Somewhere beneath the surface of everyday life, you can feel it beating. Like a war drum announcing a vicious onslaught, this drum beats louder the longer you wait.
This beating serves as a call to something greater. Something more than you’re currently giving yourself and the world.
The greatest version of yourself, whatever that means to you, is pounding away from the inside, trying to beat it’s way out.
But too often, we ignore this call. Accepting our current trajectory as the only possibility. We pretend we don’t hear it, and assume it will go away.
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” -Abraham Moslow
Ignoring this call leads to an ever-growing pile of regrets, and causes us to look to the future with anxiety. Ignoring the call is like poison for our soul.
Now, the call isn’t always to something earth shattering. Often, it’s a pull to make decisions that better serve you and the people you love.
It could be putting down the food that’s poisoning your body. Starting an exercise plan and improving your physical health. Or waking up early to read or meditate.
In any case, it’s calling your name, which leaves you with a decision to make.
The first step is admitting you hear your call to action, and acknowledge that a change needs to be made. This leads you to a tough decision: Rise to the occasion, or continue down the easy road?
The easy road is lined with regret, and leads to feelings of discontent in your growth. To deal with these feelings, many will seek constant distraction. Either from drugs, alcohol, scrolling the ‘gram, or burying themselves in purposeless activity.
But answering the call has it’s own set of challenges; mainly fear, self-doubt, and anxiety.
The Great Resistance
Humans are wired for consistency, which makes creating new habits challenging. So much so, changing our daily habits can threaten who we think we are. We can have every reason in the world to change, but we’re still going to face resistance.
I remember when I first launched my blog and my business. I was working 90 hours a week in the Canadian oilfield, and I felt that pounding on the inside of my chest.
It was a call to teach people how to change their life through health and fitness, but I faced a lot of resistance.
Up to that point, I’d identified as a dumb jock. A guy who could run fast, jump high, and lift heavy things. But I was far from studious. I didn’t even read books, and I definitely was not a writer.
But I felt the call, and I answered it. I’m glad I did because this is a more fullfilling life than I could have come up with on my own.
But let me tell you, when I hit ‘publish’ for the first time, I felt like my world was on the verge of disintegrating.
I’d just shared a piece of myself, I spoke as an authority, and I sent it out for the entire internet to judge. It scared me to death.
“Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” -Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Making these changes is just straight-up uncomfortable. So to deal with these feelings of discomfort, we often blame our lack of action on something else.
“I want to ______ but I need some motivation. Send me some please.”
This is where many people get stuck. They blame their lack of action on a lack of motivation. Really, it’s fear, anxiety, and self-doubt that’s holding them back.
It’s easy to pretend you aren’t taking action because you couldn’t care less. It’s a lot harder to admit it’s because you’re doubting your ability to succeed.
So, if self-doubt is what’s holding us back, how do we get rid of it?
I’d love to tell you there’s a ‘trick’ or ‘hack’ for getting rid of self doubt. But the truth is, you don’t get rid of it. You put your head down, and run straight through it.
The only way to decrease those negative feelings, build confidence, and achieve the goal, is to take action. And that action needs to be in direct opposition to your fears and self-doubts.
There’s not a person alive who doesn’t have fear, anxiety, and self-doubt. These feelings are like a right of passage to becoming the greatest version of yourself. Embrace them, because they mean you’re on the right track.
Now, there’s one more sneaky way we’ll sabotage ourselves, keeping us from taking action.
By over-researching — reading all the articles, books, YouTube videos, etc — we trick ourselves into feeling like we’re taking action. Really, it’s just a slick form of procrastination.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t learn. But learn as you go. Don’t let learning be another excuse not to act.
First, take a vicious audit of your daily habits, and drop the ones that contradict your goal. As Bruce Lee said...
“It’s not about a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessential.”
Next, replace those old habits with things you know you should be doing more of. Workouts, healthy meals, meditations, studying, etc.
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
The greatest version of you is beating on your chest from the inside, and you’re left with a decision to make.
You can take the easy road, and continue with your current trajectory. Or you can answer the call, look your resistance in the eyes, and reach your greatest potential.
There’s no easy choice. One road is risky. The other kills your spirit in exchange for security.
But the beautiful thing is, the choice is all yours.
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