QUIT: Dying on the Treadmill

[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end.  I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is one of the many items that have found themselves on my Quits List.]


Sometimes we need to learn the same lesson over and over and over again.

Like myself, who in spite of numerous posts on the same subject (see here, here, here, and here, to name a few) continually needs to remind myself of one Very Important lesson in particular.  One lesson I finally decided to acknowledge earlier this week.

Hustling, the Wrong Way

Just last Thursday, I made the bold resolution to participate in EbookWriMo.  And by the weekend (Friday night, to be exact), I had already realized it was the wrong decision to make.

Not a bad decision, mind you—there were plenty of good things I could have done with it, and gotten from it—but the wrong decision for me and where I need to be in my life and in my headspace right now.

It’s best illustrated by a Will Smith quote I was planning to write a post on this week, before everything went all upside-down-y in my philosophy:

The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things; you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.  ~Will Smith

The post I was planning on writing on this quote was a “hell yeah!” kind of post.  Will Smith is a hustler extraordinaire, and it’s made him one of the most highly paid, respected, and beloved actors in all of Hollywood.  I was going to extol the all-in dedication of being so doggedly set on your goal that you will give it 110%, 120%, until you are depleted and done—but, far and away, the winner.

But after wrestling with the decision to scrap EbookWriMo, and the reasons behind why that decision was necessary, this quote has a completely different tinge to me now.

I don’t want to die on a treadmill.  I want to be successful, and I’m more than willing to work for that (and then some), but I need to learn to be happy living my life, wherever it is, while I’m doing that.

If that makes me a bad hustler, so be it.  Will Smith can win.  He’s worked hard for it.

 Life—You’re Doing It Wrong

It’s like living in a cute little starter house, and working and toiling to renovate it so that one day you can sell it to move into a bigger, better house.  Maybe the starter house is actually pretty cozy, and maybe you enjoy the process of renovating it, but you never stop to realize that because you’re too busy Moving Forward.

Moving Forward makes you feel like you’re Doing Things.  It makes you feel like you’re Getting Important Work Done.  It makes you feel like someone who’s Making Something of their life.

Then the long-awaited day comes, and you sell your now really cute little starter house at profit and buy what you thought would be the house of your dreams.  But as soon as you get in it, you start seeing ways it could be better.  The hardwood floors could use polishing.  The feng shui in the master bedroom (with ensuite) is off.  The curtains you got for the family room seemed perfect in the catalog, but they’re all wrong now that you’ve put them up.  You could use an extra guest bedroom.  The kitchen could stand to be bigger.

So you keep doing what you do, which is Improving.  Which is Moving Forward.  And you waste even more years of living in a house and participating in a process you could be thoroughly enjoying, if only you weren’t so busy moving, moving, moving towards something in the future.

That is how I’ve been approaching my freelance career—not as a process I should enjoy every step of the way, but as one mad dash towards the end game which requires constant input of energy, and hustle, and extra, extra, extra to get it all off the ground.

Meanwhile, the rest of what this blog was supposed to be about (making my life simpler, happier, and more content) has been completely overlooked.

Well, that all starts changing this week.

My name is Cordelia, and I am a hustleraholic.  But not for long…


[postscript:  The ebook will get written, in its own due time, incorporating all of the excellent suggestions you’ve given me so far.  It just won’t get written in a 30-day frenzy that only feeds my addiction.]


Image: Flickr

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  • I think being compassionate with ourselves is actually a lot harder than hustle. I’m applauding your decision wholeheartedly. 🙂

    • That is such a true statement. Hustle keeps you busy, keeps you distracted. But sometimes you’ve gotta pause and ask what it is you’re hustling FOR, again…

  • you are such a great writer. i completely understand what you mean. i work incredibly hard but i play incredibly hard as well. i’ve walked down the road of “perpetual progress” and was sorely underwhelmed when i got to my destination. i think success is a lifelong process–might as well enjoy every step, twist, and turn 🙂

    • Thanks, Kola. I definitely need to learn to play as hard as I work–even if I have to schedule in time to make sure I do it!

      As John Lennon so wisely wrote, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” That’s the lesson I’m trying to remember now.

  • We are so on the same page. Have a blog post in my queue about this topic 🙂

    • Nice! Can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  • Cat

    Hooray!!!! No point in working for yourself if you’re just gonna make your life more miserable than it was before.

    • EXACTLY! I need to print that sentence out and pin it to my bulletin board!

  • Rob F.

    Good on you, Cordy! It’s tough sometimes to realise when you’re working your dream into a nightmare. Will can keep his treadmill, thank you – if the running isn’t fun, winning the race won’t be either.

    • “If the running isn’t fun, winning the race won’t be either.”

      That also needs to be put on my bulletin board immediately.

      Lordy, you guys are so wise!

      • Rob F.

        Me? Wise? LOL! Trust me, easy to say / write…

        … though, actually, I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of walking the talk lately. Maybe I ought to start my own quits list…

  • NaturallyPureBeauty

    I am so happy to discover your blog! I too am a hustleraholic, have been since I turned 15 and could get a job. Just recently became unemployed (last employer went out of business). So, I am learning to live life the way I want, on my terms for once 🙂 Looking forward to tuning in to more posts! Hope it will help with this soul searching thing.

    • Good for you! It’s a scary/awesome journey, but you are in for one heck of a great ride! Glad to have you along for the trip! 🙂

  • I love that Will Smith quote (and I’m not even a huge Will Smith fan!) I totally agree with this post though, and I need to change my life around a little to apply this principle to my life as well!

    • Yeah, I’m still torn over that quote. I love the dedication behind it, and no one can deny that Will’s hustle has certainly worked for him. I guess I’m just personally too prone to hustling-addiction to allow myself to try to emulate that. I can admire it, but me myself, I need to take things a little easier or I really will die on that treadmill!

      • Rob F.

        I know I’ve already responded, but I keep having this reaction and I thought I’d better get it out of my system.

        See: On one hand, yeah, Will’s hustle might have worked for Will.

        On the other hand… Men in Black 2. And 3.

        • Didn’t say hustle always gets you stellar work…just that it gets you work. 🙂

          • Rob F.

            Well, true. It can be easy to look down your nose at something when you’re not doing it!

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