Questions for you:
“What do you want out of this life experience?”
“What would make you happy?”
“What baby step can you take today to move in that direction?”
“What are you afraid will happen if you take action?”
Write down your responses in a place that you can refer to them later…
….in the meantime I present to you…
Story time! Now, stop me if you’ve heard this one…
“One day, a man walked past a house and saw a little old lady rocking in her chair a little man reading the paper as he rocked next to her, and a dog lying on the porch between the two, moaning as if he were in pain. As he massed, the man wondered silently what the dog was moaning about.
The next day he walked past the house again. He saw the old couple rocking in their chairs and the dog lying between the, making the same pained sound. Puzzled, the man promised himself that if the dog was still moaning the next day, he’d ask the old couple about it.
On the third day, to his distress, he saw the same scene: the little old lady rocking, the little old man reading, and the dog in his spot moaning piteously. He couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” he called out to the old woman, “what’s wrong with your dog?”
“Oh him?” she said. “He’s lying on a nail.”
Confused by her reply, the man asked, “If he’s laying on a nail and it hurts, why doesn’t he just get up?”
The little old lady smiled and said in a sweet, grandmotherly tone, “Well honey, it hurts just enough for him to moan about it, but not enough for him to move yet.” – (“No Matter What”, Nichols, 74-75)
What is the message?
Sometimes in life we observe our situations, complain about them but then don’t do anything about it. It’s not that we are lazy or lacking ambition either. Sometimes the task ahead seems too great and sometimes it doesn’t seem pressing enough to take real concerted effort, just uncomfortable enough to complain about it.
In his book, Thrive, Ironman Brendan Brazier, talks about this in the form of a tire with a slow leak. In a situation where a tire has a slow leak one may barely notice it. A person would maybe fill it up every now and then to get it to a functioning level, only to need to fill it again and again as time passed. However, if the tire were to pop, then the majority of us would get that sucker fixed right away! The same things plays out with you in your life. Brazier who focuses more on personal health, asks why is it that we wait for the heart attack or stroke to get serious about our health? Why is it that the slight weight gain, little aches and pains and decrease in energy are not enough for us? It’s not enough, because it’s a slow leak versus a popping tire. In other words, it’s uncomfortable, but not unbearable. Remember the dog and the nail. We used think that dog was silly, now we can relate can’t we?
So what’s what point!?!?
The point is that it’s essential to understand the psychology behind why we complain about things in our lives we want to change, but simply Don’t Change! The secret is this: if we want to motivate ourselves and get unstuck we have to simulate the popping tire for ourselves. We have to frame our situation so that what we are experiencing is indeed unbearable enough to elicit a change from us. As Destiny Discoverer, Chris Guillebeau explains in his book “The Art of Non Conformity”, we can do that two different ways:
1) Increase the pain of the current situation.
2) Decrease the fear of the desired situation.
Stay tuned because next week we are going to tackle exactly what you can do to use this psychology to work for you!
- In the meantime, share with me in the comments ONE area in your life where you find yourself complaining a lot.