… In Which I Further Squeeze An Admittedly Pretty Weak Metaphor Until it Damn-Well Coughs Up Some Juicy Content
A couple of months ago, I published part one of Cereal Theory, asserting (with the kind of impenetrable self-confidence that only a safely obscure blogger sitting pretty in his comfy slippers can muster) that “success is like eating a bowl of cereal”.
Stupidly, I threatened a sequel to that post, and never one to back down from a threat (unless bribed or clearly in actual physical danger) I hoisted myself out of bed at 5am this morning to bloody well get that one off my infernal fucking “to do” list already. Enjoy.
Proof #2 – Finishing the Bowl: Success Requires Focus on One Thing
When you eat a bowl of cereal you are only focussed one thing – finishing it.
“But wait!” I hear you cry “I like to read the news on my ipad while I eat my brekkie!”
OK, yes, so you do.
BUT (he hollers, scrambling around for a half-decent rebuttal)
… while you are reading the paper, you are mainly focussed on eating the cereal; this is your major purpose. And when you’ve finished it, unless it’s Sunday or something, you put the ipad down and get on with something else.
Now … *cough* … moving right along…
Proof #3: You Enjoy Eating Cereal More Than “Having Eaten”
As in, when you’ve just smashed down a giant bowl of sugary, crunchy goodness bathed in full cream cow juice, you probably feel less excited about that idea than when you were, so to speak, smashing it.
There’s a funny quote I like:
“I hate writing, I love having written.” (Dorothy Parker, if the Internet is to be believed.)
I say “poo” to this.
I have often met so-called writers, but every time I ask them if they have been writing, they shrug and say “not really, something something, hard to find time, mumble”. Yet they have plenty of time for yoga or drinking red wine or whatever. Which is fine, but success only comes (if it does at all) if you do the work. And you are only likely to do the work if you love the process.
I love the writing itself, that’s why I keep smashing out blog posts and e-books, even if it means getting up at 5am to do it.
Proof #4: You Have 100% Belief in Your Ability to Finish the Bowl
It’s unlikely that when you pour a bowl of cereal that you feel very overwhelmed by the task of munching that tasty stuff down. You probably don’t even give your ability to accomplish an empty bowl much thought at all. You just size up how much you reckon you can handle and then get to work.
Same goes for success – if you’re going to do it then you need to believe that you can.
It doesn’t matter if, according to common logic, your belief is irrational or delusion. And it doesn’t matter whether other people believe in you. The thing that matters is that you believe you can eat the bowl. Otherwise you never will.
This is easier than it seems when just about every person you know assumes the default position of utter scepticism in the face of your dreams and passions. Raised eyebrows and ever-so-slightly-sardonic smiles can leave you seething at the big family dinner, wanting to slam your fist in your plate of roast beef and scream “WHY DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO VISION!?”. What’s worse, they can be demoralizing. When those closest to you don’t believe in your ability to shine, after a while their fear starts to rub off.
But here’s the thing:
YOU MUST NOT LET YOUR OWN OR ANYBODY’S FEARS AND INSECURITIES STOP YOU FROM BELIEVING IN YOURSELF – OR YOUR DREAMS ARE DOOMED.
The fact that your stated dream to become a professional dancer (writer, singer, business owner, artist, whatever) fills you with self-doubt and pushes all of your loved one’s hot buttons is irrelevant to your mission.
Nobody who ever did anything awesome ever let the general cry for “common sense” stop them from doing it anyway. It can be really hard to deflect this energy, and I will going into this in detail in my forthcoming book “Taming The Monkey Mind” (working title) but for now I suggest that whenever you begin to feel that your self-belief is being undermined, from within or without, remember this quote by Steve Jobs:
“Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Thus endeth this post and probably my ability to squeeze said cereal metaphor. You can download & share both parts as a mini-ebook for free, no email required, right here. It’s the long version too (i.e. boring and/or unwieldy bits left in).
In other news, the tarot card featured above is the Wheel of Fortune card which I wrote some guff about a while back, maybe you’d like to read.