Two kinds of people

December 03 2013

You’re feeling dissatisfied, unsettled. You want better than what life is presenting to you. You want to provide for yourself and your family. Maybe you’d describe yourself as unhappy.

No matter where I’ve gone in the world (or who I’ve worked with: students, prisoners, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, monks), I’ve seen two typical responses to this situation.

Option AAction Paralysis
What does this mean? Ideas aren’t in short supply, but movement is. These individuals fail to take any steps forward. Excuses and fear restrict their progress and prevent momentum.

“I don’t have the skills I need.”
“I can’t find a job that pays well.”
“It’s too hard.”
“It’s always been done this way.”
“It’s impossible.”
“Somebody else will do it.”
“If only I could get x, things would be easier.” (x = more money, a different job, the right partner, a miracle, admission, acceptance)

Option BThe Creators
Concrete decisions are made and acted upon in order to build a better life — no matter what obstacle is in the way. These individuals are so committed to the taste of their dreams and the potential of the future that nothing can stop them. They just do.

The Nepali shopkeeper who wakes at 4:00am daily to buy vegetables from whole-sellers and farmers to resell at the local market. He sets up shop with his wife and negotiates with customers. After the market closes, he heads to the tourist section of town to sell the rest of his bounty to hotels at a higher price.

A family uproots from their village and rents a two-bedroom house in the city. They turn one bedroom into a hotel and sleep all seven family members in the other.

The mother who sends her daughter to a different country to study because tuition is more affordable.

The corporate worker who sets aside his exhaustion at the end of the day to finish his screen play.

There are stories like this all over the world. Stories of sacrifice and perseverance and commitment and character and strength of vision.

You get to choose: do you want your story to be peppered with excuses or do you want to make something happen?