You, Piece of Work

I forgot where I found it, but there was this conversation between a therapist and a father who was there trying to deal with something about his son. You want to get over this and get better right?, the therapist said. And the father said of course. So the therapist asked, then why do you only come here once a month?

I realized I didn’t want to be so angry. I have trouble with empathy and I use being busy as a crutch. I’ve tried to understand that some of the things I’m dealing with are just over my head. I’m closer to being able to admit that I just may be the source of some of the things I don’t like about myself and that happens to disqualify me from being able to handle them alone. So since June, I’ve had an appointment every two weeks to deal with it.

It allows you to think and talk about things until the words become works. You can make notes doing the week and say “I really don’t want to do that anymore.” My health insurance covered it at first but I’ve been paying for it myself now and it’s the best thing I could possibly spend my money on.

I’m not saying that this the only path you can take or that it’s even the right one for me. But I am saying that there isn’t a single part of your life that isn’t work – a part of you that in order to improve doesn’t take honesty, investment and effort. Only the lazy and the broken believe otherwise. And it’s not enough to understand that intellectually. Carrying around baggage isn’t proof of strength. There’s nothing admirable about being able to articulate where your weaknesses lie if you refuse to actively address them. For me, that meant identifying where my control ended and habit began and taking the steps necessary to wedge in a mediator. It meant doing something about it.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.