What I'm Reading...

It’s not a priority if you don’t do it

From Shane Parrish on LinkedIn:

A lot of people say they want to do something, but they don’t actually want to do it.

Here’s a story.

I have a friend who has told me they wanted to get in shape. He talks about it almost every time I see him. When I ask him what he’s doing, it’s always something new. I’m researching this new Pilates class. I’m trying to find a gym. I’m exploring online options.

When I follow up, it’s there is always a reason that thing didn’t work out and there is a new thing to be excited about. Everyone was in shape at the Pilates place, and I felt like it wasn’t for me … but i found this new thing.

Finally, I just told him that if he doesn’t figure it out, I’m going to send a personal trainer to his house every morning at 5 am and send him the bill. That prompted him to finally get a gym membership. I asked him when he was planning to go, and he said soon, but work is busy. We both know he won’t go regularly. If at all.

There will always be an excuse. There will always be a reason. And so nothing changes, and our friendship is damaged because I pushed to have him do what he said he wanted to do.

There are a few lessons I take from this.

  1. People don’t actually want what they say they want. Wanting something feels better than grinding away to get it. You can’t solve for what other people say they want but don’t actually want.

  2. Fear is an anchor. The fear of looking like an idiot. The fear of looking out of place. The fear of trying to get healthy and not succeeding. The fear of succeeding.

  3. It doesn’t matter what you say; it’s not a priority if you don’t do it. Talking and doing are two different things. You can listen to someone talk. You can drop them off at the gym. But they have to walk through the door and do it.

goals Shane Parrish

Tom Peters: deciding which manager to promote

Tom Peters shares the story of an executive who was trying to decide which of two managers to promote. He said that his method was simple: Look at the careers of all the people who used to work for each of the two managers. And then look at the careers of the people who used to work for those people.

— Seth Godin, The Song of Significance, p. 74

Tom Peters Seth Godin

The Invitation

A poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer stolen directly from the great blog A Learning a Day:

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.br>
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.