Why don’t we do what we know we should?

Take your own advice for a change


Written by jack friks

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2023

I know I should just sit down and write this article, but only 10 seconds after writing the title I found myself reaching for my phone. My phone that is on Do Not Disturb, hasn’t made a peep but is conveniently always in arms reach.

Why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we know what we need to do but do the opposite?

Today, I have written out some ideas that may help us be a better hall monitor for our own vices; In order to follow the advice we would give to ourselves if in the position to.

Let me first grab my phone and move it out of arm's reach so I can write this for the hour timer I have set…  s**t my necklace just broke as I stretched to put my phone on the other side of the room, this would be a great excuse for a 5 minute grace period wouldn’t it be?

Let me consult with 60-year-old me real quick…

Turns out, I can just put my necklace down and fix it after I write this. 60-year-old me reminded me that necklaces can grow legs, after all, so I guess I’ll continue writing now.

I wish I could tell you I made all of the above up for some elaborate creative example, but as it so happens, I don’t think I could have made that up; all of the above was entirely true.

. . .

My book “You were built to create cool s**t” is coming out December 12th 2023! If you’re interested you can preorder it by clicking here. (paperback and hardcover pending review if not already available)

. . .

Wait, did I just crack the code?

Today, on November 13th, 2023: I finally took some advice from myself that I would usually disregard. Usually, I would have this thing happen and my attention would be shot for 30 minutes to an hour. It would be gone and staring into space (or my phone). At the same time: there also lies this alternate reality, the one I’m writing to you in now.

What else could change if we only persistently listened to the great advice we have to give ourselves? Why don’t we just do this all of the time? 

Well turns out, it’s quite hard. The reasons why it’s hard may be guessed at, you may have some estimates, and you may be even able to formulate for yourself some good advice on taking your own good advice. Would you follow it? Another mystery. One we can only solve with time and effort.

A lot of us do actually know what we need to do to get to where we want to go but we seldom do it. It’s possible we don’t actually want it that bad, more probable however is that we feel hopeless a lot of the time. We have a lack of esteem for our own abilities. So we dwindle and we tumble our thumbs together thinking about how hard it’s going to be to take our own great advice. We focus on exactly the things we want to avoid, and we do ourselves into our own perils.

What’s missing?

I honestly wish I had solved this dilemma myself already, but I just haven’t yet. I have figured out some small bits and pieces of it: journaling helps a lot for accountability, and that’s really what this is all about. Accountability with your own advice.

The missing parts are kind of obvious to me, yet I still haven’t been able to follow my own best advice for the last few weeks: at least not on all occasions. 

Here’s what I think I’m missing (that I need more of) at the moment to be better at taking my own advice:

  • Sleep as a priority (Focus on bedtime > wake-up time)

  • Limberness in the body, less aches (Stretch, in any capacity)

  • Holistic thinking, emotion control, focus (Think on a longer time frame)

As I write this I’m thinking about all of the things I can do and of course, it’s overwhelming. Because I can’t do it all, so I’m going to leave it at this for now. I think this is what the wiser version of myself would do.

I’m all the while worrying about the work I will have to do before this work is over, but then now if I think about the advice I would give myself: “Eat some food (the banana beside you perhaps), get those next three things on your list complete and then get a proper meal and go for a walk. One thing at a time. Focus completely on one thing at a time. Doing otherwise does you no good, it only furthers the mental strain and ruins your ability to get what you need to do done

Accountability feels hard

A lot of the advice I give myself isn’t really all that hard, but in the moments when I go to take action on my own plans: to hold myself accountable, there is a resistance, a shiny object, an easy way out…

I’ve come to realize (through listening to a podcast), that these moments make a huge difference – scratch that… they mean everything.

They mean everything because this is the breaking point between winning and losing. If you find yourself in a place where you know most people would quit and you keep going you will find yourself winning a lot more often. Someone who can genuinely hold themselves accountable to do the things they know need to be done to get to where they want to go will get to where they want to go.

Yes, it’s simple. No, it’s not easy. Seemingly, all the most worthwhile things in life are beyond the same barrier of entry. The barrier of swimming past where most would stop: where most would let themselves drown.

Just keep swimming

— your friend, jack ♠️

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My friend! (you) I want to thank you, for taking the time to read my writing. If you found this writing useful you may also very much enjoy my blog, my main hub, or my twitter where I post small blurbs and bits on all things creation and curiosity.

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