VUMA BlogWhere are you Stuck?
In 2019, my colleague and I read several business management and leadership books that really stuck with us through the year. Now that we’re at the beginning of a brand new calendar year, it seems like a good time to revisit one of our favorite books – How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell. It is a book about thinking, yes, an entire book about thinking. The crux of the book is about how successful people think differently. They actively engage in all aspects of their life and self-mandate time for thinking instead of going through the day-to-day motions of life on auto-pilot. They happily get outside of their comfort zone. They challenge themselves to understand where other people are coming from—even when they have opposing views. They employ a form of Pareto’s 80/20 principle and dedicate 80 percent of their time and energy to the most important 20 percent of their tasks. They surround themselves with other successful thinkers. They balance imagination and inspiration with logical thinking and always begin with audacious ideas and then refine those ideas to a pragmatic concept. While this book was not earth shattering for either of us, and at times seemed trite and obvious, it triggered us to reflect on our own thinking behaviors. Most importantly, it caused us to ask ourselves, “how often does life advice seem abundantly apparent, but we choose to disregard it?” Our answer is “all the damn time.” Off the top of our heads, we were able to think of a million and one examples of this ill-advised behavior. We all know if we exercised a little more and ate a little better we would be in better shape and feel better physically and mentally. That if we went to bed earlier instead of watching one more Netflix show, we would be less tired and feel more refreshed the following day. That if we bit our tongue during the one time each year that we see our whacky Uncle Fred who has never had an unexpressed thought, we’d all be better off.
So why do we discount these obvious cause and effect relationships? I would bet a dollar to a donut that most of the time we ignore the facts because they are unpleasant, not fun or are seemingly unattainable, so why bother? Once we make any of these excuses for ourselves, we tend to reuse those same excuses in other parts of our lives. This is how we get stuck and ultimately, how we stop evolving and improving ourselves. I want to challenge you to ask yourself where you are stuck. Is it in going for something you really want, but you are afraid of the commitment or of the potential of failure? Is it in starting a new habit, but you are afraid others will think it seems disingenuous because they have an opinion of who they think you are that doesn’t make it easy for you to change? Is it in making a change you know you need to make, but the uncertainty of that change scares you? Whatever it is, ask yourself WHY you are stuck. Maybe it’s because you believe your dreams and goals are impossible and they are just dreams, not potential realities. Or perhaps someone once told you couldn’t achieve something, and you believed them. Maybe you don’t think you deserve better for whatever reason. No matter the reason, I wonder if the answers to all the places you are stuck in your life are the same. I know they are for me. How can you live your best life, your truth, and be the best version of yourself in 2020 and for all the years after?