I’m not one who likes to write about “new years resolutions”, but I can’t help but share a thought I read recently. If you’re someone who has been discouraged by a history of unaccomplished goals, I think you’ll appreciate this post.
The starting of a new year is exciting for some and discouraging for others. The moment you create a goal is the very moment you establish a tension. If you’re young and unfamiliar with failure, the tension is your friend. But if you’ve failed to keep up the promises of the past, you probably feel overwhelmed by the strain. The distance between your current reality and the vision you have is just too difficult to contain and comprehend. The temptation for the disillusioned is to simply stop dreaming.
I saw a diagram in this book (Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge) recently that perfectly illustrated this dilemma. Picture an elastic band pulled down by one hand and pulled up by the other hand. The bottom hand represents our current reality and the upper hand represents our vision. What you have in this situation is a tension that is created between the two forces. We therefore end up spending most of our life trying to alleviate this tension. We can ease this tension in two ways. Either we move our current reality towards our vision or move the vision towards our current reality. If you got nothing in the bank and a dream to travel the world, you either down grade the goal to a short road trip or start saving up some money for the flight.
While the realist leans their energy towards reality, the dreamer is drawn to the vision. If you’re like me, you might keep your goals ambiguous and out of sight in order to avoid any tension at all. Take what you will from this simple diagram, but I encourage you to embrace the tension. Convert failures of the past into wise counsel for the future and start believing again. I’m not saying it’s always wise to reach for the stars, but we can’t let the fear of tension stop us from dreaming.
Continued thoughts from a recent post A Righteous Authenticity