Recently I discovered how ‘hitting rock bottom’ has become a new procrastination technique among my peers. Someone I know mused, “I think I need to hit rock bottom to actually change something about my life…”
Maybe it’s motivated by JK Rowling’s Harvard speech about how rock bottom became the solid foundation on which she rebuilt her life, stripping away all the inessentials and all that. So I tried to deconstruct it with reasons from my own life…What is it about hitting rock bottom that’s making people want to go there before steering their lives in a different direction?
– Not wanting the responsibility of making the change yourself. Often, you’re so scared of making a slight change to your current routine because you’re afraid of failure or overwhelm or even success (what if you burn out?)…so you don’t want to make a change yourself. Instead, you sit and wait for something to fall from the sky or someone to pull the carpet from underneath you to overhaul your life. Only then would you be well-positioned to say, “Now what? Maybe I should try my hand at that side business thing.”
That thinking is quite errant for a couple of obvious reasons;
Just because you’re not taking control over your life doesn’t mean you’re not in control of your life. Nobody’s going to live your life for you, and you only get one shot at this, whether you take it or not.
Also, the stakes are higher when that carpet is pulled from under you, so you won’t have the resources (financial/emotional/cognitive) to truly experiment, and you’ll be in w worse state than if you started something drifting while you’re working a day job.
–If It’s not broken, why fix it? When you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. So some people think, “Oh well, I can’t go up without hitting rock bottom first. And besides, everything is fine. Just fine.”
To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter what you tell your parents/family…deep down inside each and every one of you knows when you’re not fine. You can feel it in the palpitations of your heart and the cold steely dread every morning at the idea of getting up and going to work. It doesn’t matter what your CV says or how your life appears. When you’re not fine — and it’s broken — you do know.
-It’s a good story. Your life burned and you rose again like a pheonix. Admit it, you’re thinking of the TED talk and how hitting rock bottom is necessary to make it attract more views and maybe that book deal. But you know what’s a better story? You switched off the TV, and started actually doing something to bring back fulfillment into your life.
-Laziness. Waiting to hit rock bottom is simply a procrastination technique, and it comes out of pure laziness.
So please, if I leave you with nothing else; be an eagle and start soaring today. Let’s admit it. Don’t be a phoenix and wait to hit rock bottom before rising again. What’s the simplest first step you can take today to make a difference in your life? Hit me up on twitter @ahechoes.