How committed are you to what you’re doing? One of the biggest killers of progress is indecision. Wavering, hesitancy, half-heartedness, apprehensiveness. None of these traits give birth to successful, thriving projects or businesses. At some point you have to make a decision: are we doing this or not? I heard Mark Stevenson (a futurologist – google him!) say there are only really two kinds of people in the world: the brave and the dead.
I think we either attack life and give it everything or else we adopt a passive approach, one where we drift and kind of let things happen or ‘see how things go’. In my experience the consequence of a passive approach is regression. There isn’t really any such thing as stagnating – either you’re moving forwards or you’re moving backwards; either you’re growing or you’re regressing. What looks like a plateau is actually just the beginning of decline. The pace of change around us is such that, if you stand still too long, you very quickly become irrelevant. Just as you can’t step into the same river twice (think about it!) so as Lampedusa wrote: “For everything to stay the same everything must change.”
So again, how committed are you to what you’re doing? Have you made a quality decision, one from which there is no retreat, about where you’re going and what it will look like when you get there? John Grant calls this the Law of Certitude: in life one must begin with the certitude of finishing successfully.
I experienced this first hand in the summer. Whilst on holiday in Guadeloupe we found a fantastic waterfall with a plunge pool that you could jump into from the surrounding rocks. My youngest son was the most daring and after conquering the lower levels, he took off from the highest point: about 10 meters high. I was determined not to be outdone and challenged myself to go higher. But at each point, it looked a whole lot higher from up there than it did from down below! There was that moment of indecision. Should I do this? What if it goes wrong? What if I don’t jump out far enough and catch myself on a rock as I fall? I knew I had to commit. So I made the decision and launched myself forward off one foot only to doubt myself almost before I had taken off. Then tried to pull back my momentum and slipped down a level to a small cleft a couple of feet below. I very nearly seriously injured myself and certainly embarrassed myself! I hadn’t wholeheartedly committed myself. I was looking subconsciously for a way out. That’s the most dangerous position of all – to launch half heartedly!
If you’re going forward then you need to go forward with gusto! Without it, without that commitment you have sealed your own failure before you have started. But once you make a quality decision and commit to it, no set-back or obstacle can undo it. Anyone who has launched into self employment knows what it feels like just before you do. Every successful venture has been preceded by doubt and fear, it’s just that somewhere along the way someone made a decision to look that fear in the face and commit. Unlike me on that rock! They knew what they were aiming for. They decided: it wasn’t a hope or a wish or a whim – it was a commitment. “This is what I’m doing. End of story.” The brave or the dead. I was very nearly the dead!