You picked up the brand new car you’ve been wanting forever. You drove it out of the lot, and now you’re heading to the mountains for a camping trip with some friends. All the while, you’re inhaling that new-car smell. Go you!
As you’re driving along the back roads, you notice something a little strange. The car is leaning a bit. Then it’s making an odd sound. You pull over. You stop the car. You get out.
Damn. A flat tire! On your brand new shiny car! How the heck did THAT happen?
What do you do?
Well, it is YOU after all. So you do the only logical thing.
You say, “Screw it.” You reach into your backpack, get out your camping knife – and slash the other three tires.
Hey, why even bother if they’re not all working?
“That’s totally over the top! I would never do that to my car!”
Well, would you do it to your goals?
Would you do it to your day?
I’m betting you would, you have, and you do.
Think about how many people you know (maybe you’re one of them!) who started on a path. Maybe it was a new business. Maybe it was a long-held dream. Maybe it was a project, or a production or a plan.
Then, they got a “flat.”
Maybe it was a bad performance. Or a negative review. Or overwhelm from too many clients.
Rather than fix the flat or put on a spare for a while, they sabotaged the entire dream. They slashed the other three tires.
Hell, some of us do this in a single day! We have a list of priorities. Then, one flat tire, and out comes the knife, and we give up on the whole day.
It’s called Extreme All-or-Nothing. And if it’s your default position, it actually seems rational. You can even explain it so that it sounds logical!
“Well, of course I gave up on my own business! I took that one chance – and it didn’t work out!”
“Yea I spent the day in bed! I binged last night, and I didn’t make it to the gym at 6am! What was the use?”
Here’s what you know already, but I’ll remind you anyway:
Extreme All-or-Nothing is not rational. It doesn’t make sense. A flat tire is nothing more than a highway bummer.
Years ago, someone asked me when exactly I knew I had totally healed from my years with an eating disorder. Was it when I didn’t binge anymore? Was it when I was the perfect weight? Was it when I no longer tried to stuff down my emotions?
It was when I could go to a birthday party, have some chocolate cake, and head to the gym the very next morning in spite of my non-perfect eating.
In fact, it was so liberating that I began to see my imperfect action alone as true success – more exciting than any outward success I experienced!
So, the next time you get a flat tire, choose to experience your own pure success…
Look at the tire.
Come up with a plan to repair it or get a spare.
Leave your other three tires alone.