I am forgetful. About most things. I’ve read some science about how human memory is pretty untrustworthy. I used to think I was pretty good at remembering. I’m not.
For my job I spend some time on the road. I used to hate this time in the car, but I’ve learned to enjoy it. There are two things that happen when I get introspective on trips like this.
1. My ambition gets the better of me and I make grand plans.
2. I start to analyze my behavior.
I flip back and forth between the two. While traveling up to the hotel I plan out exactly what I’m going to accomplish before I leave in the morning:
• Write 1500 words
• Take a bath if the tub is decent
• Walk around town, not just sit in the hotel room and watch TV
• Meet up with friends
• Wake up early
• Go for a run
I can see myself do these things as I play the movie of me doing them while I drive. I am Superman. Nothing can stop me.
What really happens is very different. Almost nothing gets done.
I get into the hotel room and I forget about the mental movie of accomplishments I watched. The mental list I made is completely lost and I default to what a hotel was built to do, relax.
I lay on the bed. I watch Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV. I complain to myself about the commercials and tell myself, “I should get up and accomplish something. I had a list of things I wanted to do. What were they? Hey, Bizarre Foods in on.”
I stay up too late, don’t sleep well because it’s a different place and the thermostat doesn’t work they way I’m used to. I get up early because I’m awake anyway.
My memory and the actions I take are based on habit. I used to think that I had control over my reactions. To a certain extent I supposed I do. I can create the habits I rely on, but I will always be a victim of those habits.
My brain clicks into automation every chance it gets and unless I’ve built a constructive habit I will likely just end up watching TV. I can do all the prep work in the world. I can plan and organize, get into the frame of mind, or listen to the right music, but as soon as I get into the work itself, I will take the path of least resistance.
That’s never the work I want to accomplish.
On my way home from my latest trip I listened to a podcast where this was quoted:
It’s awesome when your thoughts line up with others.
My approach can no longer be about doing more, or having a longer to do list, or a better system of accomplishment. Instead, it has about the basics. It’s about training myself to do what I want to do, and be what I want to be.
When I was going to school to be an actor it was about learning the process of getting into character and going through that process as many times as I could so that it became second nature. When I get up on stage to do improv my training kicks in and I don’t have to try, I just let it happen.
Moving forward to live the life I want is about doing little things everyday, that don’t seem like a big deal, that aren’t a big, but will one day become the training I rely on.