We all have stories woven tightly around our lives. Some are handed down from parents or passed sideways from random encounters. Others come from experiences we have or assumptions we make. These stories may hold us back, or they may launch us into our wildest dreams. The difference is conscious choice: you can live your life treading through day to day, or you can live your life as a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.
Sometime in the last three years, I chose the latter. I realized that nothing was going to change my frustrations, my insecurities, or my boredom…except me. For most of my life, I had wrapped myself in a story of laziness. I wore it like a hall pass, designed to get out of the hard work of doing something with my life. You might even say I reveled in it.
Eventually though, my desire for change became so great I was forced to act. I began to study everything I could get my hands on regarding discipline, motivation, and personal reinvention. This led me to the key I was seeking. In his fabulous book, Die Empty, Todd Henry offers this mind bending piece of wisdom: “Comfort is the enemy of greatness.”
It shocked me awake. Let me clarify – he is not referring to your cozy sweater, or your ergonomic chair. He’s talking about the detrimental effect of giving in to your immediate desire to roll over in bed for another hour or to skip your workout because you’re “not in the mood”.
I realized that what I had always referred to as laziness was actually nothing more than scrambled priorities. I had allowed my immediate desire for the easy thing to override my long-term desire to have an impact on the world around me. I stopped hitting the snooze button on my life. I started working out. I engaged in the practice of starting over as many times as it takes. In short, I began to make conscious choices about what to do with my time.
I decided to re-write my story, and I set about doing so. The editing process is not finished. I hope it never is! There is richness and beauty and growth within it that sustain me through the struggle.
I sometimes re-write my story daily. You can do it too. What tales wind their way through your mind, undermining your dreams? The only way to untangle them is to decide to. Then pick up the machete (or put the bush hog in gear) and start clearing the debris.