If You Master One Thing, Let It Be This

As the Internet creates more shards than the dark crystal, people are seeking guidance more than ever before. Astrologists have come back into fashion. Doulas are a must-have. You're downright uncivilized if you haven't done a cleanse. What is often lost in all the advice though, is that you can't buy self-control.

The first part of the word - self - makes it impossible for anyone or anything else to do the work you need to do to thrive in a world that is everything and nothing at all.  

It's true. The only thing you can control is you. This is hard because there is a part of our brain that craves intensity. It's the part that says you'll only see him one more time. It's the part that says one more shot won't hurt. If you can master self-control, if you can remain composed under duress, you win. That's it.

Sometimes I be on da 'gram @herdiamondback
In 2018 I celebrated my 30th birthday. I am embarrassed to say there aren't any pictures because I had moved past a size 8. My body felt foreign and unfamiliar and I didn't feel like I had much to celebrate. It was a fight to stay positive, but I ended up having an amazing time in Seattle. The weather was perfect and the karaoke bar had Disney's greatest hits.

When I returned to Denver from Seattle, I sank back into a funk. I went back to working 60+ hours a week - killing my workout routine. I went back to heated and dysfunctional staff meetings. I went back to begging a guy for time who was emotionally unavailable at best...

They say that winners never quit, and quitters never win - but those words just look good on a poster. Oprah tried to be a news anchor and Michael Jordan wanted to be a baseball player. The lie detector test determined that was a lie. I once saw myself as a great filmmaker and then quickly realized that I didn't like 14-hour set days.

Fast-forward to the present, I've quit a lot of things. I really put on my quitter hat last May. I began to think critically about what I wanted and where I wanted to be. Then I started quitting all of the items mentioned above. I quit thinking that there was such a thing as a "perfect job" or business. I quit thinking that I couldn't be my authentic self. I quit accepting poor treatment from people I didn't even like. In other words, the cancel button became my best friend.

I've written about how quitting New York was a mistake, but it wasn't about the place. I needed to quit New York to realize that all the things I would ever need and can control - ready for the cliche - aren't things. OK, here's another one, deep roots don't grow overnight. Now I'm done.

The problem with quitting isn't that you might look flaky or indecisive. The biggest issue is that we may move on to fill the thing we quit without thinking critically about what was doing the disservice to begin with. Quitting can't be an empty, "I'm sorry."

So are you talking about self-control or quitting? Both. Allowing yourself to give in to delusions - to say the world is out to get me and there's nothing I can do - is dangerous. You can control your actions, you can think critically, and you can quit. Put it together and you can surprise yourself.

Approaching my 31st birthday, it looks like being debt-free, recommitting to exercise and healthier eating, better relationships, and upskilling. It looks like reaching out to grab hold of the people I thought were OK to let go. It looks like forgiveness because there will be times where I really f*ck it up. It looks like more trips home.


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