All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve
is the direct result of his own
Often we talk about doing things like starting a diet, getting a new mindset, overcoming an addiction; we fail to mention that it is much simpler to talk about a thing then to do a thing.
Smoking and paying bills
Let me try to give you a personal example. I am an ex-smoker. My Dad was a smoker and I picked it up initially when I was a teenager, but it didn’t stick. During my residency training, I started smoking again. It started during the particularly stressful part of my training, in the emergency room.
I can clearly remember the coordinator of the emergency room saying, “This will be the easiest rotation you ever have, you get half the month off.” Obviously there was a great deal of sarcasm buried in that statement. What he meant was that for 8 weeks we would work 12 hour shifts. Mid-month we would switch with the people on the opposite end of the shift. This meant that half of us would get a 24 hour respite and the other half would work a solid 24 hours. Guess which group I landed in?
I discovered that I enjoyed the rotation for the most part, but was very tired. I started drinking more coffee to stay “up” and focused. I also started smoking again. You could only pee on so many of your 5 minute breaks and if you go outside everyone standing by the hospital is smoking.
Eventually after training and children I was able to drop the habit again. Cold turkey didn’t work initially, so I tried some “aids.” Dismal failures, all. I smoked with the nicotine patch on my arm and I smoked with the nicotine gum in my mouth. And, amazingly cold turkey was the ultimate answer. I haven’t smoked in over 25 years and I have no intention of starting again. But, I recognize it for the addiction that it is.
But smoking isn’t what I really wanted to talk about……
Our minds become fixated by a particular set of circumstances and ideas and they are not easily dropped. Even though the reality of our situations change, that little cog of a memory does not.
I have noticed this in myself when I pay my bills. I grew up in a very poor family and didn’t have a lot of extra in college or in the early days of my career. I can vividly remember times when I was not able to pay bills and sweating over which bill to pay and which bill to skip.
But that is not the reality of my current situation. I am gainfully employed and always have a little extra in the bank. But I still dread paying bills. I still procrastinate and put it off as much as I can. When I sit down to do it, it takes less than 30 minutes and everything is more than adequately covered. But I have come to realize that buried somewhere deep within my psyche are the vestiges of poverty-stricken days, filled with endless “what ifs.”
This is where I think a lot of us (you and me) get stuck. We are living out the scenarios of darker, meaner and maybe even more loveless days and we never allow ourselves to breathe, relax and enjoy our current, brighter reality.
So, what am I asking?
I want you to pick something that you “hate” doing and re-frame it to your current situation.
We spend a lot of time worrying, when we should be spending our time doing.
Pick one thing and let me know how it works for you in its new frame.
photo credit: http://compfight.com/search/frame-sky/1-3-1-1