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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

Acting is hard



At the start of the year, I had decided that I'd write a thousand words a day. A lofty goal given that I had been writing a thousand words a week before that, and that too not with good consistency. But I decided to do it anyway. A thousand words a day shouldn't be too hard, I thought. If I do it for a couple of weeks, I'd get into the habit and things would flow from then on.

As of today, had I stuck to what I had decided, I should have written 240,000 words so far this year. And how much have I actually written? Something like 72,000. That's just a little over one fourth. That's nowhere close to seeing things through, is it?

When I look back on my own weekly plans right from the start of the year, I have always budgeted time to write a thousand words a day. It's simply that I haven't seen it through on every occasion. Not because I didn't want to or couldn't think of anything to write or was too lazy to sit down and type. It was just life getting in the way. Sometimes it was something at work that needed to be done. Sometimes it was bad traffic eating away my time. Sometimes it was a friend wanting to meet. Sometimes it was a barrage of emails that needed responding.

All things that turn me into someone that is reacting. Reacting to the situation and adjusting my priorities to push down something I intended to do so that I could make room for something unanticipated that came up. Sure, there have been multiple occasions when genuinely more important things had come up that were of a higher priority. But many times, that wasn't the case. And I decided to react anyway.

Don't we all do this? Don't we all give in to the multiple stimuli around us and react to them instead of acting of our own accord? Don't we react to late nights? To bad mornings? To what someone thinks about us? To what someone expects us to do? To what others we know are doing? Clearly, I am guilty on all counts.

The simple reason being that reacting is passive, reacting is easy. It is the path of least resistance. Takes less internal motivation as there is already an external stimulus that is driving us. But it is also like building a product with no thoughts or vision on how it should look and what it should do. Today the priority is to allow its users to search for things while tomorrow the priority is to let its users chat and share things with each other, and the day after tomorrow, something else altogether.

Acting is hard.

It takes internal motivation to say no to all the external stimuli and prioritise correctly, as per what we really want ourselves to be doing. It takes a little bit of courage to ignore external stimuli, especially when it comes in the form of advice or criticism and keep at what you want to do. And if things do not work out the way you expected them to, there is nobody to lay the blame on.

Naturally, acting is hard. It is much easier to react. And we end up doing what's easy most of the time. But is that what we really want?

When we react, we are giving away control, and asking the people around us and the circumstances around us to direct and shape our lives. While we can't control the environment around us, we can control how we act. At least some of the time. And when we act, we begin to shape the world around us instead of it being the other way around. 

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