You’ve probably been let down far too many times to count. You’ve probably bet on something turning out exactly the way you envisioned it, but it never did. And you’ve probably looked up to people who are “successful” and tried to copy their habits in hopes of being like them while overdosing on positive affirmations because you’ve heard that if you’re too negative, you’re inevitably setting yourself up for failure and dooming yourself to a mediocre life.
But guess what? You’re still not where you want to be. No, not even close.
You’re chasing dreams, but you’re still in a reality that you can’t change. You’re fighting back against the fears that keep you controlled, but you’re still losing. You’re running towards something, but it keeps growing further away from you.
It’s easy to blame everything on bad habits, distractions, and those annoying emergencies that get in the way. It’s easy to blame society for its unrealistic expectations, but the truth is, it’s impossible to become a carbon copy of someone you admire the most, no matter how much you want to be like them and have their success story be yours.
Everyone wants something. But not everyone can get what they want. And not all wants are for everyone.
You can be the most disciplined, hardworking, and authentic person in the world, but you can still fail to get what you want. You can follow all of the rules of the great philosophers and lifestyle gurus in the world and not even reach their level of success, wisdom, or productivity.
You can’t count on good habits and your ability to remain consistent for every single day of the year. You’re human, not a high-powered productivity machine that operates all day and night. You give into temptations, you become fatigued, you burn out, your greatest efforts don’t get you anywhere, and sometimes, you even feel like dying. Life gets in the way and you may disappear for days because you’re too sick, sad, or traumatized to function at your peak. You can’t expect your self-sabotaging ways to disappear just by waking up at 5 AM, drinking green juice, meditating like a Tibetan monk, generating a six-figure side hustle, and bullet journaling your entire life down to the last dot.
You look at someone’s life and believe that if yours is somewhat similar to that, you can finally call yourself “successful.”
There are many nuances to life that can never be broken down into something you understand. There are so many uncertainties that you cannot possibly predict because as much as you think you know the future based on several people’s life trajectories and success formulas, you can’t fully know your own. There are too many variables that come into play, and you can’t count on anything.
You can’t count on yourself. Not even your future self.
You see, you might have this idea in your head about how your future self will turn out. But the problem is, it’s not your actual future self. It’s only an idea of who you’d like to be based on a combination of what other people are and what you hope you’d become.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with identifying who you’d like to be and what kinds of qualities you’d like to hone in on, but you really have no final say in how your future self will turn out.
Your future self is only an idea formed by a mind that’s not always consistent and sometimes too attached to the expectation of who you’d like to be. Your future self is an ideal version of yourself with traits from other people. Your future self is most likely a superhuman that cannot possibly exist because you’re more ordinary and fallible than you realize. If you aren’t a rare talent now, you probably are highly unlikely to become that in the future. And that’s okay.
It’s okay if you’re not always happy with yourself, but it’s not okay to put all of your hopes into the future if you are deliberately half-assing the present. It’s okay if you want your future self to be better than who you are now, but it’s not okay to count on your future self to turn out exactly like a combination of several highly successful people.
Life is full of uncertainty, and attachment to the grand idea of your future self is causing you to avoid your life. It’s holding you too high above the ground, keeping you temporarily safe from falling down. Safe in your dreamy bubble as a character you want to be, yet frozen in mid-air.
But to begin anything (even when you can’t predict the end in sight), you’re going to have to hit the ground. Walk, run, but never stop.
Originally published at christinefchen.com.