Posts tagged letting go
Just F#%*ing Do It

A lot of people, myself included, seem to lack motivation sometimes.

They procrastinate, make excuses, waste time, feel the need to find inspirational quotes online to spur them forward. (And by "they" I mean "me," obviously.)

I say screw that.

When it comes down to it, just about every fork in the road, every moment when we have the option to do anything, we are making one single decision: do it or don’t do it. Over and over. Every time.

So here’s the only motivational quote you need right now: Just F#%*ing Do It.

Apply it to everything. Here are a few examples:

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Making Art for Art's Sake or: How I Learned to Give Up the Agenda

When my band broke up last year, I found myself in an uncomfortable but interesting place. I’d been in bands for almost my entire life starting shortly after I first picked up the guitar (six months after, to be exact). From that time in 1996 through 2011, the longest stretch of time when I wasn’t in at least one band was no longer than a few months. It’s always been something that felt right to me, that feeling of being an important part of a small, tight-knit group of like-minded musicians creating new and exciting things. But here I was after a six and a half year run with Shaimus: bandless, lost and exhausted.

In so many ways it was like getting out of a six year relationship; just the thought of starting a new band was enough to make me feel worn out and frustrated. Along with this (and many other feelings) came a sense of melancholy freedom. I had been obligated to go to rehearsals or meetings on Monday nights, Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings for years. I couldn’t take a trip out of town without consulting five other people. It was a sacrifice I was more than willing to make and had no regrets about, but now I suddenly had a huge chunk of my personal life restored. Yet I was back to the beginning: we had not quite made it to the level in our career that would have opened doors that could ease the transition into my next musical project. It was either join a band that was already at that level or start from scratch again.

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On Perfection

Perfection is what you get when you stop expecting it of yourself. I didn’t always think this, though. Until recently, I spent most of my life fancying myself a perfectionist. I took pride in my opinion that over the course of one short life, the only way to truly reach your full potential was to strive for nothing less than perfection in everything you can possibly control. There was just no point in living any other way.

(Quick side story: my high school physics teacher once asked me if there was anything I didn’t have an opinion on. I told him that there was no point in going through life without having an opinion on every single thing. I’ve since softened my stance on that quite a bit, but you can see what many of my teachers had to deal with.)

As usual, I was wrong, and things are much simpler than I even imagined. Being a perfectionist is actually not a desirable quality for two primary reasons:

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There's Always Someone Better

Everyone has known that one person who seems to be good at everything; specifically, the person that is better than you at everything. It even seems like the things that you’re especially good at are the things they are especially better at. If you don’t know that person now, you probably did when you were a kid, and it probably brought a whole host of emotions out of you.

When I was younger, I used to get angry and jealous of that person.

I loved drawing cartoons as a kid, and I was sort of good at it. Good enough to get noticed for it, anyway. Then I made friends with a kid who was particularly advanced at art. I was OK at copying a drawing from a comic book, but he could conjure up his own images that looked ready to be printed by Marvel. When he was around, I felt like he stole my thunder. I felt like he took away the one thing that made me stand out. Although I certainly admired his natural skill, I was also jealous.

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The Romance of the Ideal

Every once in a while, we all get filled with hope for some romantic notion in our lives. It could be about a personal dream, an ideal, or, more literally, an actual romance. It’s inevitable, really, and it seems to be in our genes to romanticize and fantasize—why else would we have entire industries (the film industry for one) built around it? Most of us would claim that we want to be realistic, but there are certain moments when we don’t want to allow ourselves to let go of that romantic notion we’ve created. Usually it’s because we’ve actually seen it happen in some way, shape or form in other people. For every person who has repeatedly said that life events simply don’t happen like they do in the movies, there is someone else who has seen a real “Hollywood moment” that seemed to be plucked straight out of a screenplay.

 

The Blurry Line

 

I myself live on both sides of the coin. I claim to live my life on the general principles of logic and rationality, yet continue to find myself embracing the fantastical. I’ve always wondered where to draw the line between keeping my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. There’s obviously no hard and fast answer (although I love Will Smith’s take that surrendering to the “real world” is the quickest path to mediocrity, which you can see in a great video compiling his philosophies), but the more I think about it, the more I realize that you can’t draw a line where the edges are blurred; if logic is black and white but dreams are colorful, trying to find the middle ground seems futile.

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