Though I try to avoid it, sometimes social media puts me in a mood, an Arthur clenched fist type of mood.
I scrolled upon an Instagram story of a fitness influencer last week. She snapped a pouty face selfie of herself hopelessly staring out the window to a rainy day. A little too dramatic, like the post-breakup scene from any teenage drama movie.
The caption read:
I can’t go for a run today because of the weather.
And I can’t work out in my apartment because I don’t want to disturb my downstairs neighbor.
My day is ruined.
It upset me because this influencer meant to inspire her followers. Instead, she spent the day coming up with excuses not to be inspirational and went to her followers for validation — which I assume she got just not from me.
I understand the impulse to share these feelings. At least once a day, a WWE wrestling match rumbles in my head over a task I don’t want to do. It’s always the same tasks: working out, writing, and cooking.
When faced with these tasks, my mind immediately reaches for excuses. “I worked out yesterday, so I can take a break today; I have a backlog of articles, so I can take a break from writing and watch Netflix; I hate washing dishes, why don’t I just pull up Uber Eats.”
I know it’s a strange take, but I believe excuses are born from ego. Some feel entitled to the outcome and can therefore skip the necessary steps required to reach a goal. Dilettantes so focused on the reward that they become easily discouraged when things don’t go as planned. People who aren’t present and never learn.
“Set they heart upon thy work, but not on its reward. Work not for the reward, but never cease to do thy work.”
-The Bhagavad Gita
Or the same quote translated by NBA superstar Joel Embiid.
“Trust the process.”
— Joel Embiid
I like working out, writing, and cooking. They’re flow activities, and I welcome the energizing high I get from learning. When I don’t want to do these things because, let’s face it, they’re hard, I think of jumping into a cold pool. There will be initial discomfort, but that quickly dissipates, and enjoyment always follows.
When real obstacles obstruct our tasks, as in the case of our rainy day influencer friend, stillness is required. I don’t mean to sound like Yoda, but those are the moments when we have to step back, slow down, and think. Remove our emotions, relax, and search for solutions.
For example, if the influencer had been more present, perhaps her caption would read:
Couldn’t go for a run today because of the weather.
No problem! I texted my downstairs neighbor to let him know I would be working out in my apartment for an hour or so.
I had a great online class and a better workout than a run.
It was a great day!