While we may have some idea of our goals in life, just what concrete steps need to be taken, how to navigate the entire journey to achieve them, can be frustratingly unclear.
Some people insist that the path be mapped out in its entirety before they embark. If they cannot see their way clear, if they do not fully understand the complete route, they will stay put.
Nonsense! You won’t get much done that way. Take “three steps into the fog.”
When a dense fog sets in, you cannot see. But you often have at least a general idea of the direction you want to go (forward, not backward).
Usually you’re able to see at least a few steps in front of you. Take them. Once you have advanced, you will be able to see another few steps. Take those and repeat!
You may wander a bit, you may be a few degrees off course, but you will much farther along than those timid souls who sat and waited and waited and waited for the perfect forecast, the can’t lose, no risk, 100% certainty scenario.
In my life, I’ve often taken steps into the fog and it has taken me to some interesting places. Even if some of them were a bit off course, learning where I did not want to go often sharpened my sense of where I did want to go.
Consequences, standards, and deadlines can be incredibly powerfully motivators.
I consider myself a motivated person, but sometimes I still need the motivational power of deadlines. Ask my assistant. I generally finish my continuing education courses required to renew various professional licenses just a few days before the deadline.
I consciously look for standards, internal and external, on which to anchor myself, to motivate myself. When I graduated from high school I weighed 150 pounds, so I intend to live my life at 150 lbs. If I get above that weight, my self-image (an internal standard) kicks in and I use my patented, secret weight loss system: I eat less and exercise more. (Shh! Don’t don’t tell anyone how I do it.) Before starting law school, I was concerned about being able to consistently put forth the high level of effort I knew would be required. When I got there, my competitiveness took over and I picked up my speed to synch with those around me.
A group of blind men lived together in a remote village. One day an elephant came to town, and since this had never happened before, the blind men decided to go experience the elephant.
The first blind man approached the side of the elephant and announced that an elephant was like a wall. The next blind man grabbed a leg and declared the first man a fool, that an elephant was like a tree trunk. Another blind man grabbed the trunk and emphatically stated the first two were imbeciles (did I mention this was a quarrelsome group?), that an elephant was like a snake. So it went with the group, one touching the tail, another the tusk, and another the massive ear.
They all were “right,” but they all were wrong, too.