Lesson Four: If You Want It, Reach For It!

“In this world, you only get what you grab for.”  ~Giovanni Boccaccio

One thing I can tell you about tortoises is that if they want something, they seem to be completely single-minded in their attempt to achieve it. People who have pet tortoises refer to them as little bulldozers. They will dig, climb, stretch, and push to get what they want (or where they want).

Tortoises don’t seem to second guess themselves. They don’t seem to overthink their desires. They don’t wait until later to go after what they want. If a turtle sees a flower on a tree that looks delicious, the turtle walks over to the flower, stretches out her neck, pushes up with her front legs, and reaches until the sweet reward is realized.

A phrase I try to live by: “The most dangerous word is ‘someday.’” My parents both died at a relatively young age, and somewhat suddenly. I’m sure each one of them had plans for “someday.” If something is worth doing, choose the day. Schedule it. Make it happen. Do it. Wistfully gazing into the future and hoping that something will happen someday is not very effective. It just directs your mind to the things you don’t have. Instead, focus on what you can do today to get those things.

As Paul Boynton explains in Begin with Yes: “By taking action we often find our optimism or enhance it. We don’t need to ask, ‘How do I feel?’ We need to ask, ‘What can I do?'”

In “The Happiness Equation, Neil Pasricha explains the fallacy in what we often think is the best way to achieve something. Sometimes we feel that we have to spend a lot of time convincing our selves that we CAN do something before we try to do it. He shares this visual to describe that way of thinking.

Then he offers a different way of thinking about this process. Look at the difference in this visual:

For example, if you want to write a book, you could take a course to learn how to write, then create the perfect spot to write, and wait to get inspired. Or…you could sit down and write a page. That first page might not be the best piece of writing ever produced, but you just proved to yourself that you can do it. Your confidence will grow, and so will your motivation. This is a cycle…it keeps the process flowing (as in the circular visual above).

 “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  ~Nelson Mandela

But in reality, what have you got to lose by trying for it…by reaching for it? if you don’t get the thing you wanted, you haven’t lost anything because you didn’t have it to begin with. But if you don’t try, you DEFINITELY will not get it. You’ve lost the opportunity to get it. You’ve lost the opportunity to learn from attempting to get it.

And, if it’s worth going for…it’s worth going for NOW. Take the first, small step.

A challenge for all of us: Consider something you would really like to do or achieve. Write down one small step in that direction you can take TODAY. Do the same thing tomorr0w (one more step you can take – even if it’s small), and the next day. Work toward it…grab for it.

Stay tuned for more Tales from Torti Town.

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