“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesso that ought to be learned and is probably the last lesson a person learns thoroughly.” Thomas Huxley, British biologist.
“Doing the thing you have to do when it ought to be done” – even when you don’t feel like it. What a challenge this is! And how many clever ways we can all devise to escape taking action – even actions we know will benefit us.
We let our feelings overwhelm us and dictate our actions. But there is a way to push past those feelings so we can do what we need to do.
Actions create attitudes. By taking action, we can actually act our way into feeling the way we want to feel.
Consider Cal Ripken, Jr., the Baltimore Oriole’s all-star shot-stop, who was legendary for his unmatched record for the most baseball games played consecutively. In his long sports career, Cal never missed a game. When asked if he ever went to the ball-park when he was aching and feeling under the weather, Cal said, “Yeah, just about every day.”
Though his casual reply makes it all sound easy, overcoming aches and pains over hundreds of games is an amazing achievement for an athlete in any sport. Over his career, Cal encountered the same daily challenges and obstacles that his fellow players did, but he pushed past them all while teammates and opponents called in sick or took days off because they didn’t feel like getting out on the field.
Cal’s dedication, drive, and enthusiasm made him a super-star in a demanding sport. One of the keys to his success had to be his ability to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. And to absorb the simple principle: a body in motion tends to stay in motion.
So if actions create attitudes, how can we “act” ourselves into writing when we don’t feel like it? When we’re moody or tired or distracted.
“Butt in the chair” – that’s how. To write when we don’t feel like writing, we need to sit down and start writing. And once we start, more than likely, we’ll keep going. And the more we write, the better we’ll feel and the better we feel, the more we’ll want to write.
Simple, but not easy. For Cal, it was feet on the field. For us, butt in the chair. Write on!
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