Six years ago, I was a little shit. I know I’m still impetuous and entitled now, but you should’ve seen me when I was 22. I was no-fucks-given personified.
My photography business was doing well. I was already shooting for thousands on good days, hundreds on bad days, and I was working part-time on film sets. I knew I had a solid skill set, and I never saw myself settling down for a Normal Job. My rule back then was “I don’t get out of bed for less than $200”. That’s not my motto anymore, but it summed up how I felt at the time. I thought I was too good for regular employment, whatever that was. I was THAT millennial.
Things changed in 2010. I realized my income, as decent as it was, couldn’t keep up with my uncontrollable spending. NBC had just let me go after the Olympics wrapped up, and I found myself without a day job and paying real bills for the first time. I applied at a liquor store because I liked fancy wine, and they hired me. Suddenly, the entitled millennial found himself working for $10/hour when he was used to billing $2,000/day, and to top it all off, it was Real Work. Mopping, taking out the garbage, cleaning windows, stocking shelves, unloading orders… all that shit. I hated it.
Mopping 8,600 square feet every day was what I hated most. I couldn’t see the point in it. Why not mop every SECOND day? Maybe every third day? No one’s actively shitting on the floor, so why did it need to be pristine? I still did it though. Not with enthusiasm, mind you, but I did it. I’m glad I did too. In retrospect, it wasn’t a big deal at all, but it’s paid off in unexpected ways.
After I retired for two years, I wanted to get back into casual liquor store shifts. I missed talking about wine, and I also needed to actually go outside once in a while. I remembered the mopping, and dreaded it. So goddamn stupid, right? I hated mopping. Then, the big day arrived: I had to fucking mop.
I dragged my sorry ass to the back and got the bucket. I poured in the Mr. Clean and whispered obscenities as I did it. I wheeled everything out to the front, and slapped the mop down. I was gonna get this motherfucker clean, but I wasn’t gonna like it. It’d take forever, I thought.
I was done in 15 minutes.
I’m telling you this story not because I became some sort of Mop Wizard™, but because I truly believe attitude is everything. Simply acclimating yourself to an unpleasant situation somehow makes future unpleasant situations less shitty. My current store is about 3,500 square feet, HALF the area as my old store, and mopping it is a breeze! For one, I’m used to mopping now, and two, it’s 50% less work! Because I was used to how bad something COULD be, an average unpleasant task was now nothing! Experience at something makes future situations easier!
This applies to basically everything. Hate cleaning your apartment? Do it all the fucking time, and cleaning the house you buy 15 years from now will be easier because of it. Hate budgeting? The more you do it, the more likely it is you stop overspending because you’re so aware of it, you don’t want to put in the extra work to add it all up. Pretty much always, the stuff you HATE doing is stuff that NEEDS to be done. This goes back to personal development too. Just the fact you’re doing SOMETHING often means you’re making progress, and progress is happiness!
Whatever you hate doing is what you need to make the most progress on. Willingly allow yourself some difficulty in life. The more difficulty you let in now, the easier the rest of your life becomes. For all you nerds out there, think of life as an RPG. Experience is key.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got 3,500 square feet to mop. See you all in 15 minutes.