Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Couch to Rule Them All

So remember when I wrote about how I have no idea what my talents are? Well, I lied.  Because I am excellent (gifted, even) at getting in my own way.

Here's the thing.  I know what I need to do to achieve my goals.  Want to lose weight?  Exercise more and eat less.  Want to have more responsibility in your job?  Take more on.  I like to think I'm a smart person.  Yet I've clocked years on the couch eating Triscuits while flipping through catalogs picking out outfits for the day that I would be 20 pounds lighter. Yeah, I get the contradiction.

I think many of us are hoping for the fantasy.  The "greatness thrust upon us" scenario that characters like Harry Potter and Frodo got to experience.  I fantasize about a knock on the door from a publisher (who ideally looks like Viggo Mortensen) holding a book contract, requesting that I quit my job and immediately start writing a series of novels that they are certain will sell millions of copies.  Here's the thing - I don't HAVE a finished novel.  So, ummmm - how exactly do I expect this publisher to find me if I don't finish something and submit it?  Right.

So we have the formula.  We know what to do - and yet so many of us either don't do the work (and then complain we're not getting what we want) or we start doing it and ironically just before we get there, we stop.  My theory?  Fear of success. Or maybe fear of what happens after you achieve the goal - the scary unknown.  I do know that its weird.  This quote from Emerson keeps coming up in my life lately:  "Do the thing and you'll have the power."  Interesting, eh?  Do the thing you want to achieve and guess what - you win.  That's it.

And yet I must have stared at that "start" button for eons before I actually pushed it.   Jeez, we are an odd species.

I still have the fantasy of being plucked from obscurity and dropped into something amazing and special.  But in between daydreaming I'm "doing the things".  And you know what - I'm having a blast and so far it's way better than Triscuits on the couch.  Though if Viggo ever shows up to sit on said couch, that option might start to win out again.


  1. Well, at least you aren't eating chocolate cake on the couch... but more importantly, I think it's fear of the unknown on some level. A friend of a good friend is a massage therapist and works exclusively with athletes; he'd always dreamed of going to the Olympics. And you know what? He did. He was in Beijing w/ the men's swim team when Phelps was raking up medal after medal after medal. And shortly after being hugely excited for him, I remember thinking, "So what does he do now?"

    I had a similar experience after I got my master's; I hadn't thought further out than that, and it seemed like such a huge thing that I didn't bother thinking of a post-school life for myself. I think most people have that affliction, which is why so many of us end up settling for what is, rather than thinking of what could be.

  2. If we're being honest, it was sometimes Miles of Chocolate from Central Market. ;-)

  3. My grandfather says "The harder I work, the luckier I get." I love that. It's the phrase I need to get me into a mood to just start doing things! Though I do love a good couch hang. I cannot tell a lie!