My favorite question when I catch up with my friends is,
What’s The Project that you’re pursuing now?
My friends would shrug having to talk about work again, for the n-th time of the day and began listing their projects at their workplace. Being in a community of Project Management (after all, I’m a Project Engineer), that are not entirely an alien question.
Except I don’t mean that project. What I meant, was the personal project, the one activity that keep myself lit up with passion and excitement, and really wanting it to come alive. It had the elements of pushing myself beyond my capability or established routines. It in someway address my creation-consumption gap and I will look forward for doing it.
The key, however is in the word project; it will have a definite start and end period, with a specified target performance level (which normally so low I wouldn’t be intimidated to start). As a peacock, I would never be able to stay vested to any endeavor for a long time (say 6 months). We peacocks would have trouble to oversee projects until completion. Hence to overcome that, for every projects that I would do, I am at peace at completing 60% of it objectively.
I believe, after all these years, having The Projects are the only thing which keeps me sane. I needed to have a passion project after project continuously, tapping on my hunger for pushing myself forward. Let’s explore some of the context surrounding this very idea.
The Critics Says
A lot of us who against the idea of The Projects understand that we need to let go – more. It is a sound idea, sitting, meditating, breathing and just enjoy living. Hence, it contradicts with the obsession of needing to have The Projects, over and over. Chill is the mantra.
It surely has it merit from zen point of view, just that it did not work for me entirely.
My friends would complaint that I would be too structured having to list down my plans, even the supposed simple day structures; like what are the optimum time of me getting up early, what would my golden hour consist of, etc.
However, the fact is you can’t completely let go of objectives, or as a friend recently told me,
I can meditate or being in zen for 10 minutes, after that give me my goals and objectives [The Projects] or else I’ll wither and die”.
Another big argument is, it’s a never ending process which may eventually wear you down. Leo Babauta argues in this way on his interview with Tim Ferriss.
Let’s say you are aiming for a great body, and then what’s next? Having a great wife, and what’s next? The entire loop continues into rabbit hole while not necessarily making you happy.
It’s a valid observation, where people can often be fixated on the results and having little space for celebration, appreciation and rushing through the process. In the end, you had a long list of objectives you never knew why you need to do it.
But it is your desire and why not make it a reality? Without realizing, you are in a train of continuous goals slashing mode which took the entire energy you had one after another. It breeds greed, not able to be content of life precious gifts, and continually in a state of desperation – wanting more and more.
I personally felt this in 2012. After months of dedication and fixated to slash my Competency Assessment goal, I managed to closed all of the gaps – literally being the first ones able to do that despite not having the experience necessary for managing green-field projects.
The post winning feeling however, is subdued and it is not what I imagined at all. After that, it pretty much going downhill as I lose my purpose that had defined me for months.
At these times, normally I would be prone to temper and easily stressed. In a hindsight, I should be doing better with understanding the process as a necessary learning experience and to be able to celebrate more after obtaining such a feat after months of dedications.
Perhaps more importantly, in the end, I realized it is not a matter of outward result (such as money, fame and material) that I should focus on, but the inward feeling (values) of the fact that I managed to do it.
The Pros Says
Well obviously you would know that I am more tilted towards thinking in this mindset. Having The Projects intact and indeed pre-planned are giving me sense of direction. In fact most of my greatest crises are whenever I’m not in The Projects mode.
It also channel the positive energy that I had towards a vision that I can grasp. So where’s enjoying the process, more celebration and appreciative as above points, Bro? You would ask. As many things in life, moderation and balance are the answer. I would still need more of those in every tiny moments, but I have come to terms that my better mode are when I’m in pursuit. Reflecting the 2012 crises, I would be better off basking in the glory with an understanding of what’s the next project would be.
The project should be epic, and if you’re scratching your head on what would be the possible projects, have a look at mine (both completed and on-going) for some starter points.
10 Samples of Great ‘The Projects’
- Stop Smoking
- Running for Half Marathon
- The 5AM Club
- Devine Space Project
- Learning French in Duolingo
- Closing ACD Gaps (technical competency assessment)
- Street workout?
Let’s recap. What is The Project?
- You heart knows that it is epic.
- Definite time start and end.
- Defined Target Performance Level.
- Can be to establish new habits.
Tell me what do you think are great The Projects.Agree?