How can you tell where to direct your efforts?
By identifying the two or three things you least want to do. For me, it has been practicing my voice therapy exercises, and doing abdominal workouts.
It’s not because they were important that I delayed them. It’s more because they are kind of monotonous and not particularly fun. Actually, when I’m into doing them, I coast along easily. It’s getting started that is so grueling.
To me, it’s kind of ironic that the activities that generate so much resistance are the very ones that are often the most important for one’s personal growth. My two, in particular, are no exception to this rule. I simply can’t get excited about blowing bubbles into a cup with a straw or sweating on the floor with my legs in the air.
But today I just decided to bloody do it. OK, these were the two things I’m avoiding, and they also happen to be two of the most important things I must do for myself. So, damn it, I’m just going to do them.
Of course, once I got past the first five minutes, everything was fine and I wasn’t even thinking about how much I hated my life anymore. Well, that’s a bit of a lie – a part of me was still begrudging my bubble-blowing and ab-crunching. But at least I bloody did them.
Now, will I do them tomorrow?
The only way to ensure that progress is being made from one echelon to another is if pain is being felt. Not the kind of pain that renders a person immobile, but the kind that shocks the system just enough to make him stronger when he returns to his senses.
I used to have some misunderstandings about Growth. I thought it was something that, if you were consistent or even “passionate” enough, you could grow fast, and not really feel it. But the fastest growth is felt, and it feels downright painful.
True Growth must be accompanied by a certain kind of mentality, one in which you’re not really concerned with the bigger picture. Noticing the bigger picture can only overwhelm us and cause us to get discouraged. We might look at all the Pain ahead, and just decide that staying where we are is better.
In a way, we must be willfully ignorant. My PT told me today, “If you think about how heavy it is, you won’t do it.” This can apply to any undertaking. It doesn’t really benefit us to focus on anything other than what’s directly in front of us. We take the small actions, we push ourselves or allow ourselves to be pushed. But letting the gravity, or the density, or the scope, or the magnitude, of what we’re working towards, hold too prominent a place in our minds, is just too likely to throw us off.
And anyway, it’s still going to hurt.