[NOTE: Not trying to be clickbaity with the title, be a “me too” movement post or promoting adult literacy (but reading is awesome!). This was just the title screaming out at me after I got off the phone with a friend and had a conversation that inspired this post. What I am trying to do is help others attempt to achieve their dreams and realize they’re “Fit”/capable.]
Your perspective is key.
One of the main tenets of this blog is to have peers and “graduates”, not just passive readers. Active participants actually applying this stuff and making changes for the better in their lives.
I don’t just want you to read this and think it’s not a possibility for you because of reasons X, Y & Z and be entertained and go on with your life and feeling trapped in a corner. I want you to be inspired to take action, any action, even just a step to gain momentum and confidence.
Taking action is a decision
The action you decide to take can be based on what I’m writing or it could spark something in you (maybe something that’s been buried for a while that needs to resurface), the key is that it’s something important to you. But ACTion is needed for change.
I’m not looking for lots of social media followers to entertain for a few minutes while killing time (although I hope it’s also entertaining), I’m looking to help enact change, inspire, motivate, unstuck, improve, create, take steps, try, test, while aiming for longer-term targets…
…Present you vs. Future you (it’s a bit of an internal tug-of-war)
This brings us back to something BIG, your perspective and if you feel like the Driver OR the Passenger in your life.
Who’s in “control”?
Psychologists have a fancy name for this called the Locus of control (Internal or External).
Internal locus of control means you’re in control, the driver calling the shots and making the big decisions that impact your life. [AWESOME!]
External locus of control means you’re the passenger and letting someone/something else chart the direction and you’re just along for the ride. [SUCKY]
It doesn’t matter what it is you want to change or accomplish, what matters is that you feel or know that you can take steps and influence the course of your life—control and who’s got it.
It could be earning more, saving more, investing for higher returns, getting in shape, eating better, replacing a bad habit with a good one, learning something new or whatever really (within reason). It’s all available to you and under your control if you’re willing to put on the captains hat and be in charge of your life (which is scary sometimes, but a little fear is better than the alternative and feeling powerless). Some confidence is involved and you progressively gain more with the more action you take and changes you make, as the small changes accumulate and start to snowball into massive life change (you usually don’t notice the changes in the day-to-day, it’s more after months or years pass and you’re reflecting).
Even before talking about habits… laws of attraction… organization… schedules… charts… numbers… procrastination…
It’s a game of confidence, action and planning (breaking up something big into smaller tasks and starting on the first one).
This doesn’t mean you’ll be 100% confident that you can do it, but having some confidence in your ability, to fumble, course-correct and get approximately to your destination is part of growth, change and gaining control.
What sparked this is when I shared my story and path (which wasn’t easy) with a friend she got excited and happy for me, but then I heard a chorus of external locus of control statements coming from her as if she didn’t have the same menu of available options with:
- “You’re so lucky” (maybe a little luck, but mostly taking actions and small risks, and most people hate risk/change and dread it)
- “I wish I could do that, but ______________ [insert reason why I can’t that is seemingly out of my control]”
- “Wow, that’s awesome, maybe in 5 years I can start doing that” (false sense of control, pretend way to be positive, but in the end probably fear and procrastination in the driver’s seat)
This is exactly what I want others to avoid and become aware of.
If you told me my life would be like it is 2 years ago I wouldn’t have believed it because I was “locked-in” to my routine and me as the “driver” got stuck in traffic and forgot all about the actual destination I wanted to get to when I started getting “serious” about my career.
But with inspiration, positive examples and lots of little tweaks, changes, mistakes, fixes, tiny actions, baby steps my life is totally different than it was a few years ago and I’m back on a course that excites me. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long long time. I’m not saying my life is perfect, that’s BS, I still have challenges, work to be done, things to learn, I get sad sometimes, things still scare me, I question my choices, am occasionally a crappy father, brother, son…
But if you look at a chart of my life happiness/satisfaction/feeling-useful-to-others (see below), it took some big dips and now it’s back up and I feel like I could do just about anything I want (I’m not trying to be Elon Musk here, but it’s challenging, interesting and fun stuff for me), it just takes some time, motivation, investment, patience, persistence and messing up (lots and lots of messing up—in my case—and working through the list of what I don’t like—which is huge—and what I do like—which isn’t as huge and changes over time—through mostly firsthand experience).
It doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens when you keep at it and believe you’re in control.
“Admission price”: Sacrifice and change
Of course, change is hard sometimes and sacrifices usually have to be made (since you can’t always have it both ways), but that’s the “price” and just know from the outset it won’t be all unicorns and smiley faces.
But if you’re taking a long-term perspective and it’s something you really want and you don’t see a path to it given your current course or you put it off and say “in 10 years I’ll make it happen”, but with no real path/plan to getting there, you’re probably just procrastinating and thinking with time things will magically change/improve and align in that direction. Sorry, they won’t, it’s the oldest lie we make to ourselves to be able to “stay the course”.
YOU need to chart the course. If it’s something that will give you tons of happiness it’s best to start immediately, even with a teeny tiny action step so you’re getting closer to that state. Amazing things happen when you take one step, and then another, and another… Next thing you know in a few weeks (or months) your life and happiness level can be dramatically different and it didn’t take 5 or 10 years, just a plan, small actions and LOTS OF GUTS.
To come full circle…
“Yes, you can too!” Whatever it is and as long as you really want it and it’s not some totally looney thing—like being able to lift a house with your bare hands—it’s closer and can happen sooner than you think.
All you need to get moving in that direction is a change in your perspective, putting your captains hat on and starting (from exactly where you are today).
Besides a newfound perspective, action is the next missing ingredient and that’s up to you, you can’t really blame anyone else (but sometimes we do anyway) if you’re not willing to take a tiny step getting wherever “there” is for you.
(Real talk: Keep going and don’t just trail off and go back to business as usual, this is your life and with no action you’re practically guaranteed to not make a change. With action your chances of succeeding in making a change improves infinitely.)
We’re all scared. But if it’s important to you you need to do it even though you’re scared. Nobody’s going to hand it to you, the timing will never be right, your stars will never align, it’s not going to happen magically on it’s own, YOU NEED TO GRAB THAT $HIT ASAP with the assets (and liabilities) you have now and play the hand you’re dealt, no excuses.
This isn’t me saying this is a high-risk gamble and “bet the house”, instead take a calculated risk. Yes, there’s risk (which is incorrectly a 4-letter word to some) involved, but your time is limited and the biggest risk is continuing on the same path and not taking a smart risk that will get you closer to happiness.
Perfection is a mirage
It will never be perfect, but we’re all built for certain different things and 9 to 5 jobs, corporate servitude, boredom, being unhealthy, feeling like your life is a rerun, being unhappy, feeling stuck, monotony, being in debt or feeling like crap are not things we’re built for. But these things and states serve someone else’s interests so they’ve become very normal (and come with a siamese twin of a spun explantion of why it’s beneficial) even though they are perverse and ridiculous.
Go after those things you’re built for, that you dream of, that you imagined as a child.
Share your thoughts, goals, ideas, next steps, success stories, roadblocks, etc. you need help with in the comments below and let’s get closer to our dreams together!