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Embracing Self-Critique, Obsession, and The Pursuit of Excellence

Mitchell Wilson


Mitchell Wilson


Aug 31, 2023

Embracing Self-Critique, Obsession, and The Pursuit of Excellence

I’m drowning.

Drowning in doubt, distraction, and days running together. Feeling knocked down, out of sync, and unaccepting of the plateau. I’m in need of a solid reset & recharge. It’s time to go back to the drawing board - not to draw anything new, but to draw in higher definition.

Luckily, I’ve written out many of the ideas, tools, and frameworks I’m using to get out of this funk.

Either through a breakdown or breakthrough, I’ll get there soon.

Leveraging Self-Evaluation

Honest Assessment

I love me too much to ever lie to myself.

A lie would only delay the inevitable sting. A lie wouldn’t make things better, truth is the uncomfortable answer. It’s only by being radically honest with where I’m at that I can gain the perspective needed to overcome the top issues.

It’s not fun whatsoever, but I’d much rather give myself a reality check than let the world tell me what I’m doing wrong.

Continuous Learning

Do you ever go back to your old journals and see what former you set as goals to strive for?

It’s quite entertaining and cute. Granted, you didn’t know exactly how things would play out. Some goals were achieved, some weren’t worth pursuing at all, and some you didn’t make a lick of progress on. And, truth be told, you’ll look back at your current goals with the same sense of superiority. While you can’t get your aims 100% right, you can take a bit more time to think it through.

Even if you’re only refining your skills and approach by 1%, it’ll add up in the long term.

Balancing Self-Compassion

The paradox of extremely high expectations in contrast with immense self-compassion gets me twisted up like a pretzel.

On one hand, I expect greatness. On the other, I know deep down that I’m enough as-is without having to prove anything. It’s the hardest thing to balance for me. How can both things be true and I still function? The only relative answer I’ve come close to is to continue aiming high toward the heavens. Knowing that I’ll make mistakes, but also remembering to infuse my self-judgment with love & understanding.

It’s figuring out how to positively incorporate frustration and disappointment. To channel them as growth gas for the fire in my heart.

The Quest For Obsession

Exploring Diverse Interests

My curiosity drives me to explore and experiment.

I seek out exposure to new perspectives, new experiences, and new ways of living. All the while scanning what checks the boxes of flow and fulfillment. Most things don’t. And even the few things that do, it’s short-lived. I get bored of them quickly. But in the rare sustaining rush, I find a gem. Something to hold onto. Something that grabs my curious mind and doesn’t let go.

I’ll admit, it’s tricky. There are only so many gems of this sort that I can attend to.

I crave the obsession. To go all in on one thing, but the novelty-seeking throws too many ‘one things’ on my plate. Making it difficult to choose.

It’s a constant process of trimming the fat - except you’re having to toss gold to the side too.

Alignment On Values

I’m not always keen on it, but reflecting on my core values and long-term aspirations tends to work.

For example, this writing craft I do. I know for a fact that as long as I don’t stop doing it, it’s going to lead to increasingly amazing things & opportunities. It’s just more slow-going in the beginning than later on.

You’d think that with how much I bring up compounding I’d have an easier time sticking with it. But I don’t. I’m endlessly pulled away from it towards those short-term gratifications on the road. It’s only when I carve out time to reflect and get my thinking back straight that I see the flaws of distraction.

There’s no shame in recommitting. It’s a part of it.

Nurturing Through Perseverance

Anytime I catch myself veering off into shiny pursuits (away from the established plan), I’m finding it easier to ‘smack my hand’ and say to myself “No, no, no - Pay Attention”.

Back to the craft. Back to practicing. Back to mastering. Back to building up. Back to your commitment. Back to the thing you’re not as good as you could be at. Back to focusing. Back to being deliberate with your actions and behaviors. Back to what you said you were going to do. Recognizing within myself that this - this exact situation is where most people fall off. This exact spot where others may permanently veer. This exact point is where your core values truly get tested. Show up. Show up for your past self who set those goals and cast those ambitious aims. Listen to him. Honor him. Remember him. Do not let Time dust over your footsteps and have you forgetting who you are.

True obsession does not apply to many things at once, but one thing many times over.

Falling Short & Coping With It

Failure Is A Stepping Stone

I know it’s cliche as hell, but failures are opportunities.

Not only is it possible to bounce back from a setback, but you can bounce past where you previously were because you failed beforehand. In many ways, failure is a requirement to get where you’re going.

Without it, you’d miss out on valuable information, lessons, and clarity.

The things you learn from failure would be near-impossible to get any other way. Yes, oftentimes you can learn from other people that have been through it before. But there’s not always a direct correlated experience to study up on.

You have to find some things out for yourself.

Necessary Adjustments

Failure helps you redefine success.

Some of what you think you want, you actually don’t once you get up closer to it. You might fail to make it happen, but you get in proximity enough to know it’s not for you. And there’s no reason to think this is a waste of time & energy spent. It’s information gathering. It’s the seeking of wisdom. It’s learning.

And you take that learning and you either double down on what you planned to do or you make the necessary adjustments based on what you now know.

The Process Of Fulfillment

The best shift to make is from outcome thinking to a process mindset.

When you’re process-focused, you’re better able to be thankful for the opportunities & growth along the way (despite what the outcome may be). With this approach, there’s a good chance you’ll have unexpected milestones and mini-victories to celebrate and be proud of. And even if these weren’t what you had in mind at the outset, they are still markers of progress.

Signs that you are moving in the right direction.

That’s all we can really ask for.

Build top-tier mental wealth

Let's keep your soul off airplane mode.

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