It’s really not that hard to figure out the right thing to do. Exercise more, eat better, work harder, take considered risks, let go of bad habits, be honest and diligent.
You can look in any book, take any advice to get a quick consensus on the smart choice, which is just waiting for you to put your effort and focus behind.
The hard part is actually having the motivation to put those wise plans into place. It is the ability to move outside of your comfort zone to learn new things, to sweat more, to deny yourself pleasure and do the damn work. We see the costs of doing the work but just don’t believe that the work will bring us what we want and what we need.
Grant me the strength to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference. In a choice between a brilliant notion with weak execution and a weak idea with brilliant execution, always bet on the better execution.
Why then do people often think that the way to help people is to tell them what they should be doing? They most probably know what they should be doing. What they lack is the motivation, the drive, the hope, the belief in the possibility of change to act on that knowledge.
My sister is pushing me to go to a gym. She’s right. I should be more fit. But will the cost of having to get naked and stand with the men ever be worth my own vigour? No. To her, it’s just simple. To me, it is being destroyed and erased. Can she understand why I don’t have the motivation to tough that crowd? Does she get why that seems a huge cost without a corresponding benefit, why pushing me towards it only puts me in a deeper hole?
Having hope, hope that our work will actually lay the foundation for meaningful change, is at the heart of giving courage and motivation. Why bust our butts just to be pounded down once more? Isn’t that a kind of silly ask? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But after a while, go look for something else. No use being a damn fool about it.
Feeding the zeal, though, is not easy or comfortable for those who want to help us. They don’t hold a vision for us that transcends the conventional, one that empowers.
ShamanGal’s father is introducing her to some old friends this weekend. His instinct is to dig out the old, carefully crafted letters about gender transition and rationale, to prepare the dog and pony show to sway them, SG is resisting this making a big deal out of her emergence.
After two years of being out at work, her “I’m trans, so what?” attitude works for her. She doesn’t need to explain and justify to everyone, doesn’t need to open that can of worms.
Her father doesn’t understand that idea, though, because he doesn’t live in the world as a transwoman everyday. To him, the idea is fresh & scary, so he resists it.
I had to remind SG the emotional throes she went through starting work, flipping between wanting to pass all the time and wanting to hold meetings where people were lectured on trans topics and had to sign up for doctrinal acceptance.
To move to “So What?” SG first had to believe that “So What?” was really even a possible attitude towards the world. It was hard for me to get her to “So What?” to stop thinking of trans as huge stinking deal. Now she has the challenge of getting her father there, as his vision, his fears haven’t transformed over time, so he can’t yet even imagine it is even possible to just say “My child is trans. So what?”
The challenge in the world is not knowing the smart choices, the challenge is acting on those choices with grace, smarts and persistence. It is pushing beyond entropy to endure the deep costs of change.
To do that, you need to have the motivation, the zeal, the belief that enduring the uphill battle can lead you to someplace better, towards the possibility of happiness, comfort, joy and satisfaction. You have to have robust, shining and durable hope.
Hope isn’t primarily about smarts, it is mostly about belief which manifests in determination. Doing the work, with an open mind and an open heart, will smarten you up quickly enough.
You can offer suggestions to other people, you can try and use a carrot or stick to get them to comply with those suggestions. Until you can help them believe their own change, their own healing, their own transformation is possible, they will still resist doing what they know is the right thing, will still shrink away from demands that don’t seem to acknowledge how broken their dreams are.
It’s easy to know good choices. It’s hard, however, to find the zeal to pursue them.
Zeal is a scary thing, because it isn’t easy to control. We struggle with it inside of us, so we find it hard to encourage in others.
The zeal that is unlocked when we follow our bliss, though, when we believe bliss is possible, is at the heart of all motivation, all change.
Yes. Yes, it is.