I recently read the wonderful book on simplicity called Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider. It’s a memoir of sorts with this subtitle: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.
Here’s what’s weird. The author writes about simplicity and subtracting excess stuff and space and entertainment, etc., from her life and her household. So it’s definitely, definitely about less chaos. But through the narrative we come to see that she created a website that grew to many readers. And she started a second website that did the same – it has contributors and everything – so that she basically makes their household income from having these websites and then she and her husband are part of a nonprofit organization.
So, I’m reading a book about simplifying – I’m totally taking it in, all that “just say no to chaos” stuff – I mean, let’s be real, this is part of my message, too. And yet, I couldn’t stop my brain from thinking, “How do you make a blog grow like that and then how do you monetize it and could I do something like that and what would it take and how many times a day would I have to be on twitter and facebook and how much content would I have to write and I would probably need to bring in other elements like video” and etc., and oh-my-goodness did you even get the point? Because that kind of thinking is not simple. It is chaos.
It happens. That. Fast. You can be reading a book about singular focus and get totally distracted.
I’ve told you I’m a Periscope junkie now, and most of the people I follow on Periscope are all about the online monetizing – how to make money on the interwebz and quit your day job. It’s all very pump-you-up kind of stuff, and I do want to make enough money to quit my day job so I can write books only. But I can’t shake the feeling that making enough money to quit my day job is not actually my dream. Writing books and screenplays is my dream, and this is something I am already doing and can continue to do oustide the edges of the day job forever, without making any money from it. Do you see the problem? If I drop the writing to pursue the money, I’m no longer living the dream. Life is so weird like that.
Making money online is pretty awesome. So is being an Olympic gymnast or running the PTA or starting a charity. I’d love to become an expert in WordPress and design websites – I actually really would like to do that. But none of those things get my next book written. Only my fingers on the keys can do that. I am determined to keep laser focus until that task is done. There is no multitasking, you know. The single task is the only task at all. Ask anyone who has ever finished anything they are truly, deeply proud of. How did you do it, we could ask. And they would reply: I started it, and then I did not stop until it was done.
I heard a motivational speaker recently explain that this is the goal – to pursue your true priorities and the financial stability will follow. She had, of course, already made her millions the busy way. And part of me wants to tell her it’s all well and good to tell us to slow down and carve out the life we want without going crazy in our mad pursuit of money, because she made the money while she was making the mistakes, and now she can live so comfortably in her principles.
But I don’t say that, because I know in my heart she is right. I probably won’t get to live my principles upon glorious piles of money, or in a house several thousand square feet more than I need, but I will get to be at peace and happy because I am choosing well.
Your day and your week and your year will claim every moment of your schedule without your permission. If all you want in life is to be busy, I recommend being alive, basically. Just stay on the planet, and busy will happen. But if you can, if there is any courage in you, find a quiet place and figure out what you want. Then make time for it, save money for it, say yes to it, say no to many other things, zero in, and get it. Less debt, more family time, better lesson plans, a job that’s more of that and less of this, piano lessons, travel, or farm fresh eggs every morning. What is your beautiful, singular focus? You’ll be so much happier when you find it and then hold on for dear life.