Where’s Your Head At – The Tortoise or The Hare?
The biggest thing that holds us back is ourselves. We often kick the can down the road, avoiding any task that requires a little effort or discomfort, especially if we do not get instant gratification from that task. Think of the motivation we get to go to the gym. We go and buy the clothes to get started, a big tub of protein powder, join a gym then go crazy over training for a week or two, followed by another couple of weeks in the sauna and steam room after a poor excuse for a workout. Then we can’t be bothered to make the effort of going there and making the time before or after work. Then we have the audacity to moan about the lack of results.
Paying out that money and researching the best gear is not going to make you healthier. You are only paying for access to the equipment and classes that can help you improve your health. Like everything worth doing it takes an investment of time and effort.
We always talk about ways to get motivated in every part of our life. Motivation is amazing and can help us achieve incredible things, but do not fall into the trap. Motivation is not always the first part of the process, nor by any means the most important part of it. A sprout of motivation from an idea may help you get started, but when the investment of time and effort gain some results, true motivation kicks in, with more power and lasts longer.
So, why is motivation not the most important thing?
Let’s take the classic Tortoise and the Hare story. Most people look at the Hare and think WoW, look at the speed and the energy. Then the Tortoise looks slow and lethargic, almost as if it’s about to fall asleep as it takes in slow deep breaths through its wrinkled old neck.
Who would you be expecting to win?
For obvious reasons, the majority of people think the Hare is going to win. Naturally, because everyone wants to be the Hare, they will also work extra hard as the aspire to be more like the Hare. They admire the Hare. It is clearly a champion that inspires motivation. Looking at the Tortoise in comparison; it has no chance of winning. Does it?
The Tortoise is not focused on the crowd, or the overconfident Hare for that matter. The Tortoise is not there for the attention, it is there to win the race. The destination is set. There is a planned route to the destination. Ultimately, knowing and aiming for the destination means, even if obstacles get thrown on the path, the Tortoise can simply adjust course. What makes the adjustments simple is the fact that the Tortoise is calm and steady, persevering at a consistent manageable pace, allowing for recalculations for the coming obstacles. It only needs a variable in the form of one question, ‘What direction takes me closer to the destination?’.
Commitment becomes manageable when managed.
A target or destination is only a dream until you plan a route to it. Once you have your route, forget about the noise of the crowds cheering the Hare. Forget about the Hare, who’s on a fast track to burnout. Forget about the people who don’t understand why you are going to the destination, or worse they think you can’t. Be the Tortoise, figure out your destination. A why to what (in this case the destination) also helps. Map out your route, if you see any potential issues take note. Then just like the Tortoise, calmly focus on one step at a time. The trick to getting results is not motivation, it is consistency.
Think of the half-filled glass, adding or subtracting a droplet of water everyday may not seem much, but before you know it, the glass will become completely empty, or completely full. We become what we consistently do because it’s the consequence of what we do. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware and conscientious of what and why we do (anything).
It took me a while to find my feet and get moving because I spent a long time listening to friends, family and “experts” tell me what I should do (in hindsight, I should’ve questioned more on how they know). I have also read and listened to many books, which I always recommend, however remember some have great content, others not so much and it is hard to tell them apart sometimes. Books should sharpen your train of thought not become it. I also went through overplanning, writing an insane amount of notes to never read, that end up all over the place, hoarding them all in case there is a gem I’ll never find (needle in a haystack), and anything else I could think of to avoid doing what I should be.
What changed is I had a wake-up call that made life become a lot more serious. I went from wanting to needing. As I sat isolated worrying, anxious and unsure as to what was going to happen next. I started to reflect on all the time wasted. Busy and burnt out doing everything to achieve nothing. That was the point, I was doing everything. Why? Well because something has got to work, right? Wrong. Looking back, it seems so obvious, unfocused energy is not drive or gumption, it’s chaos. How can anyone purposely hit a target without aiming at it. You can have all the want and will in the world, without direction it will dissipate.
Perfection in one’s first shot may not always be attainable, but at least it’ll be in the right direction once the target is clear. I had read, heard, seen, and even experienced this, the epiphany was not the knowledge, it was the clarity of understanding. I had become extremely aware of what I had to do. In that moment I sprung to life and went on the hunt for a pen and paper, luckily my wife kindly assisted me to find them in an attempt to stop me ripping all the draws and cupboards out. As a side note, I make a point of having a pen(cil) and paper nearby, at all times, as a smartphone distracts from the thought.
On that paper I wrote, “Less Time Guessing = Less Time Stressing”.
When I got home, I walked right through to my office/studio building and tacked it to a door, so I see it every day before and after work. I also bought a nice notebook and wrote my main target on the last page.
When I moved from the Hare to the Tortoise other elements clicked into place. Nothing worth doing comes easy, that does not mean to say that we need to make it unnecessarily difficult. Be realistic, be focused, have a manageable plan, and focus on one step at a time. Speeding up, slowing down or side stepping could be necessary on occasion, fine, then go back to the manageable pace. Do not stress, these things are part of the journey. The commitment to consistently persevere towards your destination/goal/target is what will get you there.
Money can come and go, time just goes. Procrastination is a wasteful expulsion of the single most valuable asset of our lives, we can never recover or earn more, yet we throw our time about like we have an unlimited supply. One certainty in life is we do not.
Use YOUR time wisely!
I know there are many WPO-Members that are really going for it and doing well, but there are some revving to go but, their tires are just digging into the mud.
I wrote this article because I have heard so many people repeat the same things. Stuck in the same spot burning energy and spinning into the ground until they are burnt-out and stuck in a rut. I really empathise as it’s not nice and no good. It’s bad for your bank balance, bad for your work/life balance, bad for your family and critically bad for your health.
As everyone is at different steps in their journey this article may or not be relevant to you. Anyway, if you have got anything out of this article and would like to see more let me know. I would be happy to write further on self-development and/or mindset if anyone would find it useful.
Let me know if this is something you would like to see.
Hi Guys and Gals,
I am spending my holidays creating a ‘teaser’ course for a launch of our new business in the next month.
One of the lessons is ‘Roofer in a rut – how to get out’.
Part of this lesson is a video.
Here is the link;
(you may need to copy and paste in your browser)
All the best for 2022.
Thanks for sharing Jack! I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hoffman. ;o)
Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed the video. 🙂
Good luck with your new business I hope it’s brings a fruitful and prosperous 2022.