Get ready, you will now learn the secret of the Universe.
Well, just let me make a beautiful introduction first.
The whole story starts from the day I went to a * bookstore. I was walking around randomly looking through books that caught my eye when – BAM – it happened; and then I knew the answer to all my prayers.
It was a famous book on how to quit smoking, that one everyone knows of. I’ve never read it before, but I always wondered what could possibly be written there that would make you cooler than Mark Twain and give you the guts to break the habit.
Anyway, have you ever done this as a teenager: “I am stuck, I need answers, I’ll open the book and it will tell me everything, just say any page and line number ASAP!!!1”) ? Turns out, sometimes this unexpectedly works.
Whoa, it’s been there all the time.
I opened the book out of curiosity, with no particular aim, and the first phrase I saw said something like (I’m translating from Russian): “In order to stop smoking, you have to stop smoking”.
As plain as that. It struck me like thunder, because THERE IT WAS – and this piece of advice applies to anything, I would think, to all sorts of things that prevent us from succeeding .
Because these are not things that stop us. It’s us who stop us by finding this things, and that is why this advice is so hard to apply – because you have to admit it first.
To do something, you just have to do it. Nike is all over the place saying that, and we are pokerfacing and putting this phrase here and there without realizing what it actually means.
However, it’s the ultimate solution:
To do something, just do it.
To stop quarrelling with your wife, just do it.
To overcome the fear of driving – just goddamn drive, there is no other way.
Now that you know you already knew all that, how do you make use of the knowledge?
(+ funny life experience)
All of that talk brings you to the most important question – MKAY, SO WHAT?
IF IT WERE AS SIMPLE AS THAT, I WOULD HAVE DONE THIS ALREADY.
Translated into the civilized language of motivational blog posts, it’s:
So how do I use that precious knowledge? If I knew it was that simple, I would have changed my life already.
Naah. You wouldn’t.
That’s what makes us human: stepping out of the Comfort Zone is a challenge. If you are not Chuck Norris, you take one step at a time. If the gap between the steps is too big, you stumble and fall.
Posing the right questions is 80% of the success.
There is an example from my own experience (as promised) that still makes me laugh (and cry) and, when told to other people, also kinda makes me look badass.
While I was teaching at university, my students (on numerous occasions) asked me if they would be able to speak 3 languages after they graduate (it was a linguistic university and there was an opportunity to learn 3 foreign languages at once).
I then asked them if they were going to get thinner by the time they graduate.
They stared at me in astonishment, puzzled and angry, but then I explained:
– I don’t know. And no one knows, because it all depends on you. BUT, as a teacher, I can show you how, if you ask me. (learn a foreign language, that is, but if you need tips on weightloss, I’ll be there for you)
If you look at the question from this perspective, the whole situation starts to look hilarious and ridiculously clear. The approach can be applied anywhere:
“How do I get rid of the fear of speaking a foreign language? How do I re-learn English, because I had forgotten it?” The answer is: you just do it. There is never a magical way, a luckier neighbour or a short path to success. It takes time to learn who you are and what works for you, but it’s the only way.
However, you can always get help by asking the right questions. No one must help you (unless they get paid for it), but they can if they… can. That is, if they are able to. And if you find the right way to ask. Just compare:
“My life sucks. I don’t know what to do. Help me.”
“I feel I’m out of shape, and it bothers me. Why don’t you come over for a cup of tea and home-made granola, and tell me how you manage to work out 5 times a week and not to lose motivation?”
What if someone hinders you?
If someone hinders you, get rid of that someone (said Captain Obvious).
I know it can get tough if that person is someone from your family, like, as in the example above, your wife.
Truth is, if your wife doesn’t want compromise,
get another wife think of the fact that you have (most likely) chosen her yourself, and she (most likely) only reflects the person you are/used to be. If you respect your choice, and if you feel an urge to change, you will try and find a way to let her know and give her a chance to grow, too. Otherwise you’re an arrogant prick you will lose a person that most likely could transform into your biggest support.
It’s always a matter of choice. No one is responsible for your life, your boss shouldn’t be, even your parents shouldn’t (unless you are 8). And by the way, are you responsible for theirs? Wouldn’t it seem weird if they asked you to be? Just think about it.