Ever wonder how people get to the place they are in life? Do you even look at your own life and find a sense of amazement, for better or for worse, at how you arrived in the place you are?
It’s incredible, really, how many choices we make each day. In fact, researchers estimate we make as many as 3,500 decisions every day — that’s 3 or 4 choices every waking minute. With the constant stimulation of our cell phones & the lovely always-accessible interweb, I would bet that average is going up as technology advances.
So, thanks for deciding to read this! Our focus today is the MASSIVE IMPACT (can you hear me yelling that?;) of these seemingly small decisions and the truth of the snowball effect: that a little can turn into a LOT.
I’ll tell you why this is on my mind today – I just did something CRAZY (yelling, louder now:!) this past weekend. It started with a seemingly small, yet ballsy decision I made three years ago when I *decided* to sign up for a half marathon training program. I still remember leaving the Downtown Oakland offices of the American Heart Association, nervous, excited and scared at what I had just proclaimed I would do. EEEEK! I think that’s what I posted on fb in that moment. At that point I had no idea whether I would actually complete the program but I decided I could commit to showing up for the first mile-long run that Saturday, and would go from there.
This Sunday I ran a 50K. For my fellow Americans that’s 31.7 f*ing miles, and its something I never thought I could or would do. (Side note, if you’re jealous, please read my last post, sign up for a 5k or more & start running. You can.) Point here is, there were so many little choices along the way that led me into the realm of awesomely crazy ultra-running. Had I not taken the little steps, and a few big leaps, I would not have signed up for, ran, or completed my race on Sunday.
So people ask, how did you get so into running? My answer: A little can turn into a lot. In this case, one mile somehow turned in to 31.
Now I’d like to invite you to think of something that seems CRAZY out of reach for you right now, but you know you want. It may be a simple goal like running a race, it may be an emotional goal (feel happiness everyday), a relational goal (a peaceful relationship with my –), a career or a life goal (write a book, travel the world). These are just parenthetical examples. Choose yours now!
Before going any further, I want to call out two major blocks that stop us dead in our tracks: Sneaky superstitions and (bless him!) Murphy’s Law.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Murphy’s Law asserts (in feeling more than in words) that anything that can go wrong, will. That the second you proclaim your amazing new rocket car works and unveil it to an audience the power switch will not ignite. For those of you around in the late 90s, Alanis Morisette’s song Ironic is has a ton of great examples of Murphy’s Law (more so than irony, even!).
As we’ve discussed, sometimes things are in fact shitty, no doubt. In those moments we can be tempted to look to Murphy’s Law and strengthen our belief in it. However, in any instance, in any decision we make there are a RAINBOW of possibilities, positive, neutral, negative and anything combination or gradient in between. So rather than drinking the Murphy’s Law Kool Aid (Oh Yeah!), can you recognize, particularly when there is a cacophony of shittiness, the myriad pathways that may untangle the web?
We use Murphy’s Law to cope when fear has taken over or things outside of our control disappoint us. There are many other sneaky little superstitions that are similar to Murphy’s Law that can creep in and knock you down before you’ve fallen. Can you identify some of yours? Ask yourself:
- Where are you afraid that things will not work out for you?
- Where do you get superstitious?
This tells you, kind of like jealousy, that you have something big at stake! So when you find these superstitions arising, take a moment to simply recognize what it is there that is important to you. And, if or when you get fearful, get busy exploring the OTHER options that could occur.
Allow me one more running story, please (I just ran a 50k for god’s sake, I’m still running every night in my dreams!). When I used to run alone, I would often think of Newton’s laws of physics, and each time I made the choice to switch from walking to running I would encourage myself along with the mantra, “objects in motion tend to stay in motion, objects at rest stay at rest. Inertia swings both ways:)
This sense of momentum, we’ll call it, that comes from getting something going and continuing with it, can make for a truly awesome ride. Just this morning I had a client come to tears when he realized that things are beginning to snowball in his life in a POSITIVE way. Can you imagine?! What would it look like if, from wherever you are right now, your mind, your health, your life took a turn for the better and kept right on going.
Its actually NOT funny how often we stop ourselves from feeling joy, from fully expressing or from expecting something will go well. Even the most optimistic of us can get annoyed when someone seems to blindly assume that everything will work out. BUT, do we really win? How many times have you wrestled, feared, caught yourself up about something and had it turn out to be… not a big deal. How many times has your anxiety gone up and MADE it a big deal, when it didn’t need to be? How many times have you stopped yourself from going a direction you want to go?
Just a few tips today to help you realize what you are choosing:
1. Keep track, for one minute, one hour or one day, of your decisions. It’s almost impossible to catch them all, since there are so many that happen outside of our awareness, but bring that extra level of awareness to yourself and take mental or physical note of when and what you decide. Recognize, especially, your habitual decisions, best you can.
2. Add an extra layer of awareness to scan for fear-based decision making. Am I selling myself short? Am I giving in to a fearful superstition or Murphy’s Law so I don’t have to try or to go through the scary process of growth?
3. Watch for transitions – kind of like the law of inertia – notice when you can intercept a fear-based decision and replace it with a loving, positive, hopeful or even risky one. Notice where you can choose to honor your inspiration, your love, your heart, rather than fear.
I think this quote sums it all up well:
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
― Lao Tzu
So, this week, pay particular attention to your decisions and see how they are paving the way for your life. When in doubt, do what feels lighter, freeing, hopeful even if you have to also recognize the fear that is there in order to do so.
Okay kids, that’s all for today!;) Sending you much much love and hoping you’re enjoying your legs not being sore (& RICEing them if they are;).
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