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Thank God it'll take a long time!

Why do we often get overwhelmed and feel stopped when we know something will take a long time?

Before we answer that question, let's look into the joys of getting things done quickly and efficiently. 

It's so great that zip...zip...zip I can transfer $59.98 or $1053.45 with PayPal around the world (or have my bank cut a check and mail it to someone in the USA) within 2-5 minutes online from my home here in Kunming, China! On top on that, it costs me nothing.

I love it when it takes me less than three minutes to prepare a super-healthy "breakfast" for myself of muesli, dried fruits, nuts, and hot soy milk.

I feel like I'm getting the deal of century when it takes me less than 20 minutes a week (which is mostly preparation time) to do my high-intensity one-minute workout routines that keep me in great shape.

But some things are going to take a long(er) time...at least to get to a level of mastery or "final result"

and the "final result" might not even be guaranteed...

Not uncommonly someone will say to me, "Oh, your book is so big. It's just too much to start." (My book on courage is 700 pages). 

I read a lot of books, almost always on my Kindle Oasis. If I am considering a new book, I will usually download the "sample" first and read it (that doesn't take long) to ensure that the book is likely to provide some nuggets of useful information or ideas (my Next will like that) and also that I enjoy the process of reading it (to ensure that my Now is on board). Once I decide to get the full book, I'm hoping it will be a very long book and take me a long time to finish it. The longer the better! This means I will more likely run across more nuggets (than if it were a shorter book) as well as my Now loving the reading process everyday that I haven't come to the end of it yet.

Here's the probable reason another will feel daunted about the prospect of reading my book or any other book, especially a non-fiction book (of course, it could be a polite way to say, "I'm not really interested in reading your book, regardless of how long it is." Most likely the reason they will be reluctant to take on a big book is because they were "forced" to read books in school and reading occurs as something they would only do if they "have to." They have no experience of their Now loving the process of reading. They may have also feel like they cannot "add one more thing" to all the other things that they have to do (they are dominated by a results-first life).

Consequently, the idea of doing anything "that's going to take a long time" will be off-putting because their whole way of approaching life is results first over (enjoying) the process first. They don't even have the freedom to "add one more thing to their plate" by taking on anything new, especially anything big that could make a huge difference in their life.

Example with a client

Let's consider a specific example. Just yesterday (March 25, 2021) I was explaining to a client (let's call him Cody) the full meaning of prioritizing process over results. Cody's often been in breakdown and frustration, trying to "get this done" or "get that completed," consistently feeling pushed and pulled in many directions, feeling sapped of energy and of his ability to focus on any one of the endless list of the things he needs to get done.

He listened carefully and got the basic ideas of what it meant to consistently prioritize process over results. He became clear that, if he could do that, it would solve the issue of the ongoing "mess" in this life, as well as create many additional benefits on top of that, both for himself and for others.

 

Regardless of this life-changing potential, his automatic response was an immense feeling of overwhelm and "just one more thing to squeeze in" and he wasn't sure he could ever "get there" even if he started.

The catch 22

Since Cody (in his 60s) has lived inside the culturally given and reinforced paradigm of "results first" all this life (and he's managed to still get a lot of benefits, even though he's doing it the hard way), the machinery of his mind instantly applied that paradigm to the idea of adding one more thing that's going to take a long time to accomplish, one more thing to "feel bad about" because he wasn't able to get it done as quickly and consistently as "he should" and wants to. He's looking at the idea of taking it on like it's something to tolerate until he can get the results in the future sometime (and maybe).

The facts (let's look at them)

  • Yes, it most probably will take a while (months, maybe even a year or more), and Cody will not be able to know exactly how long that will be before he can say he has a level of mastery in putting process first over results. And, in something as fundamental as this, there will always be adjustments to make and new things to learn, no matter his mastery level. It will never be "totally accomplished."

  • It will be impossible for Cody to make a clear, predictable, step by step plan (especially at the start) of how he can get from where he is now to having created a level of mastery in putting process first.

  • However, it's easy for him to get started and to continue to take actions along the path of developing that mastery, Specifically, it works like this: 

      • The first step is to declare this new life direction.

      • "I, Cody, declare that I am moving toward becoming a master at putting process first over results!"

      • Then he can use Kickstarting a mental habit to keep this declaration in mind and to keep looking for the next do-able step. And then taking that step. Then again. And again. That's all it takes to become a master at process first. 

  • He will need to continue to get clear about (and maybe experiment with) what it means to put process first as applied to more specific circumstances whenever a Now-Next conflict occurs for him. One of his tools in continuing to do this is the ongoing use of AskDwightHow, more specifically the NNI toolkit.

  • Although there are immense possibilities, there are also risks. He cannot guarantee that he won't "give up" or that he won't feel like "it's not happening fast enough." Taking that stand and moving ahead includes some risks. 

  • He will begin to notice more enjoyable results almost immediately as he decides upon and implements each action step along the path. In general, the process will get easier as he progresses.

  • From time to time, Cody will be required to choose courage to accept the risks that he might "backslide" or "get discouraged," to choose the courage to not to put something in his daily or weekly plan, to choose the courage to renegotiate or even cancel agreements or prior understandings with others, and to choose the courage to take actions which confront his sense of identity.

 

If Cody considers these facts all together, then a much more reasonable (and empowering) response than overwhelm and "I don't have room for one more thing on my plate," would be "Thank God it's going to take a long time" and "this should be the first thing on my plate!"

 

Thank God it'll take a long time!

 

Once we decide that the value of going for something (given the time/costs/risks it will take for the benefits/possibilities received) and once we've also included "enjoying the journey" and a willingness to "take the risk" as part of that, then we will be able to honestly and excitedly declare and feel (as examples):

  • Thank God it's going to take a long time to finish reading this book!

  • Thank God it's going to take a while to effectively end my bad habit of speaking to others in an irritable tone of voice whenever I'm not feeling good!

  • Thank God it's going to take me several months or maybe a year to develop some fluency in speaking Spanish!

  • Thank God it's going to take several months to get my house organized the way I'd like!

  • Thank God it's going to take a long time to develop some mastery in finding ways to both take care of myself and serve my own self-interests (as my #1 priority) and, at the same time, serve the interests of everyone else in my life!

The more we can love the length of the journey (however long or necessary that is), not only will our life be fun and easy hour-by-hour and day-by-day, but we're also more likely to achieve bigger, more lasting, and more valuable results, both for ourselves and for others.

Look out, world! Here you come!​​​

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