The thought doesn't count
By JEFF LUND
November 09, 2018
However, the truth is, plans stink.
Sure, everything starts with an idea, and a plan, but I get the feeling that sometimes I feel so good about an idea, or declaration, or a cause, or a plan, that I forget to show up.
I remember how deep it cut to be told that I “mean well” which seems like a euphemism for someone who doesn’t follow through. The thought is only the beginning of what counts. When has a thought solved any problem? Am I there for someone, or am I not? Am I engaged or am I not? That’s what matters in that moment. The thought, like a great plan, is nothing without action.
I think about this sort of thing sometimes, not to berate myself in fits of low self-esteem, but as a way to hold myself accountable. In fact, I don’t want my ego stroked, or to get showered with reassuring posts because that only validates where I currently am, and if I want to get more out of life, I can’t be stagnant.
Donald Miller wrote “Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”
In a TED talk, Tim Ferriss said it’s not just the cost of failing, it’s the cost of inactivity that should scare us. “Humans are very good at considering what might go wrong if we try something new…What we don’t often consider is the atrocious cost of the status quo.”
My program works. It provides comfort, but what am I missing by congratulating myself and milking the clock? Do I have really nice ideas that keep me satisfied or go really well on social media and make me look like a hero when the only sacrifice I made was to type words with my thumbs?
It’s almost as infuriating as when I outsource happiness to something outside of my control. My Saturday can be ruined by a college football team. My Sunday can be ruined by a professional football team. A bunch of dudes who don’t know me, don’t care about me, totally in control of my day.
There’s nothing wrong with being a fan. I will group chat with college buddies as we cope with the disaster that will be the University of Arizona football season, but that’s where I have to leave it. And it’s not just sports. We outsource so much of our happiness to things outside of our control and make lists on behalf of ourselves, or others, that justify inactivity.
The reason I got so fired up this time is because my buddy Stephen shot a moose and a Dall sheep in the same week. Who does that, especially while going to medical school? Stephen Ellison does. While people are out there feeling good about the plans they made on couches (that don’t end in them getting off said couch) he floats rivers and climbs mountains. He’s not a rich kid doing the reverse retirement thing – you know, when since you don’t need to worry about income your big decision is which quaint little $300k Costa Rican cottage you want for when you want to get away from the stress of not having to worry about money, is broadcast on HGTV.
He’s crushing it in real time with real grit. He doesn’t outsource his happiness. He doesn’t make plans, he makes things happen. He’s earning his life not insulating it with excuses, fancy plans or empty words.
So yeah, thanks to by buddy Stephen I’ve got my moose hunt planned for next fall. Which, of course, doesn’t mean much, but I am excited. I am terrified of how huge the animals are and how much work it will take to get out and back with that much meat. But that's the point. To have the story, not a plan.
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