Decision

Decision Graphic

 

“You can’t steal second base while keeping your foot on first base.”

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

We have countless sappy sayings for it. We get the jist of it; the philosophy of it; the underlying courage that comes along with it. Be smart enough to set a goal, but then be brave enough to pursue it without doubt, I mean that’s what all the greats did right? Every explorer left their land with no guarantee or making it to their destination. Great businessmen of the past took great leaps of faith that maybe looked foolish at the time. Those stories thrill us, inspire us, give us those unequivocal butterflies that only come with a true success story. As a result, you have kids, teens, young adults, and even middle-aged men and women, daydreaming about someday overcoming the odds and the naysayers, and winning on that 100-1 gamble. It’s the modern day fairytale for the average person. However, all of these stories, no matter how diverse, share one commonality, and it’s a detail that is often times overlooked. All of these greats made the decision to accomplish one thing, one way, and became damn great at it. I’m always afraid to cite quotes because thanks to the internet, no quote is accurately cited; I heard Abraham Lincoln said you can’t trust anything you read on the internet, so I trust him and just say ‘there is a quote that I love’ that reads…“The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” All who have accomplished great things chased one rabbit. Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook) was horrible in real estate (probably). Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) was the worst student (that is actually true). JK Rowling (creator of Harry Potter) is horrible as an electrician (another guess, but probably true). Do you think those facts bothered them? Do you think that a person who leads the world in marketing is bothered that they can’t balance their books? Do you think that a scientist at JPL is jealous of the contractor that dominates their industry? The greats of history were able to choose their one field, and within that field, they chose one rabbit to catch. They were able to put blinders on and stay focused. What we tend to forget is that in order to focus on one goal, and accomplish that goal, we need to say “No” to a lot of other things. Now I was never a great Latin student (despite three years) but I’m about to drop some knowledge on you. The Latin word for “Decision” is “Arbitrium” which literally means, “to cut off.” Making a decision is about “cutting off” choices. If your head just exploded I’ll give you a minute to gather yourself.

Now I’m not sure when it happened originally, but at some point the word “Decision” became synonymous with choosing two or three things, rather than cutting off things. The result has been pretty bad for our society.  We are now encouraged to explore multiple options at a time with no real commitment, taking a few steps down one path, while keeping tabs on other possibilities, then maybe changing our mind and hopping onto another path as soon as something spooks us. What happens when you are able to slowly creep down a path looking for any dangers, and at the first rustle in the bushes it’s acceptable to go sprinting back to the starting line and pursue another dream? Well have you ever met a ten-year college student? Have you ever met a yo-yo-dieter? The crazy thing to realize is that had any one person chosen one thing to master, after a year, they’d be amazing at that one thing. What if you decided to practice the piano for 15 minutes every day? After one year you’d have tallied up over ninety hours! I’d say you’d be pretty good at piano. How about if you chose to follow the paleo diet for a year, with NO excuses, well I’d say after one year, you wouldn’t have to worry about chasing that six pack, it’d be there waiting for you. To be honest after only three months you’d have an entirely different body. How about finances? What if you actually did save that extra $100 a week? Well a $5,200 vacation would be kinda nice huh? It’s not that we are unable to say yes to things, we are “brave” enough to take on challenges, that’s not the problem. The problem has nothing to do with saying yes, the issue is with us not being able to say no. Now I’m not talking about the inability to say ‘no’ to bad things, we know we should say no to smoking, that’s simple. There is nothing groundbreaking about saying no to chocolate cake. I’m addressing the challenge of saying no to GOOD things (weird concept huh?) In today’s times we are trained to look for things to say ‘no’ to so much that we assumed saying ‘yes’ to a dozen things MUST be good for us. What does this look like? It means being able to say no to that bootcamp when you’ve already decided to join that yoga studio. It means saying no to that monthly charity event because you already decided to volunteer at your church. Get ready for this one…it means saying to no to your family wanting to go to the park, when you already told yourself you’d attend Saturday CrossFit classes. If any of those made you cringe it’s because you’ve likely fell victim to saying yes to too many good things. You my dear friend have chosen too many rabbits.

So as the new year approaches, every man and woman grabs their pen, they grab their notepad, and off they go feverishly writing goal after goal. With no fault to them other than wanting to simply improve their lives in the new year; and sadly without realizing it, they add rabbit after rabbit. Finally with ink dry, stuck on the fridge, they begin chipping away at their list. January looks pretty good, they lost one rabbit, but it was a so-so goal anyways. Then March hits and their list has a few more items with lines drawn through them (the bad lines, like with red ink and all that). Then the dreaded June month strikes, the official halfway mark, followed by the inevitable question, “How are you doing on those goals?” Looking back at the six months they’re not sure where the time went, and once the food holidays of October, November, and December hit, forget about it. So what happens? What happens when we couldn’t catch a single rabbit in the twelve months? Well let me tell you what happens…every man and woman grabs their pen, they grab their notepad, and off they go feverishly writing goal after goal…Do you see the brutal cycle?

I’ve always told people that the motivation that really got me to open my own gym was legitimate anger. Anger at seeing people either lost without guidance, or even worse, lied to about how to accomplish their goals. The new year fires me up because the original motivation comes full circle and I’m firing on all cylinders to get people to their goals. So how do we do this? If you’ve ever read my past blogs you know I never leave anything in a strictly theoretical state. So let’s get our hands dirty. Your first step is to go ahead and make a list, write down all the HABITS that you want to begin in the new year. I say habits because those are in your control and are objectively marked (you either skipped on chocolate or you didn’t). Once you have your list made out, grab a red marker and number them by importance. Once you have a list of goals numbered…things get pretty mathematical. You see numbers 5 and larger? Ok take your red marker and scratch those out. Perfect. Ok now you see numbers 3 and 4? Yeah scratch those out too. Finally you have numbers 1 and 2 left, this is good but not great, go ahead and scratch out #2. Congratulations, you now have one goal for the new year. You have one rabbit to chase, and guess what? You’re gonna get damn good at catching that rabbit.

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