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OTHER ITA SITES:
Block Bad, Harness Good
Before you attempt to overcome a bad habit, be sure you have a well thought-out plan in place, one that you are committed to being accountable to. For example, don’t try to just drop a bad habit cold turkey. Instead, replace it with something else that is both positive and productive, something that will be rewarding to you. Stop focusing on the past and how you used to do or enjoy something. Instead, focus on the future. It will feel awkward at first, just like when you try to throw a ball with your non-dominant hand. It will take some time to get used to, but you will eventually become accustomed to it. If you can keep yourself constantly engaged in things that you find rewarding and invigorating, you will no longer have the need to avoid your problems.
Understand that you can only change certain things in your life. Some things you should not change or you simply cannot change. If an acorn wants to grow up to be a redwood, it’s not going to happen because it’s simply not what nature intended. If you are the size of an offensive tackle in football, you probably will never be a professional jockey. You will find what is possible if you really put your mind to it and follow your heart. Your heart will tell you what you can or cannot do and will guide you toward the path you should take. Take time out to be alone with your thoughts. Turn off the TV or radio in your car. It is OK to be alone. It’s perfectly acceptable to listen to your thoughts and to find out what your heart is telling you. If you never allow yourself any alone time, you might never find out what your dreams, desires or passions really are.
Change is critical to your success and happiness. I cringe to think what might happen in our lives if we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to make the appropriate changes.
Sure, we can pretend that we don’t need to change, that there is nothing wrong with our lives. Then, however, we soon forget the consequences of not taking action and making the changes we know we need to make. One story that illustrates this point well is from Samuel Whitman. The ice storm wasn’t generally destructive. True, a few wires came down, and there was a sudden jump in accidents along the highway…. Normally, the big walnut tree could easily have borne the weight that formed on its spreading limbs. It was the iron wedge in its heart that caused the damage. The story of the iron wedge began many years ago when the lad of a white-haired farmer toiled on his father’s homestead.
The sawmill had then only recently been moved from the valley, and the settlers were still finding tools and odd pieces of equipment scattered about…. On this particular day, it was a faller’s wedge—wide, flat and heavy, a foot or more long, and splayed from mighty poundings, which he found in the south pasture…. (The wedge is put in a cut made by an axe and then struck with a large hammer to enlarge the cut.) Because he was already late for dinner, the lad laid the wedge…between the limbs of the young walnut tree his father had planted near the front gate. He would take the wedge to the shed right after dinner, or sometime when he was going that way. He truly meant to, but he never did. The wedge was there between the limbs, a little tight, when he attained his manhood. It was there, now firmly gripped, when he married and took over his father’s farm. It was half grown over on the day the threshing crew ate dinner under the tree…. Grown in and healed over, the wedge was still in the tree the winter the ice storm came.
In the chill silence of that wintry night…one of the three major limbs split away from the trunk and crashed to the ground. This so unbalanced the remainder of the top that it, too, split apart and went down. When the storm was over, not a twig of the once-proud tree remained.
Early the next morning, the farmer went out to mourn his loss…. Then, his eyes caught sight of something in the splintered ruin. “The wedge,” he muttered reproachfully. “The wedge I found in the south pasture.” A glance told him why the tree had fallen. Growing edge-up in the trunk, the wedge had prevented the limb fibers from knitting together as they should.
If we neglect change, if we try to bury our problems in our life, the wedge of not changing will be more destructive than the hammer of change. Open yourself up to see what you really want to become. Set the course and then make the changes. You and you alone can navigate your life. See the horizon of success and never let anything take you off course.
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