping, porn, weed, alcohol or any other means of attempting to escape the intensity of being truly present to our lives.
The Buddha taught that the more we attempt to escape pain, the more pain we encounter. It’s only by turning toward our suffering that we begin to experience less suffering.
My Own Recent Fall Off Of The Horse
Recently I went through about month of “falling off the horse” and attempting to escape my life. I was playing a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game which hijacked the “progress machinery” in my brain to trick me into thinking I was making progress in my life. I would get excited about playing the game, and I would play for several hours a day at a time because it was fun to advance skill levels and watch my character get stronger and unlock new abilities through completing quests.
All of my coachees have heard me repeat the phrase, “Progress equals happiness.” It’s an idea that Tony Robbins often repeats, and I love it because it’s true.
So there I was, tricking my brain into making me feel like I was making progress in my life and getting those temporary quick hits of dopamine when *REALLY* I was not fooling myself.
When I wasn’t playing the game, I felt down, dull, and a bit lifeless. I needed the game to distract me from the fact that I had fallen off my horse. It was a classic escapism-addiction scenario.
Almost as soon as I decided to turn back toward my life fully, to give my life my ALL again, I felt the life returning to my body.
This was around the turn of the year, and the momentum I started building then has continued to grow.
I’ve optimized my schedule, my routines, I’m polishing up my REAL life skills day in and day out, and I’m consciously looking for and finding great contentment and appreciation of my daily routines.
I’m embracing my life at a new level and as a result I’m feeling much more ALIVE.
No matter how long you’ve been on the proverbial ground in your life after falling off the horse, whether it’s been for 15 minutes or for 15 months or years or whatever, you can at any time make the decision to embrace what you ALREADY know you’ve been procrastinating.
Yes, it can be a real challenge to do that, and that’s exactly why it is going to energize you. Life gets boring without a challenge.
Don’t go so crazy that you get in over your head. Find that sweet spot where it’s not overwhelming, but it’s not under-whelming either. Get back in the flow-zone.
Put ONE thing in your schedule RIGHT NOW that you know will line you up with your life’s purpose.
Maybe that ONE THING is making a phone call you’ve been thinking about for a while. Maybe it’s scheduling a self-date or self-care session. Maybe it’s signing up for that class that has been calling you out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s having a difficult conversation you’ve been procrastinating.
EITHER DO IT RIGHT NOW OR PUT IT IN YOUR SCHEDULE! (DO THAT NOW!) I’LL WAIT.
It’s just a matter of making the decision to do it.
No amount of quick-hit, easy-fix, silver-bullet short term (de)gratification is going to get your pleasure levels anywhere close to the sustainable fire of passion that burns sweetly within you when you are practicing the purpose of your life.
Don’t try to do all of it, just do that one thing. And then do the next thing after that. The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.
Get back on that damn horse!
There’s nothing better than practicing your purpose–than living your purpose.
Living your purpose is how to be fully ALIVE.
P.S. Sometimes we can use a helping hand to “get back on the horse” or some accountability to STAY on the horse. If you’d like some wholehearted support, sign up for some life coaching sessions with me here.