Rusty People Don’t Know They’re Rusty

After writing two blog posts per week for the better part of the last six months I decided to get serious and begin writing everyday. After writing ten days out of eleven I fell out of my daily writing habit, and went 72 hours without writing.

In the past that’s about how long I’d normally spend between writing each post. Logic would then dictate that I’d have about the same level of writing momentum as someone who writes twice per week.

I believe this is true for most part, but what’s interesting is that my perception of momentum has changed so dramatically. After having the previous ten posts flow fairly easily I found writing yesterday extremely difficult.

After several attempts all I could come up with was a pithy 200 word post. Perhaps you found it concise, and providing some value, but I felt it was one of my weakest posts in a long time.

This situation has gotten me thinking, however. People who are rusty and have lost momentum usually don’t realize it.

When I sat down to write yesterday’s post I didn’t feel like I’d lost any writing momentum. When I stay in for a weekend I don’t feel myself losing social momentum. When I stopped freestyling I didn’t notice myself losing the ability to rhyme.

All of these are examples are why it’s so important to put yourself into situations that will hammer you back to reality.

After you stop running you won’t immediately notice yourself losing cardiovascular capacity, but if you’re on a competitive basketball team complacency won’t be an option.

If you stop training you’ll have trouble keeping up, and your newly acquired spot next to coach on the bench will provide motivation and concrete evidence you’ve allowed yourself to fall off.

The same idea goes for any pursuit. Put yourself into situations that will provide objective evidence if you allow yourself to become rusty.

Want to be better at speaking a foreign language? Arrange a tutoring session with a native that increases the complexity of the conversation each week.

Want to improve your finances? Meet with a business coach twice a month, and have him hold you accountable for concrete actions that must be taken before the next session.

If you could summon superhuman levels of self-discipline that would allow you to avoid complacency and make the objectively correct decision every time that’d be great. However, seeing as most of us lack that ability it’s better to consciously put yourself into situations that provide you with concrete evidence that hammers you back to reality.

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