Why over-optimizing for outcomes leads to depression, anxiety, and burnout.
If look back on my success to date, it’s simply a function of trying to win the game that I’m in.
It started in elementary school. It was easy. I hated it.
University - likewise.
Building a company was really hard, but I managed to make it work after a decade.
I built the company I wanted - travelled the world, solved for money, created more time. I didn’t enjoy nearly enough of it.
The worst part of my psyche was unveiled after I got my first big win - selling my company right before the pandemic hit.
I spent the next 12 months stressed out.
Stressed about missing out on huge stock market gains.
Stressed about the insane housing market.
Stressed that the new company I was trying to get off the ground wasn’t moving fast enough.
I immediately switched from one game to another, without even taking a week to figure out if it was the right game.
I’ve never been truly happy. Not generally.
Acutely, for sure. I have so many moments of joy, love, and contagious laughter.
An amazing partner, incredible friends, a great family, and a hilarious dog.
I have time. I have money. I have freedom.
"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."
Put me alone in that room, and I fail the test.
What am I so stressed about?
Part of it is chemical.
Part of it is inherited.
Part of it is habitual.
It’s all self-imposed.
Scroll through Twitter right now.
Some guy just raised $13m.
Some gal just hit $50k MRR on her newsletter.
I’ve made the damn money, and I still get that twinge of anxious energy.
“Fuck that, I can do better.”
That feeling that I should be moving faster, doing more.
Why not just not worry about it?
Our lives are so good. We’re so fortunate.
Anyone that has chosen to start a company has chosen a hard path. There are infinite variables - of which luck plays a factor.
The effort is necessary, but the anxiety is not.
In reality, it makes things worse.
Last December I finally cleared my schedule.
I walked. I rode my bike. I hung out with my dog. I wrote.
And I got more productive work done than I had in 5 years.
If you’re already wired to go hard - you don’t need motivation.
You need to chill out. Be kinder to yourself.
Let the work flow.
Enjoy the process.
Clear your Monday mornings. Cancel your Wednesday meetings. Go for a walk.
Get back to your laptop with the right energy, and the work will take care of itself.
Stop worrying about the outcome, and focus on what you can control - your psychology.
At least give it your best shot, like I am.
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