Getting stuck in my massive goals shredded my mind.
In the past I chased down goals like a cheetah, but when I left Wall Street to do this, I was shot in my tracks.
What I called the chest feeling. The inability to sit down and work, let alone write. The painful thinking on thinking that dominated my head in those early days.
I had a dream to do something big, but I couldn’t even get myself to do it small.
It’s for this reason that I build highly systematic approaches for myself and my clients to wake up and crush our days, and I can’t emphasize enough the power of daily systems like this.
Yet it was from years of stuck thinking on massive goals that I discovered the secret is…
Stop Making It So Massive!
Our brain is the most powerful time machine we know that can imagine anything and everything at all times in every future.
One moment we’re thinking about what happened as a kid. The next we’re thinking about 30 years from now. Five seconds later that brain has jumped to what happened last weekend or what might happen next.
Forever stuck in this time machine we can become too overwhelmed by all the things we might do, and focus too little on doing what matter most now.
Instead of living in the world of the actionable, we get stuck in the world of the possible…
“But, I Don’t Know What I Want…”
If I had written a book for every time I said that, I would have written a library of books on not knowing what you want…
But I knew how to do that well enough, so instead I wrote the one book that helped me solve it!
It’s a big book. There’s plenty of stuff in there, but there’s also a very simple process that drives from front to back.
For many years I was stuck in my own head, confused, worried, frustrated, thinking all the time, What Do I Want?
But after grinding my gears on the same question for a decade, I could see it was false.
Berating myself because I didn’t know what I wanted kept me confused, but I got lucky that every day I was taking the small steps that eventually would lead me to clarity.
The brain can keep questioning forever, and, in fact, being stuck is desirous for the brain craves certainty, even if that certainty is not knowing what you want!
Yet, by continuing to take steps, as I wrote about here, even without knowing what you want, you are navigating your way there.
Navigating Our Goals, Now
Sitting back allowing that amazing time machine in our head to think of all the things that maybe possibly perhaps might one day happen in the future, we’re no longer navigating the present.
Driving your car while looking at your phone is a good way to get yourself killed, and driving your goals the same way leaves them DOA.
You don’t drive a car from California to New York by imagining the many different ways to get there, but by picking a route and hitting the road.
Up front you don’t need to make a decision on every stretch of the 3,000 miles, but to keep navigating one mile, one foot, one wheel rotation at a time.
While we might perceive that we need all the answers before we get driving, we also forget that when we arrive we’ll be sitting in the same seat!
And while it might seem like we’re talking about navigating goals and roads, in fact, we’re really talking about…
Navigating Our Brains
A great goal in attending college is to graduate with your degree, but a terrible way to go about it is to wake up every day thinking about every exam you must sit.
The fact is, on any given day, there is absolutely nothing you can do to earn your degree.
Sure, you can think about earning your degree, and stress out over all the things that you must do, but the best thing you can do for your sanity and your goal is to stop thinking about all that and focus on what you’re doing now.
Every goal is the same. No matter how tall the staircase, it’s only steps.
To reach the top of your firm. Build your company bigger than Amazon. Get to Mars. Marry the most amazing person you haven’t yet met.
All day every day we can drive ourselves nuts thinking about all the possibilities—you doing OK, Elon? Let’s get together in LA—or simply focus on nailing the step you’re taking now.
A reason that far too many of us humans live in fake diseases of thinking like ADHD, stress, overwhelm, anxiety, fear, depression, rampant addictions, etc. is that nobody has taught us how to use our brains right.
Truth: We’ve Been Manipulated To Use Our Brains Wrong
We don’t ask a GPS for the 3 million ways that we might reach our destination. We simply plug in where we’re headed, and follow it to the next turn. And then the next. And the next…
To remain at least partially sane in this mad world, we must train ourselves to use our brains the same way.
Our conscious faculties aren’t built to think ahead.
Our will (imagination) is built for that task, but nobody teaches us how to use the right part of our brain to dream without the wrong part trying to control everything.
That part of the brain knows NOTHING of the future. NOTHING. It struggles to process even 9 bits of information in the present, yet we’re manipulated to use it like a crystal ball.
With ZERO insight on the future and our biology’s bias for survival, we force our brains to ruminate on all the ways we might get hurt, filling us with diseases of thinking, which is the real reason that few people even have, let alone ever achieve, worthy goals.
You wouldn’t ask a blind woman all the ways to reach New York and you want to stop asking that “blind brain” how to reach your massive goals.
It doesn’t know. It can’t know. But, it can quite excellently take action now!
The Secret Is One Step At A Time
Each time you force your brain to imagine the future you risk forcing it into overwhelm, fear, and other “unresourceful” states that block you from taking the action that is right in front of you.
Like a log jamming a river, when you get that brain thinking, you’re out of the flow of doing.
It’s true that you might have 5 good directions to take your massive goal, or 5 options for the next phase of your life, but thinking about those 5 things over and over again only keeps you stuck thinking about those 5 things over and over again 🙂
Instead, when you make your massive goal massively small, it becomes clear that you can only ever crush that step right in front of you.
One small step for mankind is hardly a secret, right?
But, if you’re using that brain “wrong,” it’s the most important secret to maintaining your sanity chasing massive goals!