Patrick Fellows is a 5 time Ironman, TEDx giving, 32 miles swimming, endurance coaching, healthy cooking, entrepreneur and musician.  Born in Dearborn, MI, raised in Mississippi and a Louisianian for 30 years, 

Arbitrary Expectations


I am all for accountability. Follow through, and seeing things through until the end. I set out on this course of writing “everyday” a full six months ago. Yesterday I didn’t write anything, and the world responded with a resounding “Who cares!?” I don’t say that as a “whoa is me,” the internet of things has been super kind to me in support of what I am putting out. Today I almost feel like I’ve failed at something and that’s fucking ridiculous. I didn’t cobble together 300 of words of meaningless nonsense on the 4th of July. I don’t get paid to write, and to be fair, I never said “It’s every day or I suck.” I just falling victim to another arbitrary expectation I have set for myself and it’s dumb.

As this is a holiday weekend of sorts and I don’t have any big plans, my plan is to define things a little. What do I want to write about? What do you want to read? (mostly about me being old, apparently) and What’s a reasonable amount of info to put out there?

I’ve told people over the last six months that one of the big reasons I write daily is that in the past I would go daily, then every three weeks, then once every three months, then once a year. Daily seems to be the only way I do it well. So that’s kind of what I decided. But that’s grown stale.

I was getting up at 4 to do it every day, and if I didn’t get done by the time I was going to go workout, I just didn’t go workout. The only thing I need more than writing is working out, so I pushed it back to “whenever”. Whenever leads to 250 throwaway words that tic off a an arbitrary box but more times than not, they don’t matter. It’s usually not substantive

I also realize that there’s only so many big ideas that any one person can put out there. I’ve found that the message is usually the same and in order to have impact, is repetitive. We have to hear things 100 times to get anything to stick and even then it’s a crap shoot. But my time and yours would be better with those reminders, so I’ll try and keep on that.

The real point of all of the above is to remind you to not beat yourself up over things that you have arbitrarily decided are all or nothing. I’ve tried to live “all or nothing” for most of my adult life and it’s in a word, exhausting. It’s one thing to try and be your best, it’s another to base the whole of your existence on being your best or you’re a total failure. It’s just not true, no matter how real that feels on a daily basis. And reality is that “your best” it probably a moving target or you haven’t even defined it. It’s an arbitrary expectation you have decided by placing yourself in juxtaposition to what you think it looks like, regardless if you have the tools and talents to achieve it.

So Happy 4th of July weekend, and I’ll see you when I see you. Likely tomorrow.


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