Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today
This is a very powerful phrase. Another American founding father, Benjamin Franklin, is attributed to saying that, “Lost time is never found.” When we sit back and do nothing about something, we can’t get that time back to do it later.
The reason I have been thinking about this is that I recently read a blog post at Tres Meses Hasta Exito. He has a very good blog post recently on just this subject. It’s all in spanish, but I would recommend everyone read it. I am going to quote just one part of it here that I really loved:
Nadie va a hacer cosas para mi. Nadie va a aprender idiomas nuevos o ir al gimnasio o escribir una novela o cualquier cosa yo quiero hacer en mi vida. Tengo que hacer cosas si quiero tener exito. Claro, hay muchas cosas quiero hacer en mi vida, y tal vez no puedo completer todo, pero es cierto que no voy a terminar nada si sigo a decir mañana, mañana, mañana.
Nobody is going to do things for me. Nobody is going to learn new languages or go to the gym or write a novel or anything I want to do in my life. I have to do things if I want to be successful. Sure, there are many things I do in my life, and maybe I can not complete everything, but it’s true that I will not finish anything if I say tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. [emphasis is mine]
I remember reading another blog of the infamous Benny Lewis. I know I had a whole blog post about falling out of love with Benny, if you remember I said that it was over the top title and I don’t really hate Benny. I was really saying that his advice is not always useful to me, because he is on the road all the time and I am not(plus I wanted to vent about his I wont live in America post). So anyway, he wrote a great article about this very subject a while back and you can read it here, but here is an excerpt that I would like to emphasis:
You see the native speaker of your target language, that girl/boy you like, an important person you admire or you could be moments away from clicking “send” on an important e-mail or job application, or pressing that last digit to make an important phonecall.
And then it starts: the self-doubt, the reasons you’ll fail and a need to prepare yourself more with assurances that you’ll be ready “later”.
One of the biggest problems I see people having that holds them back from achieving their goals is caused by thinking too much. When you stop and play out things in your mind, the pessimist side of you takes over.
We do think too much don’t we. I have to wonder though, how many times do we put things off till tomorrow, for some excuse or another, when it’s really because we are scared. Scared of failure or scared what people will think. Scared we will make the wrong decision. I guarantee you, I fit into that group ALL THE TIME.
As the Nike commercial say: Just do it! I am not going to pretend that I have been perfect all my life, but one of the things that motivated me to do this blog about spanish was that I was sick of telling myself that “this wasn’t a good time” or “now I live in New Zealand so spanish isn’t as helpful to learn here.” It is always easier to talk ourselves out of doing something than it is to talk ourselves into it.
That’s easy for you to say, but….
I am not trying to say that it will be easy. I always felt I was shy growing up. Part of this was me putting a label on myself for not being like someone else. I am not one who tends to talk to the person in line with me at the grocery store or talk to the person sitting next to me on the bus. That just not who I am. I do, however, enjoy teaching and speaking in front of crowds. That’s not something that “shy people” do.
But since I judged myself based on what I saw in others, I immediately judged myself as “shy” and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy for a long time in my life. The famous scripture says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Most people assume that means don’t judge others and it does, but I also believe it means don’t judge yourself(give yourself a label) or others will judge you(give you that same label).
But is there an easier way?
I think that question is a problem. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe a lot of good has been done by asking that question. A lot of the advances in our technology has come from people asking if there is an easier way. If the question is asked with the intent to put some hard work behind it, then its a good thing.
I think a problem with many of us in our society is that we ask that same question , but with the intent of being lazy. How can I get rich quick? How can I lose weight quick? How can I get out of debt quick? How can I find someone to marry now. And the list goes on an on.
I had someone compare that with going to the Moon. Going to the Moon is hard! When NASA first went to the moon, they had spent heaps of money on lots of failed attempts to even get into space. And then when they were there, a person never actually went to the moon for several years after that. Now compare that to riding a bike. Sure its easier, cost less and is a lot easier to learn to do. All these things can make it seem much more appealing to ride a bike over going in a Rocket, but does a bike get you to the Moon? Can it ever get you to the Moon? You can even get a hundred thousand bikes and it will never get you to the moon. Takeing a Rocket is, therefore, the easiest way to get to the moon.
I love to hear about these quote, “over-night sensations” and how they became so popular or so rich or so something seemingly over night. When ever you look at the their story, you will find that, yes maybe all the rewards happened over night, but most of the time they struggled and worked hard for what seemed like nothing in return. Only after laying all the ground work and with a bit of luck, they became who they are today. Yes there are exceptions, but they are just that, the exceptions. Most of us live by the rule.
Thank you Tony Robbins
No I am not getting ready to start my motivational seminar series found at your local airport hotel. This blog is for my benefit more than anything else and this post is no exception. We all need a pick me up. Something that helps put things in perspective when things get down. We have all fallen off the band wagon, hit a dead-end, or have gotten plain tired of working hard for what seems to be little to no benefit. This post is for those times!
The important thing is that we step back. Look at whats holding us back (which is usually ourselves) and do something about it TODAY. As James said, “pero es cierto que no voy a terminar nada si sigo a decir mañana, mañana, mañana”
Any motivational thoughts? Please post them in the comments section below. It doesn’t have to be about language study. Just put a story or quote or anything that we can all use when times get tough.