By Traci Chanel
I had an epiphany (gosh I love this word) around day 36 of #QwnSzn and it was this: sometimes you gotta know when to give up. I know. It sounds weird coming from me as I believe in the power of just do it and doing it anyway, but I’m not exactly talking about giving up as in quitting. Let me explain.
I recently read an article about Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. It was about the three questions he asks himself daily that he says helps him to find success and achieve goals. My kind of shit. On my own personal evolution journey, I often ask myself “big questions.” I discovered the power of asking oneself important questions sometime ago, but I was really intrigued by the simplicity of Ma’s questions. They are, What do I have?, What do I want?, and What will I give up? Simple right? I read through Ma’s application of each question-all great, but it was my own Auntie Oprah aha that made them profound. Here’s my epiphany:
Question 1 What do I have? I knew right away that this question had internal and external applications. Internally, this question is about gratitude. It’s about acknowledging what I’ve already accomplished and being grateful for everything that I’ve come through and thankful for what I have because truthfully, I live in the present, in the now and that’s the only thing that is real. The past is over and done with and the future is only a well thought out maybe that I have no guarantee of living. The only guarantee that anyone has is that one day we will all take one last breath. I digress. Externally, the question becomes actionable when I take stalk of what resources I have available to me in order to work a plan.
Question 2 What do I want? This question is like an invitation to dream with focus; to become absolute with a vision and set a goal. I believe that this question can only be asked after expressing gratitude. It’s important to know that who I am at the moment is my highest form of self, who I dream to be is my next level self. Make no mistake, I know that I am worthy right now. So, this question gives the opportunity for me to make the vision plain and clear, to know and express exactly what I want and make a plan.
Question 3 What will I give up? This is the question that made me bow my head shamefully. It was the one that choked me up. I couldn’t answer it because it was showing me up. I felt like I was being accosted. No seriously. This question made me shift in my seat, I was so uncomfortable with my answer. My answer to this question shined a light on a horrible habit that I have, procrastination. Procrastination is like a drug. It temporarily soothes pain and momentarily takes one away from suffering. So to ask me what I am willing to give up? Shit, it was like asking me to choose how I would like to suffer and who wants to do that?
I learned from Mark Manson, writer of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, that knowing what pain we want in our life and what we are willing to struggle for steers our choices. See, our choices either drive us closer to our goal or take us off course. Then it hits me. I choose procrastination because it delays my perceived suffering. My dreams then, starve to death and the cycle repeats. It happens every time I get excited or a dream comes to me. I envision myself living the dream and even make a plan. Soon as I have to commit (which means I have to give up something) or it gets hard and I lose motivation-I procrastinate. Every. Single. Time.
I decided to ask myself the three questions. What do I have? This was easy to answer. #QwnSzn is all about gratitude, so I breezed through this question. What do I want? I had several answers for this one: financial freedom, accountability, a farm, Essence Fest and the list goes on. I admit that when it came to the third question, my hand shook to write its answer. What will I give up? The first thing I wrote was give up immediate gratification-this is hard for me. I took a breath. Then my heart poured out. Give up impatience. Give up old limiting mindsets. Give up idle time or the seduction of idle time. Give up comparing my timeline to others. Give up the thought of instant success. Give up the illusion of daydreaming as being the same as action. Give up sleep (sometimes). Give up failing to plan. Give up bullshit standards. Give up what other’s want for me. Give up what I think I can’t do. Give up hesitating. Give up being content and comfortable. Give up procrastination. Give up starving my ideas. Jack Ma and Mark Manson are not at all that deep with their questions. They simply understand that there is no gain without pain. Period. It is now day 44. I am in the process of answering these questions to plan for the last couple of months of 2018 and the end of #QwnSzn. I know what I have. I know what I want and I damn sure know what I am giving up.
I challenge you to ask yourself these same questions