A friend called a few weeks ago, asking for help.
It wasn’t help he was seeking as much as suggestions as to how he could “motivate” himself in order to focus his energies on building his business rather than spending time addressing those many things that challenge us all by nipping away at our heels, vying for our attention while often offering comfort and relief from doing what we know we should be – and don’t feel like – doing.
One of the great myths we have been sold is the ridiculous declaration, knowledge is power.
Nothing could possibly be further from the truth.
Not for a nanosecond am I discounting the immense value of knowledge. Knowledge acquired through education, experience and just from being alive is an immeasurably valuable asset that can mightily enrich every facet of our lives.
And yet, in and of itself, knowledge yields no power. It is merely data.
Power comes not from what we know, but from what we do with what we know.
So, when my friend called and, said, in exasperation, “I know better than that,” he was trapping himself in the commonly held misconceptions that cons us into thinking that because we know better, we will do better.
And then he asked the key question: “why do I keep doing this?”
Before answering his question, I reminded him of that famous line from Jack Nicholson in the movie a few good men, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.”
You see, the true answer to his question of why he keeps allowing himself to be distracted from doing those things necessary to building his business is quite simply because it is not important enough.
Now I know from sharing this tidbit of wisdom with others that a statement like that often opens the floodgates of angry responses and denials, but the truth is, if building his business was more important than whatever other activity he chooses to do instead, he would be doing it. Because the simple fact is, we only ever do one thing: we do what is most important to us in the moment.
It is worth repeating: we only ever do one thing: we do what is most important to us in the moment.
We decide what we are going to do (what is important to us) to either gain pleasure or to avoid pain. Those are the only two determinants that drive our actions.
And we frequently choose to avoid immediate pain at the expense of delaying (or denying ourselves) future pleasure. It is, for example, easier (in the present moment) to take time out to meet a friend for coffee than it is to stay in the office and subject yourself to the potential rejection brought on by calling strangers with a sales pitch even though doing so regularly will ensure a great deal of pain and discomfort at some point in the future.
My friend is in the network marketing business and his success is dependent on recruiting, and then helping, others build successful businesses. It is a business with unlimited potential, however, the pathway to that potential is often filled with rejection and disappointment.
My friend is also a competitive bodybuilder who, by his own admission, spends far more time in the gym than needed.
After a somewhat lengthy conversation, he grudgingly admitted that going to the gym was a far more comforting and rewarding experience than making phone calls and meeting with people who may have neither interest nor desire in listening to his business proposition.
And he painfully acknowledged he was trading the future he wanted to not have to do the uncomfortable things necessary to assure that future.
I suspect most of us have been guilty of the very same thing.
So, what do we do to change this?
I’ll keep you in suspense until next week.
Till we read again.