Life Is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans

Want more actionable ideas every week?

Join millions of readers and subscribe to Your Next Breakthrough newsletter below.

    162 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Two things for you to think about

    “Learning more” is the most seductive form of procrastination. “Planning more” is the second most.

    Procrastination is merely the avoidance of unpleasant emotions. Get comfortable with unpleasant emotions and the issue of procrastination takes care of itself.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Two things for you to ask yourself

    What have you been avoiding through over-planning or telling yourself that you’re not ready yet? What would you lose by simply starting anyway? If the answer is “not much,” then guess what? Start anyway.

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    We like to imagine we can plan out everything. But usually it’s impossible to know exactly what to do by simply sitting around and thinking about it. Sitting around and thinking about it can maybe get you 60-70% of the way there. Often much less.

    The other 30-40% requires trying something, having it fail, then adjusting, iterating and improving upon it.

    This week, I challenge you to act on something you feel only 60-70% ready for. Then adjust, iterate, and improve. Let me know how it goes.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s email, I asked you to set a boundary in one of your relationships—i.e., decide what you will and will not accept, communicate your expectations and, if necessary, follow through.

    Our close family are often the people with whom it’s most difficult to establish boundaries. Alex bit the bullet last week and had a difficult talk with her mother:

    I’m traveling home from my family house now, after the tough conversation with my mom.

    She has been very demanding my entire life, she was expecting too much from me for 30 years, while giving the absolute minimum. I realized I will never meet her expectations and each attempt to make her satisfied is another failure, which makes me feel miserable.

    Today was the day when I spoke up for the first time and communicated to her my boundaries—I was finally ready to tell this in a mature way, without judgment and overwhelming emotions. It was not a pleasant moment, but I know that it had to happen, otherwise we would keep living in a mendacious relationship.

    I don’t know the repercussions yet, I’m aware I could have ruined the relationship with my mom, but on the other hand I feel very relieved and mature, and it was worth it. I hope I will get some sleep tonight, unlike the other sleepless nights.

    Setting boundaries often means the end of relationships, but it can also help one last, like for this reader and his wife:

    Boundaries are huge for my wife and I because we are so incredibly opposite. Introvert vs. extrovert. Not empathetic in the slightest vs. judges no one. Raw vs. tempered.

    As a result I have had to set boundaries in the way I communicate with her and when I am pushing up against those boundaries I have to tell her so that she knows I am making a conscious change to make her feel more loved. And she does the same for me when she tells me how she appreciates all I do for our family.

    We have set those boundaries. Those desires. Those limits and needs, and as a result we are rolling through year number 10 stronger than we have ever been, even with two one-year twin boys who each are getting four teeth and have an affinity for screaming at all times. And a four-year-old who is most certainly his father’s son.

    And I am thrilled to see a reader breakthrough shared in last week’s email inspire a breakthrough for Brittany:

    I actually just had a breakthrough from someone else’s breakthrough, if that’s possible! The thought that one of your readers shared this week really resonated with me and also ties into today’s thought around boundaries. I recently stepped down from a supervisor position at work once it became too overwhelming. I found that I was having to be available so much to everyone else, that my family would only get what’s left of me everyday. I created work/life boundaries for myself, which resulted in going back to the role I did before becoming a supervisor.

    At first I felt like a failure, but it ended up being the best thing for me and my family. My work was also very supportive and understanding as well! Hearing the reader share her story made me feel seen, and that sometimes sacrificing ‘climbing the ladder’ is worth it in order to be more present for those that matter most in your life.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous. Video submissions are also welcome if you’d rather tell me your story than write it. If you’re open to your video being shared on socials, let me know as well.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
    My WebsiteMy BooksMy YouTube Channel