The Joy of the Irrelevant

One of the best things I did this week was stop reading a book that had been on my to-do list for years.

Normally I have a hard time reading a book any way except from start to finish, but this book was just not interesting. I had trouble concentrating on it, and I kept rolling my eyes at the jargon the author was using. It finally dawned on me that it wasn’t interesting to me because it was irrelevant to my project.

My friend The Future Doctor Gale asked me this afternoon as we left a meeting, “Should I go to the talk by the very famous man in my department that everyone else will be going to?” Her gut was telling her that she wouldn’t get much from the talk, but the imagined presence of so many of her colleagues, and the prestige of the speaker, made her doubt herself.

So often in our careers, which run on self-discipline, we get caught up in shoulds and oughts and plans made so long ago they are no longer useful. Today, shove a “should” off your to-do list. Not just for now—this is something that you are never going to do. It feels awesome.

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