“People who succeed reach decisions promptly, and change them -if at all- very slowly
People who fail to reach decisions -if at all- very slowly and change them frequently and quickly”
-Napolean Hill, Think and Grow Rich
When I first read this statement, I honestly didn’t quite understand what it really meant. But as I read it over repeatedly, I began to understand what it meant for my life. For so long, my thought space had been filled with indecisiveness. This constant indecision acomplished nothing other than exhausting my brain over the years. I was repetitively asking for the opinions of others before I made decisions, constantly seeking to find the most efficient ways of doing things. But all I was searching for was self-validation and short cuts.
Self-Validation and Comfort
It’s difficult when you’re young to make an important decision in your life without the approval of our friends and family. We all want support, we all want to feel comfortable. My whole life I have worked for that seal of approval from my friends and family by seeking the opinions of others for every decision I made. Now this support wasn’t inherently a bad thing, but I ended up being unable to make decisions for myself.
The problem is that most of our friends and family usually will accept us for who we are and some of them don’t want to see us change because it makes them feel uncomfortable. When I was overweight, I would ask my friends, “Do you think I’m getting fat?” and most of the time their response would be “oh no you look fine.” Yeah, I guess I looked “fine” in their eyes, but deep down I knew the truth. I was fat and unhealthy and listening to their opinions of me was just a way to avoid the truth.
And here is the reality, I was scared to make a decision on my own because I knew I would be responsible for that decision entirely. And that scared the shit out of me, I wasn’t ready to fail on my own, I wanted that comfort. I wanted a safety net. As I was writing my first blog post I felt so good about myself until I got to the point when I had to make a decision whether or not to share it. It was a raw and honest reflection of my life and I had no idea how people were going to perceive it.
What are my friends and family going to think when they see this?
Do I really want everyone in my life to know about me THIS personally?
What are people going to think about all the profanity?
The only thing holding me back from hitting that publish button was the lack of confidence to make my own damn decision for once. What if I did fail? What if every person that read the post thought it was stupid and labeled me as a fraud in their heads? This kind of negative thinking has infested in my head thoughout my life as intrusions of cockroaches infest the walls of a neglected apartment building. I had many “ideas” and “plans,” but have failed to take any significant action because I lacked confidence in myself. I hadn’t asked anyone if they thought it was a good idea if I made this blog, I just did it. It was uncomfortable because it was MY decision entirely.
Short-Cuts and Taking Action
The problem with reaching decisions quickly and changing them slowly is you will have a feeling in your gut that there is always a better way of doing what you’re doing. You will see other people lifting more weight, running faster, and making more money and you will want to know what they are doing that’s different. We have all heard it, the grass is always greener on the other side. And as cliché as that may seem, it’s true. On January 1, 2019, I took action and ran a 10k untrained to start the New Year. I felt like a badass, I had accomplished something that I had never done before and I was excited to take it to the next level. I wanted to be a runner, I wanted to chase that high of accomplishment. So I made a plan, by January 1, 2020, I was going to run a marathon. But guess what? I never ran that marathon.
So what happened?
It is simple, I never took action. I spend hours on hours on YouTube and Google, researching the most optimal training methods after that race, I had a plan when I would run my first half marathon, and I felt so good about starting my journey. But I became comfortable, I didn’t actually want to work as hard as I did the day I ran the 10k. I never actually put on my shoes and started running. I fell in love with the idea of running a marathon, but I wasn’t mentally ready to put in the work.
This has happened many times in my life, I had a plan to do something, but I ended up never executing the plan. For so long I have looked for the quick fix, expecting things to turn around overnight. I have always looked for the fastest, most optimal way to get from point A to point B. Why? Because I was afraid to put in the work. I was afraid to fail. I didn’t have the confidence in myself to overcome obstacles.
The problem with this kind of thinking is I had trained my mind to seek the path of least resistance. When I started running, I sucked at it. I would quit running before I could finish a single mile and I would look at my Apple Watch and say, “wow the GPS on this thing must be totally off I definitely have run a mile by now.” I had a weak mentality. But every run I’ve gone on since then I have been able to endure more and more mental anguish. Am I ready to run a marathon right now? HELL NO. But I know that pushing myself to action and putting in real work every single day is the only way to get there. I could spend all day on Google researching how to train effectively, but the progress I have made so far is from taking real action instead of spending my time weighing all the options.
At the end of the day, I realize I still have a ton to learn. I am a human and I won’t always make the right decision, but I will do my damn best to not let others’ opinions be the deciding factor on whether or not I make a decision for myself. And I sure as hell won’t continue sitting around waiting for the right time or most optimal way to take action.