It seems like a good idea, but should you do it? That girl seems like the one for you to marry, but should you marry her? That job seems like the perfect fit for you, but should you fill out the application? That house seems just right, but should you buy it? In life, you would always be faced with separating "could" from "should." Yes, you have the ability to do it, but SHOULD you do it? You COULD, but SHOULD you?
About two years ago, I interviewed with Planet Fitness for a group instructor's position. The interview went so well that the interviewer nearly guaranteed me a position. The hours would have conflicted with other stuff that I was doing. I would have had to miss Wednesday Bible classes and I would have had to terminate my fitness classes at the church on Thursdays. After knowing that the hours would conflict with my other activities, he asked me to call him if I changed my mind. I don't know about you, but when an interviewer asks you to call him back, that should be a mark of honor!
I COULD have worked for Planet Fitness. I COULD have had a more stable job, because at that time, I had NO stable job. But SHOULD I do it? If my number one focus in life was money, then yes, I SHOULD have accepted his invitation to call him back. But money wasn't my main focus. Other things were more important to me, so I never called him back.
The COULD part is easy. If any opportunity presents itself, then you immediately think that it's for you. But the difficult part is the SHOULD -- while you are able to do it, would it be wise to do it? In fact, if I were to define wisdom, it would be the ability to know what you SHOULD do and SHOULDN'T do.
Have you ever asked a teacher, "Ms./Mr. So-So, CAN I go to the bathroom?" just to have that teacher reply, "I don't know? Can you?" Most likely, this was an English teacher teaching you a lesson about grammar. Saying CAN shows the ability to do something. So, if you asked, "Can I go to the bathroom," you're simply asking, "Do I have the ability to go to the bathroom?" The answer will always be YES. You could walk to the bathroom or you could pee in the classroom in front of everybody, but you always have the ability to go to the bathroom. What you need to ask instead is, "MAY I go to the bathroom," which is asking, "Do I have your permission to go to the bathroom?"
You see, you could do anything. You could work anywhere. You could marry anybody. You could have 12 children. You could live in a different country. You could get a hair cut, change your clothes, buy a different car, eat only junk food, exercise for 5 hours a day, etc. The opportunities are endless! But if you don't start asking yourself "SHOULD I do this," then you'll get into trouble. Not addressing the SHOULD part is where regrets happen.
Kids (particularly, those old enough to know better) are notorious for not considering the SHOULD part. As they are still growing and learning, they tend to make a lot of stupid decisions -- and I say "stupid," because most likely they know that what they're about to do is wrong. "Stupidity" happens when you know better, but you decided to make the wrong decision anyway. I've taught kids at both church and at educational institutions, and I would say that any bad decision a child made wasn't made in ignorance. The child KNEW that he was going to make a wrong decision. He or she did it anyway. The kid didn't think about getting in trouble. The kid focused on the COULD, but not the SHOULD.
Several times, I would ask kids, "Is it hard to do the right thing?" They would respond, "No." They know doing right isn't hard. Listening and respecting the teacher isn't hard. Getting your classwork done isn't hard. Asking for help on classwork instead of playing dumb isn't hard. So, why is it that kids still make foolish mistakes such as being class clowns, talking back to a teacher, and not do any homework? Because they CAN. They do what they COULD do. But they never ask themselves if they SHOULD make those decisions. Kids get suspended, expelled, or worst, thrown in jail because they did something that they COULD do without considering if they SHOULD do it.
As long as you live, you will ALWAYS be faced with COULD vs. SHOULD. You could get an attitude with a co-worker at work, but should you? You could move to another state for a new job and take your family from everybody they love, but should you? You could go back to college and get another degree, but should you? You could stay home and not work out, but should you? Before you take another step, consider the SHOULD part. If you think only about the COULD, you would just think about your abilities to do something. When you think about the SHOULD, you start thinking about the future impact of your decision. Yes, you are ABLE to do it, but what would happen IF you do it?
There is a decision you have to make right now, even as you read this message. Before you do it, stop where you are and ask if you're making the right decision. It doesn't matter what your abilities are. What matters is the impact that decision would make on your life. You COULD do anything or be anything you want. But you SHOULDN'T do just anything or be just anything you want.
Letting go of the past and not thinking about the future is hard to do. Not impossible, but hard. You've made some bad decisions in the past that you can't stop thinking of, and you have some apprehensions of the future that keep haunting you. But for some reason, the PRESENT doesn't seem to bother you because you're barely thinking about it. You're too busy thinking about both the past and future.
