Have you ever let a good friend slip into the past? Slowly losing contact and sense of the incredible connection that you once shared?
Have you ever owned a car only to let it slowly deteriorate until you couldn’t drive it, let alone sell it?
I most certainly have. And I’m ready to change these patterns.
Why am I writing this post?
In my quest to acquire income generating websites and live from passive income, I am confronting my tendency to allow assets in my life deteriorate due to lack of care and attention. From here on out I will add incredible value to these websites and all other things in my life. This post is my discovery of the root of my resistance to add value to important things in my life. Bear with me because it wanders a bit, but I think you’ll enjoy accompanying me on this journey.
Ok on with it.
While the theme of deterioration has been strong in my life for a long time, I’ve always denied it in some way. I suppose subconsciously I just didn’t want to confront it.
Times change. I’m ready to fix this.
Ok, let’s have a go at visioning what it looks and feels like to be adding value to everything in my life.
At first I didn’t have an answer for this.. But after thinking about it for a little while I discovered that… it goes back into my fear of failure? No that can’t be right.
What is it that is really causing me to allow the most important things in my life to slip away? Maybe I’m not acknowledging them as being the important things that they truly are? Hmm… that still doesn’t quite resonate with me. What could it be I wonder?
Well, that didn’t work. Let’s try a different approach.
One thing I know for sure, I love to start new projects. Maybe that has something to do with it.
In fact, I love starting new projects so much that I don’t even care about finishing the other ones I’ve started.
Sidenote: I appreciate that I enjoy the process and not the end result. However, I’ve identified not finishing the projects as a fear of failure.
To overcome this and start finishing projects I now vision completing each project I start.
This visioning process has helped me so much, that where I originally loathed the final steps of the project, I actually enjoy finishing them because I feel an incredible satisfaction from finishing projects well.]
Maybe I deem maintenance of a car/relationship to be the final parts of the project? Or maybe, because it’s not part of a big project, it just doesn’t appeal to me.
Let’s explore a real life example of allowing my assets to deteriorate
1. Allowing my car to enter a state of disrepair
The first part is easy. I have a broken car in the driveway now. (To get around I’ve been hitchhiking which is one of my favorite ways to meet new + interesting people. More on that later).
What has kept me from taking the time to fix my car?
Let’s look at what ails Smoky (my car). Smoky has two separate problems.
a. Trouble starting in the cold.
b. The transmission slips while driving.
a. Difficulty starting in the cold can be caused by dirty points, a corroded distributor, or a faulty fuel rail.
b. The transmission slipping could be caused by a bad rear main seal. It could also be that it the transmission fluid is overfilled (an easy fix).
Why don’t I want to fix these things?
The solution for both of these problem is just a matter of setting aside an afternoon to fix them. Really not alot to ask for in the scheme of things.
I’ll ask again, why don’t I want to fix these things?
Maybe, because I feel like I don’t have the right tools. …That’s a cop out.
I can’t say for sure what’s keeping me from setting aside the time to fix Smoky.
Let’s move on to the other examples and see if they spark something.
2. Allowing my relationships to disappear over time.
What I know:
- I love to meet new people.
- I’ve traveled to six continents and never sent anyone a postcard. I’ve written a few, they just never seem to make it to the mailbox.
- When I meet new people, I feel an incredible sense of excitement, exploration, and energy.
- When I think about maintaining my relationships with those I care about, I don’t know exactly what that would like. (Key point)
- I rarely talk to my family members on the phone. Every time I do, I wish I did it more.
Why don’t I stay close with the ones I care about?
- Is it because I’m interested in meeting new people? (starting new projects)
- Is it because… I think they won’t continue to like me? Nah.
- Is it because. I’m really cool? Ah, there it is. Nailed it!
…Looks like we’ll have to come back to this one too. Onto our 3rd and final example.
3. Embracing a Leadership role with the local touch rugby club
Recently I started running with the local touch rugby club. It’s a great group of people who haven’t played much touch and are just out to have a good time.
