Grinding It Out

One of the main reasons I STARTED this blog was because I wanted to hold myself accountable for my self-prescribed daily habits. Letting others know to put more pressure on myself, all that stuff. One of the main reasons I KEEP WRITING this blog is that it helps me to stick out the grind, i.e. the process it takes to get good at something.

There is an all too human urge for instant gratification and it has only gotten worse with the arrival of the digital age. We want it all and we want it now. Any effort requiring more than a few clicks seems outdated and boring. The idea that something has to be learned and practiced daily, over the course of several years, has completely gone out of fashion.

We are the culture of the “hack” – everything can be somehow circumvented, or so we like to think.

Of course, this phenomenon has always been there: as long as there have been people, there has been someone looking for a shortcut. But only in the last few decades, I would argue, has this phenomenon blown up into a cultural epidemic; its effects are so widespread we hardly notice them anymore. Etrading and people trying to hit it big in the stock market. The mindset behind the whole start up culture. Miracle supplements in the fitness industry. New medical procedures to restore our health (after years of drive through instant gratification at McDonald’s). Heck, even reducing the courtship process to swiping your thumb either to your left or your right side.

Of course, the myth of the easy hack is just that – a myth. Learning something, having success at something ALWAYS comes down to the same old pre-digital process: doing the right thing, every day, for the next couple of years. I like the idea of somehow magically learning a language in 3 months as much as the next guy, but once you return from wishfulthinking-world, please resume studying your Russian vocab 20 min a day for the unforeseeable future.

That’s really the problem with daily habits: They are so fucking boring. I tell people what my days look like, this long compilation of different habits, and their eyes glaze over just from listening. Habit building is that unsexy.

This is what I mean by the grind.

But then don’t delude yourself – you either skip the grind and forego all the positive results; or you decide you want the results and naturally accept the grind. That’s it.

There is NO hack, no quick fix. Even when it looks like other people made it overnight, it’s just you not registering all the work over time that went into that supposed “overnight” success.

On the other hand, the grind is as good as a guarantee for success – you just have to stick it out for long enough. Doing the right thing, every day, for the next couple of years will inevitably get you whatever thing you desire. A very trivial example (and my original idea for this article): after my knee surgery, my surgeon told me I would probably never be able to touch my heel to my butt again. Now, after 3 years of stretching almost every day for a couple of minutes, my surgeon can suck it.

Succeeding is learning how to stick out the grind. My way of doing this is sharing the misery via this blog. And so this post comes full circle, tata.

Until next time.