Isn't that something? We have the most control in the present, but we spend more of our time thinking about the past and future, two of which we have NO control over. The past is over, so any control that we did have back then is gone. The future isn't even guaranteed, so we have no control in that area. But we DO have control of what we do today. And what you do TODAY could make the future brighter for you.
There have been times when I said hurtful things to people, particularly to girls (don't ask why, because I don't know!), and what has been said has been said. I can't take it back. I can't rewind time to re-live the moment that I've messed up. But being in the present, I went to the people that I've hurt and apologized with a sincere heart. When I said those hurtful things, I was playing around but didn't realize that those people took my words to heart. After realizing the damage that I've done, I wasted no time going to those people and apologizing.
What did my apologies do? They redeemed me, because those people forgave me. My apologies made my future brighter with these people because they saw that I accepted the fault and was willing to admit my mistakes. I had a good relationship with all of these people after I apologized.
Now, what if I just spent my time worrying about what I've done (the past) and worrying about the impacts of my actions (the future) and did nothing to fix the situation (the present)? I wouldn't have had any good relationships with the people I hurt. But by taking action (the present), I could redeem myself and make my future brighter.
The most important time in your life is NOW. Not yesterday, because it's gone. Not tomorrow, because it hasn't happened yet. But NOW because NOW is going on right NOW.
How healthy are you going to be in the future? When you get old, would you be laid up in the nursing home wearing diapers and playing Bingo with your fellow residents? You don't know, but what you do NOW would determine how you get old in the future. You could be 90 years old and running marathons, or you could be 90 years old and bed-ridden. What you do TODAY will determine the course of your future -- which hasn't happened yet.
You were smoking since you were 13 years old. Whatever damaged this action has done has been done. But if you stopped smoking NOW, then your actions could improve your future. There is no sense worrying about how unhealthy you were in the past. What matters is what you're going to do TODAY to redeem yourself.
What does it mean to "redeem" yourself? If you go to church, then you've heard this word plenty of times. The word comes from the Latin word that means "to buy back." If you sold something to somebody else or if you've lost property to whatever means, you could "redeem" or buy back your property. The main idea is that if you lost something, you could get it back by taking action NOW. Once you redeem something, you could improve your future.
We truly don't realize the power of the present. We spend too much time worrying about the future that we forget that our future depends on what we do NOW. Sitting around worrying about tomorrow is about as productive as trying to make grass grow by simply watching it.
Will you age gracefully? You don't know, but if you do nothing about your health during the present, you could be sure that you won't. Will your children like you when they get older? Anything is possible, but if you keep treating your kids poorly in the present, then there's a good chance that they won't have anything to do with you when they grow up. Would you still have your job tomorrow? Well, even the best employees could lose their jobs. But if you're not learning any new skills NOW, then should you lose your job, you might have a hard time finding another one in the future. Will you still have money in the future? Again, anything could happen, but if you continue being wasteful with your money, then should you lose your source of income, you won't have much money saved up.
You could arrive at your future with confidence or with [non-pleasant] surprise. It all depends on what you're doing (or not doing) today. So whatever project that you wanted to do, get started on that TODAY. Need to apologize to somebody? Do it TODAY. Want to learn a new skill for employment reasons? Learn TODAY. Want to be healthy in your old age? Then fix your health TODAY. Take that exercise class. Eat those greens. Drink more water. Do these things TODAY. If you let life slip through your fingers TODAY, then tomorrow would truly be unpredictable. But if you're taking action NOW, then whatever happens in the future won't take you by surprise.
Ever crammed for an exam before? Ever spent all night studying for a test that you have to take the very next day? You probably passed that exam with a score of 100. But should you have to take that test again at a later date WITHOUT studying for it, then you'd most likely fail. We tend to lose information as quickly as we gain it.
But let's say that you've studied for that exam little by little over a lengthy period. When the time comes to take that test, you wouldn't even have to cram. The information is already established in your head. All you really have to do is walk into the exam room, take the exam, and walk out with confidence.
