Do you remember that handheld wooden maze game from your childhood?
The one with the little metal ball that you have to get to the middle of the maze. It’s a silly game, but it makes for a great analogy to you and the day ahead. Between the time you wake up and go to bed in the evening, you are finding your way through a maze. One filled with potential traps, distractions, magic, and promising paths around every corner.
By focusing on just the maze you are in instead of tons of future mazes all at once, you can make meaningful progress toward your dreams & goals.
Traps can be anything from obvious to subtle - you define them based on what you’re trying to accomplish.
For some, a trap could be smoking a cigarette when your goal is to quit. For others, a trap could be scrolling the feeds when your goal is to focus. The point is we all have daily traps that we seek to avoid. Those that when indulged throw us off our A-game and divert us away from the things we truly want. Having this visual image of a trap in a maze can help you gamify your daily pursuits, making it more tangible to work with versus keeping it abstract and less obvious.
Traps come in all shapes and sizes and the more awareness you bring to the moment you’re in, the more clear it’ll be that you’re walking right into a trap.
For example, I’ve spent the last few weeks bringing more awareness to my nutrition.
This means my traps relate to my eating habits. BUT, as long as I make it to the end of the daily maze without falling into the trap of eating out of boredom or having a late-night snack, then I win. Whereas it’s much harder to stay on track if my focus was extending into the weeks, months, or years ahead.
Scaling the focus down to just the day makes the goal more attainable and much less daunting to achieve.
A lot can be accomplished each day simply by doing less bad and stepping around these traps.
Less bad gets you further than more good. Which, in a lot of ways, takes some of the pressure of achievement off. The only thing you have to strive for on a daily basis is avoiding unforced errors - the mistakes that are within your control specifically.
There will, of course, be errors made and traps fallen in, but as long as you’re consciously learning from these you will remember what led up to those moments and seek to move away from the slippery slopes.
Around the next corner, could be luck.
The beautiful thing about each of our days is that they aren’t 100% predictable. Great magic can happen and you may just find yourself in the right place at the right time. There are hidden doors of opportunity that you pass by every day in your life, and on occasion, they are revealed to you.
It’s less about wondering if they are there to begin with and more about paying attention to when they happen. Then you can step through them and embrace the luck you’ve stumbled upon.
Around the next corner, could be useful feedback that helps align you.
Like getting a hint or a piece of a map, you’re provided with an important detail that hones your navigation. These are the signs that let you know you’re on the right track. These could be anything from compliments, boosts of encouragement, or timely pieces of advice.
It’s this feedback loop that keeps you calibrated and prevents you from feeling lost - a bit of reassurance to keep you going.
Around the next corner, could be a synchronicity - a magical ‘coincidence’ you didn’t expect.
These are little winks from God. Things that make you say, “Now, what are the chances of this!?” For example, the other day Amelia was telling me about a book with fairies in it when a few minutes later I’m doing a deep clean on our dishwasher only to find a piece of a jar label that says ‘Fairy Dust’ on it. (It’s what Amelia calls nutritional yeast for the kids) It’s these tiny moments that refresh your sense of wonder for the world. They remind you that there’s a grand story behind the scenes.
I believe it’s possible to train your eye to see these things throughout your days. Yes, you might end up seeing magic & meaning in places where there really isn’t, but hell, I’ll take that any day over seeing doom & gloom.
I choose empowering beliefs exclusively.
Sleep Is Safety (you survived another day, progress was genuinely made)
Sleep is your checkpoint.
It’s where your progress gets saved. It’s the place you get to pick back up from tomorrow. It’s one of the only places you can feel true relief. You’re making it to the end of the day, in one piece, with some successful zigging and zagging behind you.
What’s done is done, genuine progress was made, and you can park your ambition for the night.
These daily maze wins really stack up.
There’s no shame in small steps. Cathedrals get built one brick at a time. The consistency of showing up and going from point A to point B each day builds momentum towards you’re larger goal (whatever that may be).
I’m like you. I want to get a decade’s worth of shit accomplished in a week. But even if that was somehow possible, I’d immediately be burnt out for good. This daily maze approach is sustainable. You are meant for a day’s work. A day is manageable and makes it (sometimes painfully) obvious whether or not you achieved what you set out to that day.
You’re smart though, and with a fully engaged presence, there’s no reason you can’t make it to the other end of that maze each day.
It’s an iterative process.
Every day that passes, you gain new information, and you get better at the maze. And this allows you to make it easier on yourself with a little preparation. I’m not the best about it either, but anytime I take 5-10 minutes to set the stage for the following day it makes a world of difference.
Things like creating a plan for the next day, prepping for my routines ahead of time, and creating reminders where needed.
Of course, don’t take yourself too seriously. As they say, “Man plans and God laughs”.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)