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One Tiny Thing

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“I just need this one tiny thing before I can get started.”

Do you know people like this? Friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who need the new laptop before they can write? That need just a little bit more time to do what they need? Whatever they intend to do, what they have is not sufficient? Have you ever known someone that finally got it?

I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve delayed something in this way, it’s pretty much been an excuse. You get that one tiny thing you need, and then you have another reason not to start, and then another, and so on. You say you need the freedom, or better tools, but that’s not really what you need.

Everything you need, you already have, or can borrow. You can find a way now. Or in other words: If you had this freedom today, what would you do with it?

It seems so obvious. “I’ll spend more time on my art,” you may say, or “if I quit my job, I’ll have enough time to start a business.” But not quite. Instead, you’ll just sit around, doing nothing, for days or weeks on end.

You won’t know what to do with it, because you never learned to manage it properly.

You probably already know that 1/3 of those who win the lottery end up in bankruptcy. With no financial guidance, they lose their frikking minds when they win. The same happens if you quit your job, gain a ton of time, or get everything handed to you.

You don’t appreciate it. You won’t know how to deal. Ultimately, you squander it.

We have to do the work under imperfect circumstances. Were there even any perfect ones (there aren’t), our mind would create imperfections, which would bring us back into the cycle of making excuses.

We have to suffer. I think we should just accept it.

* Filed by Julien at 12:36 pm under random


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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8 Responses to “One Tiny Thing”

  1. Michael Sitarzewski Says:

    I know several people like this and it drives me nuts. They’re talented, and exceptional in their fields, but they’re afraid to “start,” instead making excuses just like those above.

    Someone I worked with many years ago once told me, as I was explaining why I was late, “It doesn’t matter, don’t give me an excuse. You were late. Don’t be again.” From that day forward, the idea of explaining why something happened (or didn’t) was far less important. More important was setting better expectations for myself, and, well… doing.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Jana Says:

    I run into this a lot when people have to make decisions. They get so hung up on making the ‘right’ decision that they end up making none at all.

    Sometimes it just comes down to choosing one. It might end up being the wrong one, but at least you made a decision and are doing something. No excuses. This does require the flexibility to change things up if you did make the wrong decision.

  3. John McLachlan Says:

    Guilty, as charged.

    I suspect we’ve all been here in some way or form or aspect of our lives.

    I have learned the hard (or at very least, the long) way that as soon as I get what I think I need, all will be fine. Never has been and I know now it never will.

    Thanks for your philosophical posts that go beyond the usual. I appreciate them, Julien.

  4. Robyn Cobb Says:

    So appreciate this thoughtful post and I absolutely agree with you. Such a simple truth that we have everything we need or can borrow it. Yet so tough to realize at times.

    I just had this conversation with a friend, that ended with me asking what is it you are really waiting for? And to that she replied, I don’t really know. I’m excited about sharing your post with my friend. Thank you!

  5. Derrick Kwa Says:

    Great sentiment, but I think there’s one thing to be careful of. I don’t think we have to “accept” it so much as to “acknowledge” it. Accepting seems to say, to me anyway, that there’s nothing we can do about it and leaving it at that. I think while we have to acknowledge that the suffering and imperfections are there, we should try to work against it and to change the situation for ourselves. Just my two cents.

  6. Nannidale Says:

    I’m a musician who has spent 25 years waiting for the “one tiny thing” that I need to make a CD. The reason I keep making excuses? I’m scared to death that it won’t be good enough. It’s time to admit that I have everything I need. I thank for your post, and my fans will thank you when the CD is released.

  7. Anne Says:

    Hi there, I entirely agree. I also think yes it is more important to acknowledge this, than accept it. I, for example, am an amateur artist who aspires to become a professional one, and I realise that the only thing that is actually missing is me believing enough in myself and consequently me organising my time so I can do more. And if time is at hand, confidence is however more difficult to summon, but not impossible, and I am working hard on it! Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  8. Janet Says:

    I confess, this is a sin I have committed many times. Now I try to give myself a huge nudge by remembering a website I came across – pardon the rudeness, but it’s for real: http://www.justfuckingdoit.com. Share it…even people you wouldn’t expect to like hearing it get a good laugh.

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