David Robert Jones, MS LPC

The Long Game (10)

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15-minute-writing timer. Set. Go.

When I was younger, I was impressed with track records in events like the 100 meters, high jump, triple jump, long jump, etc. 

Fast. High. Long. Quick.  

I wouldn’t have been able to tell you even the rough range of a great time for finishing a marathon. I didn’t like watching marathons.

Nowadays, I pay a lot more attention to the records and feats and achievements and legacies that require consistency and commitment through the years.

I look for people who have played the long game and who have found meaning in the mundane. 

Because the long game is all about finding meaning in the mundane. It’s not flashy, it’s not all that attractive to others, it is often misunderstood, it is overlooked, it is hard work without a constant dose of gratification, and it is deeply humbling. 

That’s what attracts me these days.

My best days aren’t behind me. My best days aren’t ahead of me. 

My best days are today. Here and now. Here. Now.

My best day is today. My best moment is today.

Years ago, I would have given up on this writing/publishing/podcast project on days like today when the words come intermittently and clumsily. 

Today, I’m excited to watch it all unfold and see how I handle the adversity of dull, mundane, seemingly uninspiring moments.

I like what I see. I like what I am being.

Oliver Burkeman says “The ability to tolerate minor discomfort is a superpower. It’s shocking to see how readily we set aside even our greatest ambitions in life, merely to avoid easily tolerable levels of unpleasantness…When you expect an action will be accompanied by feelings of irritability, anxiety or boredom, it’s usually possible to let that feeling arise and fade, while doing the action anyway. The rewards come so quickly, in terms of what you’ll accomplish, that it soon becomes the more appealing way to live.”

I like that I am sitting here writing, noticing the effort it is taking, listening for wisdom, extending understanding and compassion to myself, pushing myself to perform, and valuing the learning and shaping and growing that is happening. 

All stuff you only get to see and enjoy the fruit of if you play the long game.

1 minute left on the writing timer and it occurs to me that this all should have been fairly evident to me having grown up on a farm where you are always playing the long game, finding meaning in the mundane, working hard without constant doses of gratification, and living in deep gratitude and humility that comes from knowing you are just playing a part and that the game depends on so much more than you.

So, just play your part.

I’m just playing my part.

And I like what I am being.


Burkeman, Oliver. “Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life.” The Guardian.

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