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Maybe you can’t do all the things that would be required to bring your life to the level that you’d prefer.

When you make a list of all the things that would need to happen, from the big things— career on track, ideal relationship, body looking and feeling like you’d prefer— down to the little things— living space clean and organized, laundry caught up, daily budget under control— it’s highly probable you’ll feel overwhelmed. Because, if you’re like most people, making such a list brings you face to face with a simple, significant truth: that’s, like, a lot of stuff.

Even more to the point: if your list included a fair number of tasks with which you struggle and projects you’ve been putting off, you’re even MORE likely to feel overwhelmed….for that matter, the fact that those tasks and projects feel overwhelming might be the very reason they wound up on your list in the first place.

The main reason most people don’t get around to doing more practical things to improve their lives isn’t complicated. It just feels like too much.

We look at all those tasks, and we feel…intimidated.

We look at those tasks and we feel…weirdly tired and depleted. Weird, because, c’mon, why should we feel “tired” even before we’ve begun a difficult task?

A lot of personal development teachers talk and teach about how we put off certain life-enhancing tasks because we feel inadequate or unworthy. There’s often truth to this, but in my experience, the problems usually start out on a more basic level: we don’t feel physically, energetically up to the tasks.

We take a look at the tasks, and go, “Unnnffff. There’s…just…no way I can do all of that. There may be no way I can do ANY of that with my current level of energy and resources.”

And the thing is…we may be right about that.

We may very well not be up to tackling the list of things-that-would-need-to-happen-to-substantively-improve-my-life.

Our resources, after all, truly are finite.

I’ve said it before: anybody who tries to tell you you have unlimited resources at your disposal is either hopelessly naive, or selling something.

The real world fact of the matter is that time, as a resource, is limited. Energy, as a resource, is limited. Physical strength, as a resource, is limited.

Some of our resources are renewable, and can be replenished, but it’s silly to pretend that they’re unlimited. We have to work with the resources we have; and we have to be realistic and grown up enough to concede that those resources have limits.

So if our resources truly are finite, and if the tasks we’d need to undertake in order to create the life we’d truly prefer to live really are beyond our means at the moment, what do we do?

It’s pretty simple, though not easy: we do the thing we can do with the resources we have.

Maybe, with the time and energy we have available at this moment, we can’t do everything we’d need to do in order to make our living space completely clean and organized. But of the dozen or so tasks that would need to happen in order to get our living space clean and organized, is it possible to do…one of those things?

Maybe, with the time and energy we have available at the moment, we can’t enter the career of our choice. But of the possibly hundreds of things we’d need to do to enter into that career, can we do…one of those things?

On an even more basic level: if we can’t do the several-to-hundreds of things we’d need to do to accomplish ANY of our important goals, can we even VISUALIZE doing…one of those things?

You’d be truly surprised at how many people reject the idea of taking one, teeny, tiny, step toward a larger goal. Some people really, truly hate the idea. They figure, “this one, teeny, tiny, step really won’t matter; and it’ll only set me up for disappointment because I can’t take ALL the steps I’d need to take to accomplish this goal.”

You really think so?

I’d make a somewhat different argument. I’d argue that our self-esteem is always watching, and it knows when we’re taking even little, teeny, tiny steps toward our important goals…or when we’re copping out of taking those steps simply because we’re scared, discouraged, or overwhelmed.

It’s hard to respect ourselves when we observe ourselves copping out simply because we can’t do EVERYTHING at once.

Teeny, tiny steps add up.

Even if you can’t get the whole house or apartment clean…you can get one corner clean.

Even if you can’t do ALL the laundry…you can do a load.

And your self-esteem will notice if we’re doing the thing we CAN do…or simply throwing in the towel because it’s not everything we WANT to be able to do.

Respect your limits. Be real about your resources. Don’t be in denial about what you can and can’t do with your current level of energy, focus, time, and money.

But also don’t be in denial about the fact that rarely is it the case that we can do NOTHING that inches us a little closer toward our goals.

Show your self-esteem that you’re committed to doing what you CAN do.

Show it that you’re willing to take the teeny, tiny step that you CAN take.

Those steps…they add up.

 

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3 thoughts on “You Can’t Do Everything…So Do What You Can.

  1. Brilliant Read. You are a great guy Doc. Thank you so much for taking time out to write your words of wisdom each day. It is indeed appreciated by so many.

    Like

  2. Thank you Dr Doyle. After reading several posts of yours, I have found useful information here that have given me a new, fresh perspective. There are a number of situations where I can put these new insights to good use immediately, and no doubt in future, too.

    Best regards

    Like

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