Do You Choose To Be Overwhelmed?

We choose more. Not less.
We choose potential, not acceptance.
We choose new, not old.

We race.
We strive.
We double down.

Do more. Be more.
Conquer. More.

Overwhelmed. This is the singular theme I see repeated again and again with so many people I know. Overwhelmed with all they want to do. All they want to be. All they have. All they hope for. All they are obligated to do.

We say we want simplicity. We lie. To ourselves.
What embodies the simplicity and focus you want in your life?

This week I saw my favorite singer perform in an intimate gathering of 200 or so people. Glen Hansard, famous for his music in the movie Once, which won an Academy Award, and the bands The Swell Season and The Frames.

There is something about a singer such has him that embodies what so many seem to desire: Focus. Simplicity. Meaning.

The music embodies the ingredients of a fruitful life: Conversation. Art. Relationships. Literature. Travel. Experience.

You likely have someone like this in your life, a singer who inspires you, or perhaps an athlete, writer, social leader, scientist or someone in another profession. And when we see them or experience their work, perhaps we idealize that they embody a balance, a focus on only what matters.

That when you consider this person you admire, it strips away the things in your life that you are slightly unsettled by. That you sit in a gray cube at work all day. That your Saturdays are spent cleaning out the garage. That you are overwhelmed by email and social media. That when you were 19, life was about exploration and conversation, and now, somehow, it all seems to come back to money. That perhaps you feel like you can’t remember the last time you read a book. That you are defined by a business card.

That you would spend more time with your family, if only…
That you would spend more time with your faith, if only…
That you would get back in shape, if only…
That you would be who you always wanted to be, if only…

… if only you weren’t so overwhelmed.

I have been immersing myself in the topic of productivity in preparation for some upcoming projects. And when I see Glen perform, things like the Getting Things Done system seem, well, silly. Yes, I have a respect for the system, and know it works. But the need for it justifies a life that many fear. One with constant inputs that need to be managed. One where we need to train ourselves to be disciplined, just to keep up with it all. To to excel, but just to keep up.

Do you feel the pressure to live up to a certain standard of consumption and productivity?

Here is a video I shot of Glen singing this week:

To me, it is a reminder. A respite.

What is yours?