There are times when most of us have thrown up our hands with at least one of these exclamations:
- The problem is too big.
- The problem is too hard.
- I have a veritable bundle of big and hard problems, which makes the situation too complicated.
- My resources are too little.
- I am too different from others who have succeeded, and the set of difficulties which binds me is too unique to allow me to take heart from others’ success.
- It is too late to fix any of it, or at least to do a proper job of it.
In moments of turmoil we may be convinced of all of these harbingers of impending doom. Granted, there may be grains of truth in this dismal surveyance, but it’s the “too” which transforms these statements into shackles, and what’s more, into lies.
Yes – you may indeed have big, hard problems by the score, a dearth of money, time, skill or support and a legion of special circumstances. There may be some unavoidable consequences. But none of this means that you can’t turn it all around, in fairly short order.
You can turn it all around in fairly short order.
If you look back on any work you’ve avoided, but then finally undertaken, you will notice these patterns.
- The work you’d anticipated loomed far larger than the work required. It wasn’t really too big after all.
- The painfulness you’d dreaded was far less than you expected, or even entirely imaginary. It wasn’t really too hard after all.
- Once you abandoned the job of “figuring”, for the job of “doing”, complications dropped away and sorted themselves out. Your success on one matter began to improve the conditions of the others. So it wasn’t really too complicated after all.
- When you began using the small resources already at your disposal, they were sufficient, or fresh resources accrued as you continued. It turns out that you had the tools you needed after all.
- Your conviction that your difficulty was unique, or that you were exceptionally disqualified to master it, was forgotten as you began to succeed. It turned out not to matter after all.
- The evil foreboding that any significant relief was far, far in the distance was replaced with the reality that your relief came in stages. Things got better and better, far sooner than you expected. The destination was closer than it appeared at the outset, and it was not too late, after all.
Every one of us has experienced this dichotomy in perception, before and after the resolution of a difficulty. And yet, these are common illusions, even when we’ve already navigated them in the past. They present themselves anew, like warped and distorted images in an amusement park mirror. However their impact on our hope, determination and behavior is unequivocally real.
There is but one way to shatter their poisonous influence, and that is to begin.