On Forgetting Who You Are

I wrote yesterday about having different identities and struggling to decide which one deserves your time and attention.

There’s a canonical Merlin quote from Back to Work S1E01 about procrastination. It goes like this:

Procrastination is an effect, not a cause. [The cause is] when you temporarily forget who you are, or who you want to be. It’s when you forget what you’re supposed to be paying attention to, and when you lose confidence about what your options are for doing something about it.

Sometimes, our individual identities are so ingrained in our consciousness that we forget they need to be actively maintained. When I pig out on crap, it’s because I’ve momentarily forgotten that I want to be in badass paleolithic shape. When I don’t put some kind of work into this site on a given day, it’s because I’ve forgotten that I want to be a writer.

If I want to write for a living, then I need to consciously dedicate my time and attention every day to making that happen. I can’t just throw up a new blog post and forget about it. Achieving your dreams is not a passive pursuit. You can’t wait for someone to hand it to you. It takes diligent, consistent hard work, and it might take a long time.

I know who I want to be. I have visions of my not-so-distant-future life, and it’s pretty great. And, it’s totally achievable. But, getting there requires focus. It’s not going to happen automatically if I just wait long enough.

We need to take control of our days. We need to ask ourselves each morning, “What can I do today that’s going to help me get to where I want to be?” And then do it. At the end of the day, we’ll be that much closer to whatever it is we want.

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