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We Are Going to Fail...

Oliver Burkeman talks about "cyclical failing": he acknowledges we cannot do everything we want to do. We cannot do everything that other people think we should do either. There is only so much mental space and time to do things.


An example of this might be acknowledging that if we have a young family we cannot be a great parent as well as putting signifcant time into career advancement. Trying to do both is likely to lead us in the direction of burnout and potential failure at everything. And this is before we consider hobbies (that seem inevitably to become side hussles) or learning new skills. We simply cannot do all the things we would like to.


Burkeman talks about choosing to fail. I will accept that I will not be able to do this or that I will not be very good at this for the timebeing. This acceptance of the limitations of the time we have and the opportunities we can fit within that time is really valuable. It allows us to focus more clearly on what might really matters to us.


In choosing what we will accept a lower level of accomplishment at we are also selecting the things that are really important - those things that are non-negotiable. We then give energy to these more important things in our lives and are therefore more likely to feel fulfilled in them - because we do them better and give them more attention.


We will fail at things - isn't it better to choose what those might be rather than leave them to fate and risk it being something that really matters?

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