There is something you want. Something you want to do, something good, something difficult. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? You’re thinking about it right now. That thing that’s keeping you from becoming a warrior, from overcoming your inner demons.
- “I don’t tell enough people about the Lord”
- “I don’t pray enough”
- “I don’t work hard enough at work, and I feel really guilty about it”
- “I just feel flat. I don’t know what it is, I don’t even know what I want, but I know it’s more than I’m doing now”…
- “I get angry”
Whatever it is, there’s at least one reason you’re not the battle hardened Christian warrior you want to be, and you’re dying to fix it.
Books, and websites abound with tricks and hacks claiming to be the Golden egg that’s been holding you back and as soon as you start doing it you’ll feel like a boss in no time.
- Set clear, actionable goals
- make a plan of action that you can stick to
- start small and work your way up until it becomes a habit
- track your progress
- reward yourself
Don’t forget about all that wonderful Christian advice that makes the same promises
- The Bible has the answer
- You need more faith
- Get baptized in the Holy Spirit
These are among the most common and broadly applied tips to deal with almost any of our potential shortcomings. Do any or all of the above and you’re life will be powerfully changed, all of a sudden you’ll start moving in the Spirit and the power of God will be at your fingertips!
Whether it’s from a Christian or a non-Christian source, there are some common factors that guide much of this advice.
They are true
This is possibly the most insidious of all. There’s always some element of truth to them.
It’s true that if you want to lose a few kilos, then it’s almost impossible without some sort of a plan. It’s true that if you want to learn a new skill, then you need to clearly identify actionable goals that you can aim for, in order to keep you on track and motivate you. Of course giving yourself little rewards along the way won’t hurt either.
It’s true that if you want to share the gospel more, then it’s true that you should read scripture more, for lots of reasons.
There’s always some element of truth, otherwise the advice would have no appeal. But they are only ever part of the truth. They are always focussed on some area that a lot of people think is the source of their frustration, when oftentimes, it is merely a symptom of something greater. Maybe it’s more that you simply lack the discipline?
They are simple
This advice is attractive because deep down, most of us already know it. It’s just been articulated to us in a way that seems so simple and they make it sound really easy to apply. Start with 5 pushups a day, then 10 the next week, and the next you know you’ll have abs that look like an egg carton. This advice sounds so doable because it seems so simple. It makes you think ‘oh man, of course! I’ve never thought of it that way before, I’m going to do that right… after work.’
The real catcher here, is that if success was so achievable with such simple sound bytes, then more people would be doing it.
They are easy
It creates a sense of urgency that builds euphoria that you associate with ‘inspiration’ because it sounds so easy. You have a desire deep in your heart, some anxiety that is keeping the lion caged and all your dreams will come true. They are always framed as some sort of simple, yet little known trick (which is the real reason why more people are not doing it!), and that’s why it will work. It’s not you, it’s just that nobody told you about this neat little trick yet, now it’s really going to work this time.
There is however only one thing holding you back from any of the things that you want to achieve, and it’s the simplest of all.
In truth, there is almost nothing worth doing, that isn’t really, really hard. What’s even more difficult is that the source of frustration for most people (or for those of you who have ‘tried everything’) is going to be something that can’t be fixed with a Google search. You will not find the magic bullet to your source of limitation on any ‘top ten’ list, because it will be something much more unique to you. The best you can hope for is someone brave enough to tell you that you’re just lazy, and not working hard enough, you’re not committed. Unfortunately the opposite is true most of the time. ‘Oh you’re not the problem, don’t be so hard on yourself, you can’t help that the world is engineered to make it hard for you’.
So what? You’re problem is not that the world is engineered to make it difficult for you (even though it is), because that’s everyone’s problem. If you can’t take responsibility for your limitations, then you’ve already failed.
The reason you haven’t lost 20kgs yet, or got that promotion, or haven’t stopped drinking, is because there is something that you have to do, that’s really, really hard and you’re simply not working hard enough. Sure, it’s true that if you’re not making it a priority then you wont make it happen. But again, that is a symptom, not a cause.
Most of the self help out there doesn’t remind you of this however. Or if they do it’s got a real catchy ring to it, that makes it sound less difficult than it really is. Why? Because you can’t market hard work, and if you did, you wouldn’t get repeat business.
Set the goals, make the plans, reward yourself, pray. Do all these things. These are good things, some do make it easier and some are necessary.
What you need to realize though is that after all the tricks and hacks and plan making, sooner or later you have to actually get off your ass and do some real, actual work. You will have to cut against the grain, and build the self discipline needed to keep pushing, again and again and there won’t be any tricks left you help, nothing but rusty old determination.
If you want to become a warrior, you have to do hard things.
Don’t be ‘inspired’ by this post, that will not get you very far. Be uninspired, be realistic, and make the conscious choice with resolve… I will do it. Then get up and do something hard.