The late great Dr. Stephen Covey once said that courage is raising the level of initiative. Dr. Covey of course is a far more eloquent speaker than I am. Being the godly man that he was I doubt he would ever put it the way I heard it: “raising the level of initiative,” means getting off your ass in doing what needs to be done.
I have found one of the most difficult things to change about anybody is to get them to move and do what they need to do to get to where they say they want to go. Oftentimes I am giving people strategies and tactics they are very excited about because they finally believe that they can achieve their goals. The problem comes in that they never get off their ass to do it.
It is sort of like the dog that is lying on a tack. The dog is slightly uncomfortable but feels that it can put up with the mild annoyance. Otherwise the old dog has to try to get up but may either just be too lazy or think that it will take more effort and pain to get himself off the tack than it will to just lay there.
Unfortunately, at some point the tack creates a small wound which begins to fester and eventually gets infected. An infection gone unchecked will eventually kill the dog. The same thing happens with us. We put up with these little annoyances believing that it will take more to take the initiative and make the changes necessary than it will to just let the tack continue poking us. What we don’t realize is that the tack is very insidiously creating an infection, one that will eventually overcome us and totally kill our initiative. Or, kill us.
There is hope however. Often times when the pain gets bad enough, we move. But sometimes we moved to late. We wait too long and our body cannot do what we need it to do to accomplished what we want to accomplish.
Or by the time we’re moving, the window of opportunity is already shut. Rather than waiting for that pain to get bad enough to move up your level of initiative, move it up now. Look into the future: if you continue to do what you are doing today what will you have tomorrow? What would you have next week? What would you have next month, next year? You’re right. Nothing more than you have right now.
We move when either we experience too much pain or we believe that the pleasure pay-off is worth the effort. What is one thing you have been putting off that you know you must do, that you know will provide you a better life, a life more fully and completely lived? What will it take for you to get off that tack?