Don’t Wait, Do It Now
Hopefully I am not the only one that this happens to. On my commute to work and back to home, my brain is so busy detailing everything I have to do – both at work and at home. The minute I step into my office or my home, that list magically hides itself. I forgot most of what I have to do, being busy doing so many other things. Then the minute my head hits the pillow, the list reappears as a list of everything that I didn’t get done. Does anyone else go through this?
Why is taking action so hard? We have these dreams, passions around our life. The space between a dream and reality is where all of the action has to take place. We want whatever the dream is. We talk about it all of the time. “Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take the actions and your feelings will change” Barbara Baron.
We tend to put off the hard parts. The parts where we aren’t sure what to do. I do it everyday. Put off the conversation I don’t want to have with a friend, relative or co-worker. Put off studying for a test because I am afraid of failing it. Not asking for what I want, because what if they say no? I am sure that this list could go on forever. The key is to just take a first step, then one more. Don’t look at the whole mountain that needs to be climbed, just look at the next few steps.
I always think about physical workouts here. If you are on a treadmill, and your goal is five miles. You start to get worn out and out of breath on mile three. Those next two miles seems like impossible. Seems like forever. Seems like Mount Everest. Seems like you can’t do it. But here is where a little stubbornness comes in handy. You just tell yourself five more minutes, and you take the next step and the next step, and before you know it, that fifth mile is done. Be proud of every next step, not just the one that puts you over the goal.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle. It is important that these lists are not just a grocery list or a laundry list. Things that take up time and space, but are not really taking a step. That is the first step of procrastination. What I call the shiny object or squirrel. Have you seen the cartoon, where the dog is doing or saying something, then shouts squirrel and takes off right in the middle of it? That is a squirrel. I come into my office to write this blog post. Then I see some mail that I forgot to take care of yesterday and so I do that. Then an email comes in, so I read that. Then I think of something I wanted to research and I do that. Two hours later, I haven’t written a single word of the post I came in to write. That is chasing the squirrel. I didn’t really take a single step toward writing that post, and now my time is gone.
The best that we can do is to promise ourselves to be better and do better. The best that we can do is to keep trying, putting one foot in front of the other. To ask ourselves, what is the most important thing I can do right this moment to take that next step, and then just take it. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Don’t wait for anything, just take that next step. We might fall down. We might get hurt or do what we later judge to be the wrong thing. It doesn’t in the big picture matter. What matters is that we took what we saw to be the next step. The funny thing about life, is that those steps that we judged to be wrong, are usually the steps that give us what we need for a future step. So that, in the long run, none of the steps were really wrong.
“I promise myself,
To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me”
Christian D. Larson