One time while training to be an EMT-Intermediate, I had a teacher who was an anatomy nerd like me. The information she presented to us concerning the body was nothing new to me, because I've spent years learning this material on my own at my own pace. She presented a challenge to the class to see who could give a detailed path of the circulatory system. That is, she wanted to know the entire travel path of blood starting from the heart and ending at the heart. You needed to know about veins, arteries, venules, arterioles, capillaries, aorta, vena cavas, different chambers of the heart, the lungs, alveoli, etc. There were about 15 to 20 things you had to list IN ORDER. I was the only person who was able to give the entire, detailed description of how blood traveled through our 100,000-plus miles of blood vessels. Was it because I was smart? No, it's because I've spent a little bit of time over a period of years learning about the human body. So when I took this challenge, I didn't see it as a problem. I built up, not blast off. That is, I took my time learning something complex instead of cramming for it.
In life, we always want something to happen NOW, to happen fast. We get attracted by titles such as "Learn [.....] In 7 Days!!!" or "Lose [....] Pounds in 2 Weeks!!!" or "Make [$$$] Dollars in 30 Days!!!" But we don't realize that anything we get quickly would last about as long as a morning mist. It's here today, and gone today. Whatever you get through haste would be gone just as quickly. This is why we need to focus on building up our way to success at a slow, yet steady rate than to blast off and fail.
My daughter is an aspiring artist. Since I'm also an artist, I was hard on her work. I got on her about drawing outside the lines, about how to color so the colors won't look scratchy, and I told her that she could have her own YouTube channel ONLY if her work was worthy. She spends every day doing some kind of drawing, and it's amazing how much she progressed. She went from drawing these childish doodles with big heads, big smiles, and pencil-dot eyes to drawing Japanese anime figures. If she continues at her rate, she would be able to sell her work. But she didn't try to go hard everyday. She didn't try to "blast off." She just spent a little time everyday doing some art.
In my Body Sculpt Challenge program, I have a woman who dropped 30 pounds over a period of eight months. Why is it that it took her so long to drop 30 pounds when other people could easily drop that amount in less than 2 months? Well, that doesn't really matter. The more important question is who is more likely to keep the weight off: the person who dropped 30 lbs in almost a year or the person who dropped the weight in 30 days?The one who took time losing weight have built up healthy habits that are ingrained in him or her so that this person won't be likely to fall back to bad habits. The one who dropped all that weight in a month probably went on a crash diet or took some fat-burning supplements.
Don't be tempted to "go hard or go home." One of the main reasons we fail at anything is because we tend to go hard. We want to do as much of something as possible, but then we burn out. Once we burn out, it would take forever for us to charge our batteries so that we could go hard again -- just to burn out again.
Think about the person who always have a clean house. Every time you go in the house, it's spotless! I'd guarantee that person doesn't spend hours everyday cleaning that house. That person spends a few minutes tidying up the house: putting away the dishes, sweeping the crumbs on the floor, wiping off the pee around the toilet bowl. This person built up a habit that would make it hard for him or her to have a messy house. For the rest of us, we wait until our houses fall apart before we decide to clean it up. Then we spend HOURS detailing our homes just to enjoy a sparkling house for a few days. Then the house falls apart again in no time and we just don't have the energy to clean it. We haven't developed the habit of keeping a clean house. Instead of building up, we just blasted off.
Think about the person who speaks several languages fluently. I'd guarantee you that this person didn't learn these languages in three weeks. They not only grew up learning these languages, but they've spent years using all of them. But what we do is envy people like that and we want to be fluent in 7 languages in one year. We try to go hard, but then we burn out and tell everybody that learning languages is hard.
Think about a person who has mastered something or accomplished something great. Once you have that person in mind, I want you to remember this: his or her accomplishments did not happen overnight. It took a long time to accomplish it and that person is using his or her accomplishments. This person built up success, not blasted off. This person didn't go hard. He or she just kept using it and using it and using it until it became a part of the person.
If you want it to be a part of you, then build up to it. Don't go hard with it. You only go hard when you're trying to win a game. But if you want something to be a part of you, you need to go easy on it. Let it slowly fill your life until it becomes one with you. Then you could be that person who dropped 100 lbs and kept it off for years. You could be that person who quit smoking 18 years ago. You could be that person who built a thriving business that could be passed down for generations.
In your life, you would always have to make a choice between "comfort" and "gain." You could either stick to what feels good to you, or you could go for what would benefit you. Unfortunately, you can't have both comfort and profit. You either stay comfortable or you go for the gold.
