The Importance of Inconveniencing Yourself

Have you ever heard of a billionaire who built their business when they got ‘around to it’?  An epic love story that was ‘fit into a schedule’? A good parent who ignores a child because they have something more interesting to do?  How about being able to keep a job when you only go into work fully rested and motivated to work?

Convenience is a great quality when it comes to shopping, banking, doctor appointments, and your commute to work.  It is absolutely counter productive as a component in making life decisions.  Nothing great is ever created without inconveniencing yourself.

Life decisions are made everyday

We make small- sometimes micro- decisions every day about our life.
Do I put this piece of chocolate in my mouth?  Can I stop for a half a minute to give my undivided attention to another? Do I put a smile on my face when my boss gives me another file for the pile?

We either choose to focus on our priorities or we don’t.  In each of those moments we can create the life we want or we can take a passive route and let someone else decide for us (which is still the decision you chose).  Passive is easy and convenient.  Initially it appears to be the less stressful route.  Until passiveness creates something you never wanted and the stress of that brings you down.

What needs to be clear is your What, Who, and Why.

  •         What are your priorities? What is it that you really want to accomplish?
  •         Who is important to you?  What kind of relationships do you want?
  •         Why are you focusing on them?  What is your motivation?

Once these are clearly spelled out we have the information we need to make meaningful decisions.

Put the effort in

Occasionally life just hands us a serendipitous gift.  Mostly we have to create what we want.  That requires effort (and is effort really ever convenient?).

If you want career success have you shown initiative?  Showing up on time and doing your job well gets you exactly what your paycheck indicates- after all that is the contract you entered into.  Advancement and raises come from putting in effort that exceeds expectations. Don’t forget that effort encompasses your attitude as well.  No one wants to spend a third of their day with a curmudgeon.

If you want to be your own boss are you working on that or just wishing on that?  Are you putting in the hours after you’ve done your day job to ready yourself to take that next step?

Are you a good friend?  Have you taken the time to keep connected with someone?  I’m not talking about watching their social media posts.  Have you texted?  Called?  Gotten together?  Did you help them in a crisis?  Have you done anything with or for them that was not ‘quid pro quo’?

We hear continuously that marriage takes work.  I have seen many marriages where spouses indeed had to work on not killing the other.  In most cases, however, I think it would be more appropriate to say marriage is inconvenient.  It takes daily effort to make sure that our spouse feels loved and appreciated and gets their needs met.  From personal experience, this is almost never convenient but always worth it.

Being a parent is never convenient.  For those of us that are parents, we know the easiest route (like a TV babysitter or saying yes to avoid the hellacious melt down of a three year old) never garners the long term results that we, or the public at large, are looking for.  Good parenting comes with good discipline on the part of the parent- disciplining themselves to do what is necessary and not what is easy.

What about your health and fitness?  Is that ever remotely convenient?

This effort “thing” applies to everything, not just to our careers and our personal relationships.  It is equally important to academics, community, hobbies, etc.

We are not special in our busyness. Click To Tweet

Everyone has a busy life

I don’t care if you ask a college student, a career tracked millennial, a parent, or an almost ready to retire baby boomer- each and every one of them is busy.  Each with their own agenda and priorities. We are not special in our busyness. We can take that excuse for our lack of effort off the table right now.

Circumstances and life stages call for navigating not ignoring. Time availability changes. We need to adjust.  Our friends we partied with on the weekends may now have a family and demanding career. Or maybe it’s us.  It doesn’t mean we can’t socialize but it might mean that it is not going to look the same. There could be different ways of socializing, such as backyard barbecues instead the club.  There might be less of it.  Less time does together does not automatically mean less valuable.  Remember that it is not just you, be generous and understanding with those who are in a different life stage and have to adjust those priorities.

If you are still chanting the busy mantra then schedule it into your calendar and just integrate it into your busy world, you’ll still be able to be a card carrying member of the Busy Club.

Check yourself

Are you living your priorities?

If you say that family comes first, are you treating the people in your household as well as you would a friend?  Are you keeping contact with the far away cousins? Can you give up 15 minutes of a tv show to call and have a conversation with your grandmother (or use your Bluetooth and call from the car)? Have you been cheer leading the efforts of youngest family members?

If you want to start a new venture, how much time have you put in to it?  Have you researched, made notes, sought counsel?  Those customers, those investors, those prototypes rarely walk themselves to your couch.

If sharpening a skill is a priority, have you practiced?  Have you fine tuned?

All those little micro decisions you’ve been making to create what you want, were any of them convenient?  Not likely.

Cultivate Patience

The quest for the life we want rarely provides instant gratification (and there are days that I lament about this- wailing and gnashing of teeth included)  There will be many inconveniences, some repeated over and over again before we see the result of our creation (yep, there’s the catch!).  In the case of relationships it is never ending.  If you just hang in there it can be satisfying and wonderful and, dare I say, magical.

Personally, I am trying to practice what I preach.  I have people in my life that I want to know that they are loved and valued.  It is definitely not convenient but it is important.  So I continue to put the effort in, whether it is reciprocated or not. When I miss the mark, I go at it again and inconvenience myself some more.

What do you feel is important enough to inconvenience yourself?  Has anything suffered because of your lack of effort?

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