To give you a bit of background, I’ve been playing rugby since I was 15 (27 now) so I’ve got quite a bit of experience on them and sufficient skills. This is a perfect opportunity for me to take a leadership role with the team, help develop everyone’s skills, and build lasting relationships with some good people.
For some reason I’m incredibly hesitant to do so. I think it could be a fear of commitment on some level.
Ooh yeah, I think we’re on to something. Commitment issues.
Why a fear of commitment?
I would really love to help build everyone’s rugby skills. For some reason there is a resistance to own up to being the leader that I have the potential to be. What is it? Self doubt? That could certainly be it, although I don’t think it is. Just for fun, let’s hold off on ‘fear of commitment’ and explore the self doubt route.
Where would the self doubt be stemming from? Self doubt because I haven’t made a million dollars yet? That’s a pretty cheap way to identify your value even if it is incredibly common. My lack of financial success could be causing me self doubt. In writing this, the idea of self doubt doesn’t resonate with me. It’s safe to say we’ve explored this option and can now confidently rule out the self doubt hypothesis.
Or can we? (Bad joke…)
Let’s apply ‘fear of commitment’ to our examples.
#1. Fear of commitment with my car.
I now realize that I have subconsciously internalized the idea that I will not have this car for long. This means that at the first signs of not working well, I immediately think it’s time to put ol’ smoky out to pasture. It’s almost as though I’m looking for an excuse to step away from this car. It’s because I’m afraid to commit to Smoky and own my present reality of owning a low value car.
I think I’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. Let’s try the next example.
#2. Fear of commitment with relationships.
Yeah, I’ve known this for a while. Moreso with an intimate partner though. I wonder how this transcends with my friends?
Booooring. Let’s skip it for now.
#3. Fear of commitment in becoming a leader of the touch rugby club.
By committing to this, it means that I must be held accountable for other people than myself. It means I can’t come and go as I please as I am wont to do. This is a big step in overcoming selfishness. Ultimately it will be quite fulfilling.
I can now see I have the irrational fear that by getting involved in this team I am committing to stay in White Salmon for a long time and not moving on. The strange thing is that I love living in White Salmon. I have no desire to live anywhere else (for now). It’s the feeling of constraint that really scares me. (This are can certainly be explored more in the future).
This is a belief that must be changed in my head. I’m far better off not worrying about whether I’m here in White Salmon for 2 weeks or 2 years. This will help me make the most of the present regardless long I may live here.
Sidenote: It’s funny that when you identify a fear in yourself, it feels so natural to acknowledge it. The process of writing this out is incredibly therapeutic in embracing this irrational fear.
Let’s take some steps to overcome this fear of commitment.
Even in writing that my heart fluttered a bit. This fear of commitment must be deep rooted indeed.
Where does this fear of commitment come from?
Maybe it’s acknowledging that I can’t do “better.”
Wow, that seems so awful just thinking that. I have a sneaky suspicion that it is right though.
I’ve got to step away from societal concerns a bit while I explore this incredibly selfish idea.
I very much live in the future and am always dreaming/visioning about what I’ll be doing in the coming months/years, whether it’s riding a motorcycle up the east coast of Africa (west would be amazing, albeit dangerous), hitchhiking to Tierra del Fuego, sailing a transoceanic journey, crossing the Darien Gap, the list goes on.
This drive to always do more and greater things appears to actually be hindering my enjoyment and fulfillment of the present!
How’s that for irony? Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.
To remedy this, I must live in the present (should write a post/vision this). This sure seems like a good time to plug “The Power of Now” by Eckhardt Tolle. I started listening to this book while living in Sweden in 2010 and really enjoyed it but never finished it. It’s one of those books that doesn’t appeal to you upon looking at the cover, but as soon as you get into it you absolutely enjoy the cover off of it (what does that mean?). Needless to say I’ll be revisiting the Power of Now this week on the bus trip up to Vancouver.
