“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
When we’re young, we’re invincible.
We go with our gut instinct or just for the hell of it.
As we age, we become more considered but, in the process, lose our nerve.
Stop and focus.
What is it you dream of?
- To be happy?
- To be loved?
- To be at peace with who you are?
- To make a difference?
- To make a dent in the Universe?
To effect change, we have to act. That means choosing one thing over another. More often than not, we know what we should do – we’re not that dumb. But, yet, we succumb to our Lizard brain – the internal voice that makes us timid.
I have waxed lyrical about The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. I consider it the best book written on breaking our habit of procrastination. If you haven’t got a copy, I will send you one for free.
But, even allowing for the import of the book, you have to do something different.
You have to chose a new path.
Many writers will extol the virtue of going big. They will say jump into the void and your wings will appear. I don’t think that sensible. Most people will, when presented with the status quo or a new path, remain in stasis.
Take starting a business. The choice for many is to continue working in cubicle nation or starting down a risky, potentially fatal road.
If you read the various new business websites they are bulging at the seams with great advice: the due diligence that needs to be undertaken; the extent of the regulatory burden; and even how to turn a profit. But few of them address the move out of your mental danger zone.
Even if they did suggest you read The War of Art, you would still be faced with the choice of doing something brand new or sticking with what you know.
My advice, and it applies right across my practice, is to encourage you to look at the smallest possible step you can take that will, if built upon, make the eventual do or die decision not only less frightening but an easier decision to reach. If this has a ring of Kaisen, you wouldn’t be far off.
In the case of starting a business, it might be something as small as reading a website in your intended space for a week or ordering a catalogue to read one page at a time. It could be writing down one thing a day that you need to do before you start your business. The thing is when we are confronted with too big a choice our brain shuts down. But, if the chasm has been crossed beyond at least the half way point, chances are we will not only commit the rest of the way, but stick with our choice.
Right now you might be feeling a tad sceptical, but making a choice to do the smallest thing in the direction of travel of your intended goal is far better than: (a) making no decision at all; (b) trying to do everything in one go; or (c) making the wrong decision.
The thing is with Kaisen, you will have plenty of time to get into the grove; and whilst I wouldn’t want you to pull out mid-way through the process, it’s far more like you will know if your decision is the right one by taking small steps.
Back to the life picture.
If you know your life could be better, don’t be afraid to write down what it is you really want. This might take you a while but even the act of committing pen to paper will start to unlock the creative mind so essential to life change. If you write down one word per day that will be a lot more than most people do who leave everything to chance.
Choices are never easy but don’t put off the ones that have the power to make the biggest difference by dint of that bloody Lizard.
Start small, keep the faith that things will change, and you will end up making better decisions as a consequence.