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Think about a lot of the choices you've made.
Are you someone who tends to take the easiest way out, rather than figuring out a more satisfying, healthier, and longer lasting method of dealing with a challenge?
How often do you cave in to convenience?
The less easy path may provide more immediate gratification, it's true, but will it get you to your ultimate goal or goals, or to a life that feels satisfying?
Do you give up because what you want to do feels too complicated or too time-consuming?
When that one thing you do always gets your partner angry, and you feel hurt because you don't understand why, do you put off talking about it because the time isn't opportune, and it's easier to sulk and turn on the TV than to confront it?
This question came up last week in relation to planning for a healthy diet. It certainly applies to other areas of our lives, though!
Most busy people cave in to convenience at times, when it comes to food preparation. We have all grabbed some fast take-out on the way home after an exceptionally busy work day. Sometimes we buy foods that are quick to prepare, but aren't very good for us, or for our families.
Every one of us has skipped that nourishing breakfast and grabbed a doughnut on the way out the door, just because it was there, it was easy, and we were in a hurry. We sometimes do this knowing that we are sabotaging our health or weight goals, but we do it anyway.
Do you say yes when you really want to say no, primarily to avoid a hassle? When asked a favor, though your palms are starting to sweat thinking about all of the work and obligations already on your plate, do you paste on a big smile and agree to do something you don't want to do?
Even before you open up your mouth to agree to whatever was requested, you know it won't be a healthy choice for you. You say yes anyway, and end up angry at yourself.
Do you keep getting together with your friend, Marcia, who is perpetually late, or who is always short on cash when it comes time to split the bill at lunch?
When you asked her to accompany you to the new movie you really wanted to see, or to lunch at that fabulous new Middle Eastern restaurant, you hesitated and thought of a couple of other friends you might have invited.
Still, you went with the unreliable friend because ...
A) You haven't been in touch with Janice or Augusta for ages, and don't have the energy or time right now to have that catch up phone conversation you know you'll get stuck in.
B) Janice will ask if you made any decisions about that problem you once shared with her, and you haven't decided even one thing, but Marcia never asks you anything. She only talks about herself.
C) Janice and Augusta are always busier than Marcia, who is available any time you ask her to go out with you.
Yet when you get home from an afternoon out with Marcia, you realize that you feel a little drained and didn't really have a good time.
In fact, Marcia chattered throughout lunch and,as usual, didn't seem interested in anything you had to say, and you can't really remember when you have enjoyed her company. You just don't like going out to lunch alone.
There are other ways we cave in to convenience. You had a really cool idea about a project for your business. It involved a lot of research and some groundwork before you could implement it.
You were very excited when you woke up in the middle of the night last week and scribbled down some of the key points you didn't want to forget. You were pretty enthusiastic and revved up for a few days. You talked to some of your colleagues about your ideas.
You got some pretty good feedback, but you saw that this would take months to get off the ground, so your discouragement and negative self-talk took over. You decided it was just too hard. You figured it would take a lot longer than you had anticipated. You listed a hundred convenient excuses why you shouldn't even try.
So how do we stop this pattern that usually shows up in both our personal lives and our careers? It takes awareness of ourselves and conscious choosing, rather than merely giving in to things and always taking the easiest and most convenient path. .
Aristotle said, "Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny."
Another favorite of mine, Rabindrinath Tagore, said, "You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water."
If you remain on this side of the sea because the landscape is familiar, because the chairs you placed on the beach for relaxing in the sand, are broken in and comfortable, and because you have no idea what's on the other side, you will always be stuck.
It will be easy and convenient to stay exactly where you are now, whether or not this serves you, or makes you happy and successful. Think carefully then, about what you really want.
If it's excellence, rather than mediocrity, newness, instead of sameness, then don't always choose what's convenient. Reach for the stars sometimes, even when it's not easy!
Iris Arenson-Fuller, CPC, ACC is a personal life coach, writer/poet, mother, grandmother, adoption expert who founded and ran a licensed adoption agency for 30 years.
Iris has been through many trials and has reinvented herself several times. She loves helping others going through big life stage changes do the same.
Find Coach Iris at http://www.visionpoweredcoaching.com
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