Will Rogers, born in 1879, was a Cherokee Indian, a cowboy noted for his roping skills, a movie star, a columnist and, today, a legend. He was one smart guy but no boring intellectual.
He spoke in simple words that everyone could understand: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Are you sitting on the right track watching your dreams fade into obscurity? Or, could it be that you’re doing nothing because you know you’re on the wrong track? Think about which one it is.
- Do you feel bummed out at work, yet know you’d thrive in another career better suited to your interests and inclinations?
- Do you believe that your living environment is stifling, yet know that you’d flourish in a different type of environment?
- Do you know that your troubled relationship is draining your energy, yet believe that if you could work out a few issues, you’d feel so much better?
If you’re on the wrong track, do consider making a change. Not an impulsive, “I’m outta here” change, but a well-thought-out change that sits well both with your head and your heart.
Take an action instead of just being miserable. Research alternative careers. Take a course. Seek out couples counseling.
If, however, you’re on the right track but just sitting there doing squat, explore the inner dynamics of your procrastination. It’s likely:
- You feel helpless and frustrated. You may direct this feeling inward, concluding that something’s wrong with you. Or, direct this feeling outward, blaming others for your situation.
- You make excuses for your lack of action, believing that there’s nothing much you can do about it. You say things like, “I’m just lazy by nature.” Or, you forestall criticism by laughing or even boasting about your procrastination, ignoring what’s at stake for you.
- You obsess about what you’re putting off, but still don’t take action. Obsessing may initially feel productive but sooner or later, you realize it’s like a dog chasing its tail, going round and round, getting nowhere fast.
- You recognize that recurring regret keeps eating away at your capacity to attain what you want. Such regret may escalate into crippling guilt or humiliating shame that makes change seem ever more difficult.
Whether you’re on the wrong track or on the right track, just sitting there doing squat, it’s time to take action. But what action? If it were so simple, you would have already done it.
Without knowing your particular situation, I can’t take your hand and walk you through it, but I can offer you some general principles:
- Know that making no decision is a decision. If this is your modus operandi, you’re placing yourself at the mercy of others or at the mercy of fate. Is this your aim? Do you really want others to make decisions for you? Do you wish for fate to take its course, with no input from you?
- Don’t make challenges more intimidating than they really are. Challenges are a part of life. Don’t view them as potential disasters. Yes, tough tasks require time, work, effort, concentration and maybe help from others. But who said life is supposed to be easy?
- First, commit to the goal, then decide how to achieve it. If you’re not committed to a goal, it’s much harder to figure out what action steps to take; it’s likely that “hang-ups and bang-ups” will thwart you before you even get out of the starting gate.
If this article is speaking to you, know that the more you avoid tackling a task, the larger it looms. Hence, make a promise to yourself today to expand your comfort zone by engaging in a broader range of activities, even if you do them awkwardly. Each activity does not have to be a major triumph. An accumulation of small workouts can create hefty muscles.
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
~ William Shakespeare