On change, setbacks, and progress
On change Realize that nothing changes in regards to your general state as short term occurrences come to pass. The economy goes up, the economy goes down. Your reason, and your life, remain steady. Sales are good, sales are bad. Your mind remains steadfast in its self-belief. You are respected, you are vilified. Nothing changes, so long as you continue to do what you know to be righteous and good work. Keep your eyes not on the results, but on the labor itself. Fruits are of little importance, because they don’t come without good labor in the first place.
On setbacks You have experienced a couple of objectively “bad” experiences in the last 24 hours. Each of them could be construed as being part of a much more grands scheme of a “bad day”, but I’m afraid that idea doesn’t exist. Each event is simply one hand in the continuous cash game of life. With each hand you lose, you must again resist change to your reason and ability to play well. You must show up for the next hand, because the next hand is the only one that matters. Understand that some hands—no, all hands—are not yours to win. They are only yours to play. You might play well and still lose. You might play horribly and still lose. Either way, your job is simply to focus on how you play, rather than allow setbacks put you on tilt and cause more setbacks.
On frustration Ask yourself constantly, “What’s your remedy?” in regards to emotional responses to a situation. What do you think will improve by taking this or that action? Will going on tilt make you win more hands? Will anger make you more effective? Will sadness make you more focused? No. None of these things will help, at least not in excess. Mitigate them and remain in constant control of them.
On progress As you set out tasks for yourself each day, what are you aiming for? What progress do you wish to make? Why? It seems as though you are completely overlooking these questions and almost arbitrarily putting yourself to work.You should not hesitate to sit down and spend time articulating your goals, both in the short term and the long term. Figure out where you’re going. Some projects might get cancelled because of this—good. As in that 1997 internal talk that Jobs gave to Apple, there were people jumping with excitement when their projects got cancelled because the entire product roadmap at Apple finally started to make sense. They don’t want to be simply put to work, they want to be put to purpose. And so do you. Do yourself a favor, and put yourself to purpose by first identifying what that is.