Btw, it’s funny that this post was initially meant to be discussing the concept of “Adding value to everything you touch” and has evolved into living presently and overcoming my fear of commitment. It’s a link that is easy to see now, but I wouldn’t have made the connection without this process of writing it out.
Alright boys and girls it’s time to vision overcoming this fear of commitment…
Ok, tomorrow is upon us. Now we’ll do the visioning and save the editing for another tomorrow morning. (1.21)
Vision #1 – Overcoming fear of commitment with my car
Looking back at the year, I have really enjoyed driving Smoky. It’s such a reliable car. Once I fixed the transmission and replaced the distributor cap, smoky has always started and driven like a champ. In fact, it’s been such a good car that people often comment how much they like riding with smoky. The hardest part in fixing smoky was understanding that regardless if I had it for 1 month or 12 months, I should keep it in great condition.
Overcoming this fear of commitment with Smoky has created a drive to always perform the regular maintenance and keep it running perfectly. As an added bonus, there is a real sense of accomplishment that I feel from owning such a smoothly running vehicle. I have the utmost confidence that the next car I acquire will be one that I keep for many years to come. Tentatively thinking, it will be some sort of rugged van or an 1980s Mercedes 240d turbo diesel wagon .
Vision #2 – Overcoming my fear of commitment with friendships
First and foremost, giving gratitude for all of the wonderful people in my life has shown me how great it is to be surrounded by incredible people. I realized that there is no real commitment issue with keeping in touch with my friends, it’s just something I’ve neglected.
Since there’s no real hurdle here, it really has become more a matter of logistics. After I created the following system for staying in touch with my friends (and sticking to it), I found that it was really quite easy to keep the friends in my life.
First, I made sure I had the address and email, Skype and phone numbers of everyone. The address collecting was the most ambitious, but a facebook message did the trick.
Now, I make a habit of calling one friend everyday. Once I get through my group of friends, I start over.
And no, this doesn’t mean I call my mom everyday. I call my dad too.
Beyond the phone calls. And this is my favorite part. I send one thing in the mail every week. Sure it took me fourteen days to figure out where to buy stamps (supermarket), but once I finally did, I started sending all kinds of good stuff that I knew my friends would like. This is has ranged from a snazzy coaster from the local dive, to a mushroom I made out of wood. Anything I feel my friends will find fun and interesting. I just slap a stamp on it, sometimes four, and pop it in the mail. No need for the envelope!
If I’ve missed you on this, shoot me an email. Don’t forget your address!
Vision #3 – Overcoming my fear of commitment becoming a leader of the touch rugby club
This ended up being incredibly easy and supremely satisfying. Once I clicked the internal switch to commit and become a leader of the Hood River Touch Rugby club, every action I made was in line with this mission. I found myself watching each players’ skills and telling them what they do superbly. I was surprised to discover how much raw athletic talent there is in the team.
The hardest part of the process was getting through to the players who didn’t have good attitudes. There were only a couple, but for some reason it really bothered me that they didn’t have the desire to get better (at least in my terms). I now overcome this, not with my initial desire to browbeat them into wanting to improve, but rather by ignoring every instance of bad attitude.
Then, I wait and wait until they demonstrate some inkling of a good attitude and reward them in a subtle yet positive way. Again, my first instinct was to verbally applaud them, but this didn’t work. Instead, at the first sign of good attitude/action, I flash them a smile showing very clearly that the two of us are on the same team and that they have my absolute approval and admiration. This method only works because I am respected as one of the best players and someone who they want to emulate. The best part of getting through to the players with bad attitudes is that they have not only improved their rugby skills, but they have shown more happiness and positivity in other aspects of their life.
This really reinforced to me that rugby (or any other team sport) is a perfect setting to practice leadership skills and improve things you’re struggling.
Well, that wraps it up the visioning. In writing these visions out, I can really see, feel, and expect these experiences to come true. It feels so good to shape my reality in a way that I am proud of. There is, however, one major subject that you may have noticed I didn’t touch on yet. If you know it, shout it out in the comments, otherwise stay tuned for more on this in the coming weeks.