For almost nine months now, I’ve attempted to write a post every day. Obviously, this does not result in sparkling gems each time. Some days, the result is a placeholder–a mere marker of my intention to keep doing this. And I know that a lot of people would say that if I have nothing to write, then it’d be better to write nothing at all. But sometimes the best posts come on days when I’ve opened this window and just started typing.
I believe in showing up every single day. Many days, I show up and immediately realize that nothing is going to happen. But on plenty of other days, I feel terrible, but after I show up, I realize that I had something in me after all. I am always suspicious of people who are too quick to cut themselves some slack, because I believe that there is something in the human psyche that is constantly looking for reasons to stop trying. I wouldn’t even say that this thing is laziness, because I think there is something quite rational about laziness: it’s not absurd to be disinclined to work hard. And laziness frequently stops us from doing things that we don’t really care about.
But there is something more insidious than laziness. There’s a kind of instinct for self-annihilation* that lurks inside all human beings. It’s the thing that makes us watch twelve straight hours of television or browse Buzzfeed for an entire morning or spend an extra year in a job that we hate or eat an extra four slices of pizza that we don’t really want. It’s not about pursuing pleasure: it’s about trying to escape ourselves…trying to find some way to avoid living our lives. And that’s the thing that constantly offers up false reasons for not doing the things you need to do. And when you commit to showing up for work, day after day after day, then you start to cut through those walls of bullshit and figure out just how much you’re actually capable of doing.
*I guess, in Freudian terms, this would be the death drive.