The Right Thing

So, I have been introspecting as well as making some changes in my life. (It IS the New Year, you know!)

Example of my to-do list: 

  • Start running with the plan to run a race of still-to-be-determined-length before I turn 40 this June
  • Continue to develop Project:IDWIL
  • Expand my comfort zone with the intent to grow - perhaps in directions that I can’t foresee at this moment
  • Keep my house (life, mind, desk, etc.) more organized
  • Clean up finances
  • Recognize shortfalls and confront head on

These, and other aspects of my life, have been attempted before - I’m not gonna lie. 

 They have been attempted and did not end in outrageously dramatic ways - they faded, pathetically and unassumingly. I usually make the assumption that the failures are the result of ‘lack of discipline’ or ‘procrastination’ or ‘distraction’ or ‘other peoples’ affect on me (ie. blame)’ or whatever.  Sometimes those are true and valid points.  I had an epiphany today that lead me to believe that those things that get in the way, whether true or not, are just superficial obstacles, and that even getting past them still won’t be the full measurement of success. 

For me, there is a deeper/broader light that I need to work toward

. I think that this could be true for others.


Okay, not the greatest version of my little post-it note artwork

, but the deeper/broader thing that I am now using as my focus is quickly asking if (for whatever decision is being made) it "is the right thing to do?" I believe that if I am consistent in working on this personal focus, I may be able to attract, connect with, and lead like-minded folks - not necessarily my goal, but definitely something that is needed when working toward a vision like Project:IDWIL.

"The Right Thing To Do" in action:

Let’s take my running goal for instance. For you, it may be ‘exercise more’ or ‘eat better,’ but the default motivation for the majority of us when we start creating this type of goal is that we want to lose weight, resolve health issues, look more attractive to others, get that damn endorphin high that those other people always talk about, get outside more, be more active, and countless other reasons of varying nobility.  These are all motivational and plenty of people do well enough using them as that carrot on a stick.  Plenty of other people do what I do; which is stop chasing that carrot because we realize we won’t get it or find a different carrot to chase. 

My new mindset is “run if you want to run” or more specifically “run because you enjoy running.” If running is the right thing for me to do, then I’ll run, dammit. How you come to the conclusion of whether it is the ‘right thing to do’ is up to you. Maybe losing weight is the main (but not only) part of why it is the right thing to do - and going by that statement, act on "because it is the right thing to do"part instead of the "I want to lose weight"part. If you are running so that you can compare stats from run to run, then you are focused on a short-sided reasoning. If you are running because you feel like running, then you are on the right track (pun not intended until I re-read it and now it is intended because it is so clever). 

Think “Forrest Gump”!! (BTW, this goal was inspired by reading the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.) If we look at the goal of expanding my comfort zone, then we can again see the obvious reasons why I or anyone who has had a similar goal would want to do such a thing.  I thought “ohhhh, Jake, look beyond ‘feeling more comfortable in new situations’! Think more broadly as in “personal growth”! Right?! Well, sort of. Again, I have to eventually follow the thread back to ‘because it is the right thing to do.’ If I do not expand, then it may mean emotional safety, but also means stagnancy. So, looking at this backwards - expanding is the right thing (for me) to do because not expanding is the wrong thing (for me) to do.

I realize how generic this all is, and I think that it is a good thing.  Quickly asking myself “is it the right thing to do?” is polar thing that may not provide a complete answer, but it can quickly weed out the issues that don’t need to be investigated, which can allow me to focus my energy on the more important endeavors. So, getting a litte deeper, what it boils down to is the issue of how honest you are with yourself and issues of denial.  Life doesn’t need to be as complicated as well often make it. 

So simplify, be honest with yourself, and do the right things.

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