The Magic Vending Machine
I wanted to be liked by my peer group. We typically always put our best foot forward in front of new peers because their opinion of us rests solely on our 2 hours together. There is no context outside of this moment. If I had an off night or was in a bad mood then I would picture them describing me as, “That asshole from dinner.” So subconsciously, I didn’t want to do something unbecoming of the moment, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Part of me was thinking, “What if this is the spaghetti on the wall that is the million dollar idea? You don’t want to miss it, do you?” There was my brain trying to trick me into thinking there were shortcuts to things. I didn’t think of the months and months of research and testing, not to mention teaming up with people whom I had only met 72 minutes before. I was enthralled with a shiny object. No. To focus on the things you’re working on, we need to learn to say no to the other things that sparkle in your vision. Typically, we like the shiny thing when we are in a rut or feel stagnant in a project we have been putting blood, sweat and tears into. Don’t fall for it. Stay strong. Say yes to things when you have no ideas or no projects you’re working on. Say yes when you feel like you need a new perspective on things. Say yes to getting feedback on what you're working on. But don’t say yes to more puzzle pieces. Finish the puzzle in front of you first. You have pieces everywhere. Say yes to new pieces when you have exhausted your current set. We need to say no more often, but we like yes. Yes makes us feel inclusive and part of the group. But if we said yes to every possibility, just-in-case something were to happen, we end up not finishing anything. If steel were not cast in an I-Beam-shaped mold, the molten metal would say yes to everything gravity wanted it to do and all that would be left is a flat, circular blob of thin steel not even strong enough to hold its own weight. The mold says no to every other shape but the “I”. And because of the boundaries the mold has laid out, buildings and cities can be constructed. Thank goodness for boundaries. Make sure you create some for yourself, lest you find your "city" and your focus in ruins. I know I have to do better at this too. What’s your magic vending machine? Meaning, what’s the thing you’re working on right now that you shouldn’t be?