Have you ever sat down at your desk because you know you really need to get down to work, but you feel restless and distracted? You check your email, you play a game of online Solitaire (just to get the juices flowing), you organize your desk … you do anything but actually get down to work. And then later you think “What is wrong with me, I knew I had to work and I didn’t do it?”
I’ve had this happen more times than I care to mention. This book finally explained to me why people do this (The Tools: Transform your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels). It’s not just me and it’s not pure laziness. It’s human nature. It’s human nature to want to avoid pain. It’s human nature to want pleasure. So anything we deem as painful, we avoid. Many times the thought of getting down to work equals pain – more pain than actually doing the work. We get caught up in “this will take forever, I don’t even know how to start this, I don’t want to do this” and we can’t move forward. So we replace it with something that causes pleasure – Internet surfing, talking on the phone, eating, busy work like checking email, you name it.
We escape into our Comfort Zone – what feels good in the moment. But sometimes we need to move forward through the pain in order to expand our lives. If we stay in our Comfort Zone we may end up leading a very small life with many opportunities lost.
The first tool in this book helps us to move forward. It’s called the Reversal of Desire, which at first doesn’t make much sense. But if our desire is the avoidance of pain, and this avoidance is keeping us in our Comfort Zone, then we do need to reverse our desire.
This tool can be used when you need to take an action you’ve been avoiding. For example, I recently decided to turn a workshop that I’d developed into an online workbook. Okay, by recently I mean two years ago. Every time I started, I stopped. I was faced with a blank sheet of paper and I had no idea where to go from there. At that point I convinced myself that it wasn’t a good idea anyway, who was I to write this workbook, nobody would want it, and I’d put it away again. After reading this book, I took out the blank sheet of paper and started again. Every time I faltered I’d look at the tool again and work through it.
I took all my notes from the workshop and put them on my blank sheet of paper. It wasn’t great but it was a start and, more importantly, it was no longer a blank sheet of paper. Every time I sat down to the project again I would do something – look up quotes, work on the formatting – anything, as long as I was working on it and moving forward in small steps. Eventually it began to take shape and I finally finished it earlier this year.
Great, but now I had to put it out to the world. I really needed the tool before I sent it out to several people for critique and review. All the old fears came back up – who am I, nobody wants it, etc. However, the reviews all came back positive and I did move forward. The workbook, Wake Up to What You Love, is now available thanks to The Tools.
- Those moments when you want to give up are the moments when it’s most important not to quit, and,
- “Pain is the universe’s way of demanding that you continue to learn.” (The Tools)