A few days ago, a friend of mine told me that I’m doing too much. I am working on too many projects, all at once. I am spreading myself too thin.
My answer? “I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”
When it comes to getting more out of life, it all boils down to this one question.
Am I willing to pay the price?
How bad do you want it?
Think about all the times you have accomplished a goal in your life. I bet it was because you wanted it so bad that you did everything you could to get it.
You worked hard, you learned all there was to learn. You visualized the outcome, you got excited about the prospect of you accomplishing your goal.
You didn’t care about the challenges or the setbacks or the fact that you only got five hours of sleep.
In fact, you couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning, so you could work more towards your dream.
Now, I write a lot about self-growth. I write about giving up on the comfort of being who we are for the promise of being who we want to be.
But, you see, growth is tricky. You do not grow because you want to, you grow because you are forced to.
And I believe that growth is often the side-effect of biting off more than you can chew.
By committing to a goal that is more ambitious than what you have achieved before, you force yourself to ask questions, to reach out to others, and connect dots you normally wouldn’t.
Most people, when they want something that is just beyond their grasp, they rush to rationalize it away. “I don’t need it. I don’t truly want it.”
It’s always the guy who never quite earns enough to pay the bills that says money is not that important. Or that it can’t buy happiness. Or that he’s content with how things are right now.
Playing it safe has a certain appeal, I admit. But I also think that wonderful things happen when we decide to risk it all when presented with the opportunity to grow.
But most people shy away from this sort of thing because fear and excitement are eerily similar. The body even reacts the same way: your pupils get dilated, you get an instant boost of energy from all the adrenaline rushing through your body.
But fear compels you to either stop or run away, while excitement inspires you.
It’s a sink or swim kind of situation.
Most people aren’t aware of this.
Whenever you fall back, whenever you decide that a goal is not worth pursuing, you are sinking. You are actively deciding not to pursue that which makes you most alive.
Taking an over-sized bite of life will propel you forward. Desperation will act as a surrogate for inspiration when you are running out of time, or money, or energy.
Doing more than you can possibly do ensures there’s no room in your mind for doubt, overthinking, or fear.
Because we can often feel overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks that need to be completed, the trick is to focus on the next task at hand. And then the next one. And so on.
You don’t write a novel by planning all its sequels, you write it by punching those damn keys into existence one by one.
That’s why I always advise people to just do. Because it often feels impossible until you do it. It feels like an uphill battle because you have decided to sit on the sidelines, contemplating an imaginary timeline.
We don’t know how much we can do in any given day unless we try to do more than we can.
Think of it this way: if you accomplish everything you set your mind to, then how can you be sure than you couldn’t have done more?
But if you try to do more than you can do, you have reached the maximum.
Quentin Tarantino, the famed movie director, once shared a metaphor about sprinting. If you run with people that are faster than you, yes, you will come out last, but your time will be a lot better than if you were to run against slower opponents.
Only by biting off more than you can chew can you truly unlock new levels of potential. You are forced to do more, to become more.
One of the paradoxes of life is that people don’t fail because of setbacks or obstacles. They fail because they succeed at small tasks. They fail because their wins are irrelevant.
They don’t fail because they miss their target, they fail because they aim too low and hit, and then they decide it’s time to chill.
So, go ahead! Try to bite off more than you can chew. See what happens!