Action hero, no excitement required

Oliver Burkeman has a great post this week on embracing discomfort. If you’re waiting for the right feeling to get busy, you are not truly free. If you need to be excited before you take action, you are no action hero:

It’s eye-opening to think of excitement this way: not as the thing we should all seek in life, but as a mildly embarrassing affliction that’s as likely to distract you from what matters as guide you towards it. “The only way to really deal with the problem of excitement,” Krech writes, “is to stop becoming dependent on it”: it’s after excitement fades that you discover what you’re made of. This needn’t mean resigning yourself to a relationship or job you hate; it just means not relying on excitement, or the avoidance of discomfort, to decide what to do next. Life (to paraphrase the Buddha) is inherently unsatisfactory. And that’s liberating: you never have to wonder if the path you’re on will lead to unbroken thrills and zero frustrations, because you can be certain it won’t.

What if you didn’t wait to get excited about that thing you want to do, or to feel like doing the work you know needs to be done to be the person you want to be? To be the hero of your own life takes action, whether you feel like taking action or not.

As Chuck Close says, “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

“To be able to do what needs doing, whether or not you feel like it, is pretty close to a superpower.” –Oliver Burkeman

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