You Don’t Have to do Anything

I get it. You want things to be epic.

Me too.

But with that we tend to fuck things up. In our pursuit of epic, we put all this gigantic, crushing pressure on ourselves to be the most-amazing-human-to-ever-exist-ever, and then our inner 15 year old is all like “no, I don’t have to!”

And if you’re anything like me, that inner-rebel has been giving a lot of power. He’s single-handedly responsible for you seeing the truth about how bullshit capitalism, organized religion and lots of other societal nonsense is. Maybe your inner rebel is what led you to have the courage to ditch the template and pursue a life of entrepreneurship too.

Clearly, he is very important and if you’re like me you proudly self-identify as a rebel, nonconforming type person.

The problem is rebelling against ourselves.

What do we do when we rebel against ourselves?

Easy shit. Shit that we’re not sure makes us feel fulfilled at all. Like mindlessly flipping through Instagram or getting sucked into the time toilet of Youtube.

Sometimes we might even fool ourselves into calling these things “research” (in which every scientist in the world vomits just a little bit).

Here’s the problem: working for yourself is not the easiest thing to do. External consequences, like getting fired or shamed by your boss turn out to be pretty useful incentives to focus and get things done. But when there’s no one to answer to but yourself, everything seems easier and more enjoyable than the Insanely Epic Project you’ve dreamed up.

Whether you’re working for yourself right now, or are on the path to reclaiming your freedom, you have to find a way to overcome the resistance. Or, you’ll just end up in a van down by the river (which, come to think of it, doesn’t sound all that bad).

Other than artificially engineering shame into my work by publicly committing to doing something, I find it useful to remind myself that:

a) my work doesn’t always have to be so god damned epic

and most importantly…

b) I don’t have to do anything

Yes, there are always consequences for everything. But in reality, I don’t ever have to do anything. I don’t have to have a job, I don’t have to pay rent, I don’t have to write blog posts every single week.

I don’t have to do a giant, epic, megalaunch. I don’t have to do any of that shit.

And because I’m the ruler of my own business, I get to decide the rules.

Oh really? I don’t have to follow the typical online business, blogging game template?

You mean, I can make things up?

Sure, to an extent. I mean, you have to create a game that others are willing to play with you. Otherwise you have a hobby, not a business.

But still, the “rules” are much more malleable than you might think.

The key is to question your assumptions.

If you think it has to be a certain way, see if that’s really true. Hell, you might be more successful than you could ever imagine by doing things your way. In fact, maybe that’s the secret, magnetic ingredient you’ve been missing in your business building efforts.

You’ll never know until you try.

So, question your assumptions. What’s the worst that could happen?

Calm down your inner rebel by reminding yourself that you don’t ever have to do anything.

Ahhhh, feels better already doesn’t it?

Now, get to work, slacker. ;)

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Nick October 20, 2015 at 10:52 am

Hi Jonathan,

I really love this article. I can relate in so many ways. What advice would you give someone that’s struggling a bit with direction and feels like they on a plateau? Thats how I feel right now.

Nick

Reply

Jonathan October 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

Spend a lot of time walking and journaling. Go through some exercises like the ones I lay out in the Backpack (free) or Trailblazer.

Nick October 20, 2015 at 11:45 am

Thanks for the reply. Just started walking and running today :) I went through those exercises a while back. Will revisit them :)

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Ethan Bridges October 21, 2015 at 4:57 am

Hello Jonathan,

Loved this article, too! Title seems counterintuitive at first, though :)

To me, it’s picking what really works for us, amongst all these (so many) things we have to do … And most probably what works should speak about our true calling–for the “Insanely Epic Project” to work :)

Thanks!

Reply

Erika October 22, 2015 at 6:25 am

Boy was this timely! I have an art show opening at a gallery next week and have hit panic mode about getting everything done. This gave me permission to take a breath and realize it will be good, I will get it done, and enjoy it.

Reply

Johanna October 22, 2015 at 7:58 am

Hey Jonathan,

I love this article and am thankful it just reached me right now – I can totally relate!

Thanks for all your content, it’s super helpful most of the time :)

Take care,
Johanna

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Bharat Jhala October 25, 2015 at 9:05 am

Very helpful article indeed! One must stop, breath and take time out to just be with one’s own company. Clarity of thoughts is the key.

Loved your post :)

Reply

Jess November 17, 2015 at 5:50 pm

This post really resonated with me. I couldn’t agree more! Read all the advice and rules, but then make it your own and create your own path. Your writing reminded me of Steven Pressfield on “resistance” (from his book, “Do the Work”. Our own inner rebellion/resistance is the biggest barrier to getting things done. Thanks for sharing!

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