One day, a man was walking down the street and saw a woman standing in front a brick building. She had her hands pressed against the bricks and was pushing with all of her might. She had beads of sweat dripping down her face.
“Excuse me, are you OK? May I ask what you are doing?” the man inquired.
“I don’t want this building here. I want it over there. It’s blocking the view from my apartment.”
The man wasn’t sure how to respond, so he wished her luck and continued on his way.
This woman sound a bit crazy right?
But consider this: she’s not crazy for wanting something different or for feeling disappointed about her crappy view. But she’s wasting her time and energy with her attempted “solution”.
Whenever I focus my energy on trying to change something that is NOT in my control, I am acting like that woman. (Ugh…that’s a hard pill to swallow.)
And, in fact, whenever I focus my energy on obsessively wishing something will change when that something is NOT in my control, I am acting like that woman.
The next day, the man is walking down the same street and sees the same woman in front of the same brick building. Only this time, she’s not standing and pushing against it, she is sitting cross-legged on the ground just staring at it.
“Ma’am, is everything OK? What are you doing?”, he asks again.
“I am just wishing this building wasn’t here. I don’t like it here. I want it over there. It’s blocking the view from my apartment.”
She wants something different – that’s fair. She feels disappointed – also fair. BUT, the longer she focuses her emotional energy on something that she can’t change, the more frustrated she will feel.
No amount of wanting or moping or complaining about the building is going to make it move. (But those things can sure be fun!)
I can’t change other people. I can’t change many situations and circumstances.
But I can change me.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
You started a new exercise program or diet plan.
Within the week, you missed a workout OR you caved and ate some of those Cadbury Mini Eggs leftover from Easter. (Who can blame you? Those things are like crack.)
Your internal monologue went something like this, “Crap, I blew it. What’s wrong with me? I guess I will start again tomorrow.”
And then maybe, just maybe, you did start again the next day.
Or maybe, just maybe, you felt so discouraged by the failed attempt that you scarfed down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
We are, for the most part, completely oblivious to the subconscious beliefs or thoughts that run our lives: beliefs like, “If you eat something ‘bad’ when you are on a diet, that day is now ruined. It can no longer be a perfect eating day.” So, your options are to start-over tomorrow, or the following Monday (no wonder we hate Mondays), or to accept the lie that you just can’t do it.
Where did this belief come from? I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not a helpful one!
Several years ago I read a book about about balanced nutrition and the author made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “If you make a poor choice, you are only your next meal or snack away from being back on track.”
WHAT?? That’s genius! You mean I don’t have to fall into the trap of eating more crap because I feel guilty for blowing it in the first place? I can hit the restart button with my next meal or snack choice?
This principle, which I am cleverly calling the “You-are-only-your-next-choice-away-from-being-back-on-track” principle, can be applied to EVERY goal we set.
We all make mistakes. BUT…we can minimize the impact by how we choose to respond (phew).
7 deadly sins against great work.
7 things I am guilty of.
Ah, but don’t fret. It’s not all doom and gloom. I have already begun to tackle the monster. Every post on this blog is me NOT procrastinating, hesitating, second-guessing, overthinking (well, maybe a bit of that)…you get the idea.
I made a decision a few months ago to embrace the “done is better than perfect” perspective and I am happy to announce that I am “sinning” a lot less. [insert smirking emoji here]. Doing requires less energy than avoiding and overthinking. Doing gives you something — something to learn from, something to improve on.
But hey, don’t just take my word for it…
“Just do it.” Nike
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Wayne Gretzky
“The future depends on what you do today.” Ghandi
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” Pablo Picasso
“The path to success is to take massive determined actions.” Tony Robbins
And finally, simple but profound advice from Amelia Earhart,
“The most effective way to do it is to do it.”