“Comparison is the thief of joy”. Like Adam Grant, writer and professor, I used to take this attitude to heart. Recently, he pointed out that it’s not comparing ourselves to others that sucks the beauty from life, but being envious. Looking toward another’s accomplishments is necessary for improvement. It’s when we desire their achievements that life loses it’s zest.
I envision The Plunge as more than interesting, water-cooler research articles. It’s not the number of our years but their quality that matters. What’s a long life if lived under a cloud of anxiety? Worrying that the guy next door, or thousands of miles aways, is more "successful". Anxiety that we’ll never achieve our career goals or get to truly relax.
For most people, life is little more than a game. It’s not survival. It's more like a dance. We don’t struggle to eat, get clean water, or find shelter. We manifest problems that, if fixed, still don't improve our lives. Better titles, more notoriety, bigger homes. They’re prizes of pleasure that rarely quench our deepest thirst for happiness.
Despite knowing this, I strive for a rigid, consistent, productive life. When plans get interrupted, I struggle. Hard. Planning to work: impromptu family gathering. Sitting down to read: baby’s crying. Fasting until dinner: wife asks to have lunch.
The anxiety, sadly, typically comes from a place of envy. How will I ever build a business if I can’t focus on work this Saturday? Without sitting down to read, when will I finish these 30 books? If I'm forced to have lunch, will I ever lose this belly fat? I’ve created expectations for what feels like success and the ‘right’ path. It’s as if my full attention on creating a business, reading books, and being fit is the only way to happy life.
Kicking off 2024, my mind is fixed on doing less. Simplify my workouts and diet. Remove social media and distracting content. Take a break from coffee. With all of these, and that constant quest for career success, I strive for consistency. Last year I proved a lot to myself thanks to consistency. The Plunge is real because I worked on it every possible morning. I even kicked a few bad habits, thanks only to good decisions, made repeatedly.
That said, I see now how valuable the interruptions can be. Anxiety is a looking-glass into what worries us. Fortunately, this has allowed me to question whether I’m worried about things that matter.
Putting off work to spend time with family. Reading later so I can play with my son. Crushing a double-decker club sandwich with my best friend. Seriously, what’s there to worry about?