When It’s Time to Get in Gear

“When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.”

~Aesop

Some old sayings roll off the tongue and sound so with-it, you’d swear they came from the script of a popular TV show. Nope, it was  good old Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC. I guess that tells us it’s been a problem plaguing mankind since, well, since well before the Great Plague.

So why is it so easy to say and so hard to do? Blame it on gravity or I suppose you could blame it on inertia. You remember, right? “A body at rest tends to stay at rest.”? Natural forces, right? So why fight it? It’s natural to resist change after all, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. Remember that pesky force, “The Resistance” I wrote about a while back? That nasty phenomenon rises up to block our progress every time we try to do a good work or become something better. In fact, the bigger the goal, the harder it works to stop our progress. It’s an imposter, don’t believe what you feel!

The 1939 movie classic, The Wizard of Oz had some great scenes. Do you remember the one in which a terrified Dorothy peered through the curtain behind “The Great Oz”? There she saw a frantic little man, sweating as he madly cranked levers, trying to make his timid little self appear to be big, scary and real. He was just like The Resistance. A big, fat fake. He can be beaten and you can whip him, too.

First, two things have to happen. One, a person must have a genuine desire to change or improve. Second, a person has to want it enough to push through the discomfort of change, because it’s always at least a little uncomfortable to change, especially at first. In order to have the desire, a person has to have a reason or motive to change. If the change stands any chance at long-term success, it has to be tied to a goal. We maintain that the only goals that really work are goals based on something that truly matters to a person.

A lot of people tell me they have trouble getting motivated to do anything. They’re clueless to think of anything that inspires them to change or improve. I suggest this happens for one of two reasons. One scenario is having achieved a desired level of comfort or success, an “okay-ness” with their current situation. In all honesty, I believe that only unmet needs create incentive. So, if a person has reached a point of complete satisfaction with their status quo it might be hard to muster the gumption to bust a move and challenge themselves. I can sort of understand that.

The second scenario happens when a person thinks there is so much they need to improve they don’t know where to begin. Sometimes it’s so daunting they end up doing nothing. I think this is a lot more common because the tendency is to try to fix everything at once in a mad sprint to become skinny/rich/organized in one shot. Overwhelm kills a lot of attempts at self-improvement.

Experts have a lot to say about how to bring about change and once again, when all is said and done, more is said than done. Just kidding! I won’t leave you with that because there are a lot of things that really do help to flip the switch on your mojo.

I risk offending someone no matter what I write here, but as for scenario one, the person with no desire, I have something to say about it. I wholeheartedly believe that we are always either “green and growing or ripe and rotting.” Once we quit challenging ourselves in some way, the process of decline begins. We are not building or even maintaining the number of neural pathways in our brain that can happen when we are actively engaged in learning. The difference between The Sea of Galilee, teeming with life, and The Dead Sea, which is exactly what it sounds like, is the fact that the Dead Sea is in receive-only mode. There is input but no output. Stagnation by choice is, to me, the ultimate insult to our Creator. I urge you to keep reaching and never quit.

In scenario two, the person who doesn’t know where to begin, I urge you to simply begin. The beauty of striving to become the best possible version of who you can be is that it really doesn’t matter where you start because even the smallest changes ripple through all aspects of our life and bring improvement in every area. Breaking through inertia and self-doubt is the most exhilarating, most empowering feeling there is, and an opportunity to feel more alive than you have ever felt.

These words from the immortal German writer, Goethe, have always been inspiring to me. You may have heard only the words in the final sentence, the ones I have put in boldface. I think the full measure of inspiration is found in the words that precede the most famous part of the quote.

“….the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way”.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The choice is always our own to make. Will you choose to begin now?  I hope you do and I am excited to hear all about it!

 

2Comments

  • Grant "Doc" Newbold.

    Betty. The way you connect great quotes is always enjoyable. I also liked the picture as I’m an old farm boy who likes old machines. I would add that our system, that you and I call Worthy Values First, can be a great help for starting our actions once each of us knows what worthy values we are on this planet to serve. It doesn’t matter which worthy value you start with or the short term outcome of what you do. It only really matters that you enter the process and use your time to serve (or live) your worthy values. Thanks for inspiring us all. Doc Newbold.

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