If you are not progressing toward your BIG goal, or you don’t have a BIG goal, two questions can help get you back on track and hit the target. Ask and answer these two questions from time to time to keep embracing the Excelerated Life™.
How To Hit The Target
Here is something about me — I never make the same mistake twice. I make the same mistakes 10, 15, sometimes dozens of times. And because the Universe rewards action, I get feedback from each mistake and learn from it.
Imagine you are throwing a ball at a target that is 100 yards away. Are you going to hit the target on your first try? Well, that isn’t likely. But you toss the ball and let’s say it goes about 30 feet. Now, you get to go stand where the ball fell. Throw again. This time, it goes 40 feet but to the right. The Universe rewards your action and you move to where the ball is. You can see that if you keep doing this, eventually you’ll hit the target. Each throw is rewarded. Your target doesn’t move . . . but you do.
There are two questions you can ask yourself periodically to check if you are on track to hit the target of creating the life you want. If you feel like you’re stuck — not changing or making progress — asking and answering these two questions can give you some good insights.
The two questions are: What do I want to do? and Why am I not doing it?
What do I want to do?
This doesn’t only mean “what do I want to do with the rest of my life?” although it could mean that. But also, what do you want to do in the next 3 or five years? In the next year? the next month? today?
Is there a major goal you want to achieve? An injustice you want to see righted? Help you want to give or receive? There are books to read . . . and write. Songs to compose. Movies to see. Art to create. Gardens to tend. The list is endless, limited only by the imagination, which has no limits except those that are self-imposed. If you don’t know, ask the question, then listen quietly for the answer to come to you from within yourself.
Why am I not doing it?
There are any number of reasons for not doing and achieving the things we say we want. Here are 5 of the big ones:
When faced with a new and unknown situation, we receive a burst of energy with a shot of adrenaline. Our focus sharpens. Our breathing quickens to take in extra oxygen. The heart speeds up to move the oxygen to our brains and muscles where it’s needed. This is the feeling we describe as “excitement”. It’s also the emotion we describe as “fear”. Two emotions, two perceptions, but virtually the same physical symptoms.
Many people see fear as a wall at the edge of their comfort zone. They approach the wall, feel the feelings they describe as “fear” and turn back. The secret is in the perception. Fear is not a wall. It’s actually a tool to help you deal appropriately and effectively with a new experience.
“If you do the thing you fear to do,” said James K. Van Fleet, “you will gain the power to do it. If you do not do the thing you fear to do, you will never gain the power to do it.” [Van Fleet] Call it “fear” or call it “excitement” but use this tool to help you do the thing you want to do.
Discouragement asks “what’s the use? Why should I even try, I’ll just fail . . . again.” Discouragement is that feeling of apathy, of being disheartened. Discouragement saps you of enthusiasm for doing what you want to do.
The key to overcoming discouragement lies in the root of the word — courage. Courage is not the absence of fear (there’s that word again). Courage is the decision to act in spite of fear. You can do this by removing the dis and replacing it with en.
Think of encouragement as your cheerleader. When Discouragement chants “Give up! Give up! Give up!”, Encouragement retaliates with “DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!” [McWilliams]
Discouragement will come up as you seek to do the thing you want to do. Be prepared for discouragement and use it as a reminder to ask for the courage and encouragement you require to continue on the path.
“Unworthiness,” says Peter McWilliams, “keeps us on track.” “Just as ‘We can have anything we want, we just can’t have everything we want,’ so, too, we are worthy of anything we want, but not worthy of everything we want.” [McWilliams]
An old joke goes: “You can’t have everything. Besides, where would you put it?” Similarly, you can’t be worthy of everything, when would you do it? The fact is, we all have a finite number of days, weeks, months, years. You just aren’t going to have the time to do “everything”. But you can do the things that are important to you.
As Peter McWilliams suggests, you can use the feeling of being unworthy as a pointer for the important things. You are already worthy, you have worth, just from the fact that you were born into the world. Never lose sight of that fact. But when you feel unworthy of doing certain things, use that as a marker to get you back on track for what you really want.
Whole books — and a good number of them — have been written on the subject of procrastination and how to overcome it. Procrastination seems to be one of my spiritual gifts. Here are some of the tactics I’ve found helpful to put off procrastinating.
Have a plan. Plan your day in advance. This removes some decisions (“Should I do this or that?”) and allows you to make a habit of doing tasks in a specific order or at a specific time. Plan larger, complex tasks by breaking them down into smaller steps, so you know what you will do first, what you will do second, and so on.
Tackle your hardest or most onerous job first. Getting it out of the way gives you a boost for the rest of the day.
Set a liveline (deadline sounds so negative) and tie it to a reward. If you know a job has a deadline of Friday, set Wednesday as your liveline. Decide in advance how you will reward yourself for finishing early, then be sure to enjoy that reward when you meet your liveline.
Don’t Know What I Want
Do you find yourself asking, “What should I do?” The answer to that is “Don’t mess with the ‘shoulds'”. So says Mike Dooley, author and sender of “Notes from the Universe“.
If you have something to do now but don’t like what you are doing, continue to do it until you master it. Master what you are doing. You can’t do what you want by not doing anything. When you master what you are doing, you’ll be given something else to do.
If you don’t know what you want, then give yourself a deadline, er, liveline — two weeks or two days — and do something, anything. The only mistake you can make is doing nothing.
“I have a firmly-held belief,” says Cathy Stucker, the Idea Lady, “that it is better to do the wrong thing than nothing. Any action you take will lead you closer to your goal.” God will guide you in the right direction, but only if you are moving to begin with. God will not pick you up and place you where you need to be. Do what you can.
Live On Purpose
If you are not making the progress you want to make or you’re not creating the life you want to live, stop. How can you hit the target? Remember your purpose. Then take some time to ask yourself: What do I want to do? Why am I not doing it? Finding the answers to these two questions can get you moving again. And that is embracing the Excelerated Life™!
Taking Excelerated Action™ in pursuit of your goals is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
McWilliams, Peter. Do It! Let’s Get Off Our Buts. Allen Park, MI: Mary Books / Prelude Press, 1991, 1994
VanFleet, James K. 21 Days To Unlimited Power With People. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1992