A silly story is told about a farmer who stopped by his neighbors' home to let them know them that their son was stuck in a mud hole. "How deep is he sunk?" the boy's father asked.
"About to his knees," the farmer
replied. He looked decidedly unconcerned.
"Well," said the father, "only
up to his knees -- we've got time to set awhile an' jaw before we go."
"I don't think so," the visitor
answered. "He's in head first."
As ridiculous as it is, the story suggests that
there is a time to wait and there is a time to act. Wisdom is knowing which to
Some of us err on the side of jumping in and
doing without thinking it through first. I have done that more than once. I've
acted impulsively and regretted my haste later.
However, I sometimes catch myself erring on the
other side. I too often over-think a project or problem and put off doing
anything about it almost indefinitely. Which may not be a problem if I postpone
a little project around the house or reading a particular book on my shelf. The
project and the book will still be there tomorrow. Some things can wait with no
dire consequences and I don't want to be enslaved by my to-do list.
But what if we're talking about something
important...like fixing a relationship or making needed life changes? I call
that life work. Though usually not urgent, it is some of the most important
work a person can do. And the cost of putting off vital life work is often
higher than one might realize. Broken relationships that could have been
satisfying bring heartache. Attitudinal or behavioral changes never addressed
will impede your personal growth and happiness for years. And what about those
beautiful life dreams never pursued? Life work.
I appreciate these words from writer Og
Mandino: “To be always intending to make a new and better life but never to
find time to set about it is as … to put off eating and drinking and sleeping
from one day to the next until you’re dead.” It never seems very urgent any
particular day, but to leave crucial life work behind can be one of the most
destructive decisions a person can make.
Here is an important question. A year from
now how will you feel about not beginning that life work you may be putting off
today? Just beginning it may be all that is needed for now.
Since I began this piece with a silly story,
let me end with another one. A golfer had an absolutely horrible day at the
links. His ball lay on an anthill and he swung viciously with a five-iron.
Again and again he missed the ball and chopped away at the hill, killing ants
and sending sand flying through the air. One frightened ant turned to another
and said in panic, “We’d better get on the ball if we want to stay alive!”
And that's the point -- if you have been
putting off important life work, then this is your nudge to get on the ball.
I guarantee this ... a year from now you'll be
glad you did.
-- Steve Goodier (Life Support System)