Being "fat, sick, and nearly dead" (which was a title of a documentary) is actually quite comfortable. That's why we have millions in the U.S. whose conditions fit this description. That's why healthcare in this country is so profitable. Many people are comfortable in their bad state of health. No, they aren't happy about it, but they sure are comfortable with it. Their condition is all they know. Taking drugs works for them. Shopping in a motorized shopping cart, taking the escalator and elevator, holding up traffic to park at the closest spot, and eating whatever they want is down right comfortable. We don't stay in conditions that make us uncomfortable. This is why millions are very unhealthy and why you only see a few people jogging outside.
In fact, from years of observation, I've noticed that adults would do all that they can just to avoid exercising. They would take weight-loss supplements, weight-loss pills, get surgery, and they would even change their diet to make it as healthy as possible. They would read all the diet books they could get their hands on so that they could avoid exercise. Some of them may even dare to go to an exercise class, but they would do the bare minimum -- this is not opinion, this is from pure observation. But all of these changes eventually becomes too uncomfortable and they would just revert back to what is comfortable.
In other areas of life, we become comfortable in the wrong things.
We are comfortable NOT because we like our situation, but because the attempts to leave our situation is uncomfortable. That is to say, CHANGE is so uncomfortable that we would much rather stay in a bad situation just so that we won't have to make changes to our lives.
Let me tell you something. Getting up EARLY in the morning is down right uncomfortable for me. I'm fortunate enough to be self-employed and to make my own hours, but I'm also not in a favorable position. There are other things I want to accomplish in my life and I could very well make those accomplishments, BUT...there is this issue of comfort. I tend to stay up late and get up late, and I could get away with it. My kids are homeschooled. My wife doesn't work. All of us could stay up as late as we want. We don't have to be anywhere in the morning. BUT...when I stay up late, all I do is entertain myself with YouTube and movies. I could do this for several hours before I decide to go bed. What other things could I be doing with my life besides entertaining myself? But it's soooo hard to make myself go to bed early and wake up early!!! So, while I don't like that I'm not living up to my full potential, I much rather stay where I'm comfortable.
The reason we stay with what we're comfortable with is because we don't realize how big the gains are. We focus so much on what we're losing instead of focusing on what we're getting. We don't realize how big the gains are because we don't see the gains right away. We're willing to make some sacrifices up to a certain point, but if we don't see any gains soon, then we'll revert back to what's comfortable.
Whenever somebody tells me that they've done everything but still aren't seeing any gains, part of me wants to say, "You're not doing enough!" And...well...it's true. They aren't doing enough. They are doing the work, yes. They are exercising, yes, They are eating healthier, yes. But these things are just for maintenance. If they want to see GAINS or RESULTS, then they need to up their game. If they want to look muscular, then they need to work that body as if they want those muscles to bulge out! They need to copy exactly how I do an exercise move. They need to increase their work-out weights. Or in other words, they need to stop being comfortable and start doing something that makes them uncomfortable. They need to strongly visualize the gains and stop focusing on what they're losing out on.
Two people at church have ADMITTEDLY told me that they have back pain issues due to their weight. They have a problem and they KNOW what causes that problem. Both people are still very much overweight. Why? Because they're more comfortable in their pain than they are in change. They don't like having pain. One of them told me that he took about 800 mg of ibuprofen a day! The other one indicated to me that his pain is making him miserable. Instead of exercising and losing that weight, he much rather use his health insurance to get physical therapy, which would only take him so far. Eventually, he would need to lose that weight and strengthen his back if he wants to see some GAINS.
Comfort could be deadly. It could cause divorce, poverty, sickness, and death. We stay in our comforts now because we truly don't see the magnitude of the gains that we could get once we make changes. We also don't see any immediate consequences of our comforts. We eat, drink, and get merry now because it's what we feel most comfortable in. All that eating and drinking makes us fat, drunk, and miserable, but changing our habits and hitting the weights is very uncomfortable. A crack addict hates his life, but the idea of giving up that crack is downright dreadful to him.
Isn't it something how we don't mind drinking poison knowing well that it's poison, but we get anxious about quitting that poison? We don't realize how powerful of a life we could have by not drinking that poison, but that poison is all we know, so we'll keep drinking it even if it means being miserable for the rest of our lives.
It's time to realize the magnitude of the gains of CHANGE so that we could leave a miserable life for a fulfilling life. The poison that you drink would eventually take you down. You don't see it yet, but it will come and you would have to pay a huge price for it. Visualize the gains from change, and visualize it every, single day so you could always focus on those gains.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.