In a world of increasing complexity, checklists are profoundly useful.
They can be used for greater efficiency, consistency and safety.
But more so in the micro than in the macro.
Because when it comes to our hopes and dreams, checklists stop giving us motivation and start keeping us lonely. It becomes a conspiracy against our own growth.
Like when we get obsessed about finding the perfect job or the perfect partner that will fulfill all our fantasies and solve all our problems with one stroke.
We’re waiting around, checklist in hand, for that angelic choir to come down from heaven to tell us that our desires have come true.
But the trap of this all or nothing approach to satisfaction is, it gives us permission to do absolutely nothing. Idealizing alternatives keeps us stuck where we are. It enables us to toy with the idea of some alternative future, but without ever taking the simple first step towards actual change.
Like we’re challenging the universe, okay, give me everything now, or leave me alone.
No wonder people drink. In our modern quest for the perfect whatever, we get burned with disappointment as the fantasy of the ideal crumbles into our flawed reality.
Reminds me of some mantras that would have been helpful to hear in my twenties and thirties:
Instead of waiting around for anything or anyone in order to live and love without holding back, open your heart to right now.
Instead of idealizing and pursuing this coveted dream that’s going to set you free, get in touch with the joy of right now.
Instead of assigning magical qualities to everyone and everything and then blaming them for falling short of your fantasies and expectations, trust the value of right now.
Because you never know. Something or someone that only crosses off half of the items on your precious little checklist might be exactly what you didn’t realize you were looking for.
Remember, there is a stark difference between the idealized world that we imagine in the abstract, and reality.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What checklist have you deemed your life necessary to follow?