My daughter Ellie used to pet sit for some friends who lived in our neighborhood. The first time I went to check on the pets with her, we were met by the dogs in the front of the house.
My first thought was, “Oh crap! The dogs are out.”
Ellie then told me that the dogs stayed in the yard because there was an invisible fence; a radio frequency barrier that controlled special collars the dogs wore.
Whenever the dogs would get close to the invisible fence, a little warning tone would sound.
If the dogs continued to approach the invisible barrier they would get an electric shock.
The closer they got to the barrier, the stronger the shock would get.
Hmmm, pretty cool.
Unless you’re one of the dogs.
The other day I was thinking about the way this invisible pet fence works, and it seems really similar to what happens in real life.
When we set and are trying to accomplish goals and objectives that require us to step outside of our comfort zone, there is an invisible fence out there that robs most of us from achievement.
We start by setting a goal. We might even make a plan to accomplish the goal.
But, when the going starts getting tough, the little voices in our head starts making the soft warning sounds just like the sound the dog collars make when the dog approaches the invisible barrier.
Face discomfort and keep marching straight ahead
Now some people might ignore the warning sound and keep marching towards their goal.
If we continue, and we are the dogs with the special collars, that’s when the invisible fence sends the signal to the collar to give us a little shock.
The response: “Wow! What was that? That was uncomfortable. I better drop this craziness and get back in line. Sure I want to run free, but that shocking business sucks.”
This is when the people I call determined-pretenders use Eric Cartman’s famous line from the animated cartoon South Park and say, “Screw you guys. I’m going home.”
However, if you are one of those people that don’t quit easy, you face the discomfort and just keep marching straight ahead facing the pain head on.
The bad news now though, is that the invisible fence has been programmed with the instructions to really dial up the pain.
If I translate this programming into a sentence it would read something like,
“Let’s show this SOB who’s in charge.”
If you were running a marathon, this would look, and probably feel like what long-distance runners call, “The Wall.”
Malcolm Gladwell would label this extremely difficult period as the moment that immediately precedes what he calls the “Tipping Point.” The Tipping Point is where you break through to the other side and all of the hard work and suffering you stomached actually works to propel you forward.
The many “faces” of motivation
A few years back in the Las Vegas marathon I hit “The Wall” at mile 24.
My body and brain said STOP! Not one more step.
I anticipated this happening. I didn’t stop. I ignored it.
(I actually channeled my entire focus on two really attractive women wearing tutus directly in front of me. Love Las Vegas! But I digress.)
I finished the marathon. After the race ended, I met up with my buddies, walked back to the hotel, showered and changed, and we went out on the town until about 1am.
Just a while ago my body said I couldn’t take one more step and now I’m out eating and partying on the Strip?!
I endured and I broke through the barrier.
And so can YOU.
Find your adventure and live your life
The real barrier was nothing more than just internal thoughts and feelings that I re-conditioned myself to ignore.
If only that dog knew that all you’ve got to do to be free is run like hell, stomach a few brief moments of extreme discomfort and then the world is your fire hydrant, the invisible pet fence company would go out of business.
It’s like that for us humans too.
The problem is that our bodies are conditioned, or better yet, evolved into vessels that flee from discomfort.
If you’re comfortable you’re not growing.
Today is a fresh new day.
I hope you decide to make it as uncomfortable as possible.
Find Your Adventure and Live Your Life
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