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Apr 9, 2009

Why You’re Not Doing The Things You Said You Wanted To, Part 3

Missed the previous 2 parts?  Get ‘em here and here.

Meanwhile, here’s part 3 coming at you – where we talk about how one way you avoid taking action is by lying to yourself about the real cost of inaction.

Because when it comes down to it, we lie to ourselves a lot, except we don’t call it lying.  We call it rationalization or worse, “thinking realistically.“  Realistically, it’s lying.  it’s misrepresenting the truth – because the truth is pretty ugly.

The truth might be that if you don’t lose those extra 50 pounds, you’re likely to be dead at age 50 instead of 70 or 80.

The truth might be that your kids are growing up without you, because you’re not spending enough time with them – and you’re almost out of time to fix it.

The truth might be that you’re only a layoff away from discovering that your current skillset just won’t serve you in a job search – and that the company’s stability is shaky at best.

The truth might be that you’re building your business the wrong way, with strategies that keep you on the treadmill rather than put you on a ladder.

So Why The Hell Aren’t We Doing Something About It?

Facing up to ugly truths is scary.  Damned scary.  That’s reason enough to run and hide from it.

But oh, wait, we don’t “run.”  We don’t “hide.”  I mean we’re smarter than that.  We just do other things.

We check our email, or our blog stats, or our twitter account, or our RSS feed.  Again.

We watch LOST, or worse yet, flip the channel looking for something interesting.  Again.

We go to Digg, or StumbleUpon, or Reddit, or wherever the hell we go to click on things that don’t matter.

We go to the fridge, even though we certainly didn’t go light on our last meal and shouldn’t need a food fix.

We do a hundred million things to distract ourselves from facing the true cost of inaction - the true cost of facing all these personal demons that scare the hell out of us (almost as badly as it scares us to think that people might *gasp* find out we have human weaknesses).

We pretend that we’ll get to it “someday” when “things settle down” or “we have more time / energy / money” and yet we are still watching f***ing LOST and we still have the energy to play XBOX and we are still buying $5 coffees and expensive fluff we just don’t need(Self, I’m talking to you.)

But we pretend we’re not doing all that, because it’s easier to blame “not enough X” and do whatever it takes to shift our focus away from just how much it’s costing us not to fix our stuff.

And then we’re all surprised when we have health problems.  Or when the kids have nothing to do with us.  or when our spouse leaves us.  Or when we just can’t seem to find a job in this “terrible economy.”

But by God, we won’t miss our chance to find out if pretend people on TV get off the damned island.  Sitting on our asses is easy.

Screw that.

It’s Time To Face Up to The True Cost Of Inaction

Those things you don’t like to think about?  Think about them.

Not “if” they might happen, but “when.”  Because they will, if you don’t turn the tide.

They will happen, if you don’t start taking action today to make sure they don’t happen.

If things haven’t been getting measurably better for you over the last 12 months, and you don’t change your habits and actions, you can guess where you’ll be 12 months from now.

Jack and Kate might be off the island, but you’ll still be trapped.

Here’s What You Need To Do, Right Now

I wish I had pat advice I can give you about how to make it all better in 7 easy steps.  But I don’t.  because facing your “stuff” is hard.  It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Turning off the TV and spending 60 minutes facing your anxieties instead?  Unbelievably uncomfortable.

But losing out on life – perhaps literally – because you didn’t take action?  Utterly unacceptable.

So here’s what you should do to start.  Stop pretending your fears aren’t there and learn how to understand them, so you can figure out what to do next instead of going into hiding.

If this scares the hell out of you, do what I do.  Read Havi’s stuff at The Fluent Self:

Don’t pretend that you’re not going to have to face the consequences of the things you’re avoiding … because you won’t get a second chance.

That is all.

Now I need to go take my own advice.  And think a while.


5 Responses to “Why You’re Not Doing The Things You Said You Wanted To, Part 3”

  • Apr 9, 2009 Mike CJ

    Powerful stuff Dave. And pertinent too – so many people in our industry use phrases like “One day I will…….” Well today is the day!

    I’m lucky – I don’t have any motivation problems and I’ve never watched Lost!

    Mike CJ’s last blog post..Eight Habits of a Successful Blogger

  • Apr 9, 2009 Positively Present

    Fear really can hold us back a lot in life and it can really prevent us from fully living. It’s hard not to be scared, but, as you said, it’s really important to consider the cost of inaction. What if you don’t do what you want to do? What will happen to you?

    A few days ago, I wrote on my blog about how people are often afraid to be happy. Check it out here:

  • Apr 10, 2009 chas

    funny thing that you put this one out this week, when i got my own thoughts on this thing out in electrons as well…and interesting to see the different perspective. you are indeed an ass kicker, mr. navarro!

    chas’s last blog much is that apple?

  • Apr 11, 2009 Beth Bridges

    This post should be made into a video where it’s presented at full volume by a Patton look and sound-alike! It’s the pep-talk we need sometimes, to get ourselves going.

    Do you think that sometimes, people just don’t truly want what they say they want? Or they don’t want it bad enough? We lie to ourselves by saying “it’s not that great” or “it’s not that important.” That way, it’s not so bad that we’re not taking any action.

    I’m personally trying to use the future pain of regret to motivate myself. I imagine myself 10 years from now, wanting to kick my own butt because I didn’t even try! That is a feeling I don’t want.



    Beth Bridges’s last blog is Giving Away “The Money Tree”

  • Apr 20, 2009 Damien

    I really like this series…would be even better if I could print out each one easily to read on the train on the way home…just a suggestion.

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