The Comforting Myth
Coming up with a brilliant, life-altering idea is what matters.
If you could only come up with that one perfect idea…
It could re-energize you to tackle your project, inspire you to go after your audacious goal, and light your path to success, happiness and contentment.
Of course, this is a myth.
The moment we stop to really think about it, it’s clearly irrational – one idea by itself never changes anything. But we believe it anyway, because as long as we believe it and we haven’t had that spark, that realization, that epiphany, we can justify our current situation and continue to go with the flow.
By waiting for something to happen to us, we abdicate responsibility over our lives and we continue down the path set by others.
For many (for the majority) this is comforting.
So if the life-altering idea is a myth, what is true?
The Brutal Truth
Action is what matters.
Small action taken daily changes everything. Not all at once, of course, but gradually over time.
So the year after you changed your diet, you’re 20lbs lighter – or 20lbs heavier because you ditched the diet and continued down the same path you were on.
Or your commitment to blogging created enough content for you to publish your first book – or it didn’t because you scrapped the writing altogether because no one was paying attention.
Or you finally founded your own company and you’re proud to say you draw your own map – or you have no company because you never actually worked up the courage to quit your comfortable, inoffensive job.
Ideas? They’re a dime a dozen.
A small action today? It’s worth everything.
Each of us has a choice - many choices, actually, every day of our lives.
And every day, every hour, every minute, is the chance to choose - and, therefore, the chance to change.
1. Continue down the path you’re on and wait for an idea…
Who knows, maybe it will come.
Maybe the idea you’re hoping will strike a cord and call you to action will hit you over the head if you wait long enough. Worst case scenario, you continue meandering on your current path, the one set and well trodden by others.
2. Take action today…
In a second, literally, you can change everything.
This change is a declaration made through action. Even the smallest action changes the status quo – at least your status quo, at this moment, which is the first step toward creating lasting, large-scale change.
This is the harder path, of course - no reason to sugar coat it.
You’re walking down your current path for a reason; switching paths or turning around and walking the opposite way means having to put effort into retracing your steps - and sometimes that feels like a waste. When we turn around, even if it’s for the right reason, it still feels as if we’re losing progress.
But if you’ve been making progress down a path you don’t care for, toward an end you don’t want, turning around is actually the only way to truly make any progress at all.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. [C.S. Lewis]
In one moment, in one choice, in one action, you can turn it all around.
The question is: will you?
Great post, and such a truthful and timely reminder for me! Taking action is not always easy but essentially it is the only way to move forward.
"A small action today? It’s worth everything" - this is something I'd like to remind myself of everyday. Thanks Tom 🙂
Michaela, thanks so much for the kind words. So glad to hear it's a great reminder for you! Good luck with your work!
Good stuff today. One of the best lessons that I've ever learned while in the "woods" was around navigation -"when I think I might be lost - I'm LOST". I need to Stop, look at the map, KNOW where I am - and/or retrace my steps back to where I am 100% certain of the path I am on - then continue with my journey.
In decisions as with in navigation the small steps that we take are the only things that will keep you on the right path.
Alan, love the land nav concept! It's true, before you can find your way, you need to know where you are. Great analogy!! Gives me some great inspiration for another post down the line 🙂