Adam Grant says "when we struggle against constraints, we fail to recognize the value of those constraints."
In our case, this tends to look like setting boundaries with friends and family or even yourself. Then struggling when it comes time to uphold them. This feels limiting and it is human to feel closed in. It's natural to begin to rebel against the constraints.
But what is the upside of those constraints? Each time you make a choice within those boundaries you take a small step towards your intended identity. You begin to win more often than you lose, and you start making progress.
The trick is to innovate within these constraints so they feel like a life you want to live. The alternative is a life you have to suffer through, to get to your goals. Refer to our Anti-Fragile articles on nutrition, sleep, and workouts for examples of what this innovation looks like.
These constraints become part of your identity, I work out, I think about what I eat, sometimes I eat cake, I can have fun with my friends and still go to bed on time, I enjoy this life.
Here's a personal example that some of you may know. I love to bake. It makes me super happy to put a ton of thought and effort into making something beautiful and delicious.
You know what I like the most about the process? Eating it, enjoying whatever I put that work into. I love to enjoy it for everything it is supposed to be. It is part of who I am. I don't do it all the time but it's part of what makes me, me.
You can be a healthy person, who works out regularly, watches what you eat most of the time and still enjoys pizza from time to time. It is part of the constraints that frame your healthy lifestyle.
So, going forward, do we build constraints that you can't help but struggle against? Or, do we build constraints that encompass everything of value to you and that you don't need to rebel against?
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