#1629 Areté +1° #78: The Dreaded “U”

& How to Conquer It

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter from Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

7 Objectives, 451 of the best ideas I know.

Here's one of them.


Imagine yourself at the start of a Heroic quest.

You’re looking out across a canyon. You can see a shimmering oasis on the other side. It’s epic. Super bright and shiny and awesome. And it’s yours.

You know it. You can feel it.

Then you get to work.

You descend into the depths of the canyon to get to the other side. It’s dark in here. The trees are thick. So thick that you’ve got to cut your way through them.

You look up. You can’t quite see that epic vision anymore. Eek.

Enter: That whiny little voice in your head that wonders what the heck you’re doing and questions why you’re down here in the mosquito-infested forest in the first place.

Todd Henry calls this part of the journey “The Lag” in his great book Die Empty.

Here’s how he puts it: “The lag is the gap between cause and effect. It’s the season between planting a seed and reaping a harvest. It’s the time when all the work you’ve done seems to have returned little to no visible reward, and there is little on the horizon to indicate that things are going to get better.”

Ever been there?

Me, too. (Of course we have!)

What to do there?

Well, here’s Todd again: “When you are in the lag, the only thing that keeps you moving forward are (a) confidence in your vision and ability to bring it to fruition, (b) a willingness to say no to other things that tempt you to divert from your course, and (c) daily, diligent, urgent progress.”

Our +1°…

How’s YOUR lag?

First, celebrate the fact that you HAVE a lag.

(And, if you don’t ever experience a lag, try a little harder. Stretch yourself a little more. Feel the burn, baby!)

Second, how are your ABCs of dealing with the lag?

What can you do to boost your confidence, increase your focus, and make “daily, diligent, urgent progress”?

Fantastic. Get on that.

See you on the other side!

P.S. Todd is the one who also defined “mediocrity” for us. As you may recall, the word mediocrity comes from the Latin medius + ocris which literally means to be “stuck in the middle of a rugged mountain.”

As we discussed, mediocrity has a bunch of synonyms (average, middling, unexceptional, unexciting, lackluster, forgettable, amateurish, etc.) but it has only one antonym: EXCELLENCE.

So… If you want to make it to the summit and avoid getting stuck in the lag of mediocrity, you need to practice EXCELLENCE. Again and again and again. ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it.

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