Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, part 3
Let me ask you a question. “How are you doing?” I await your normal, conditioned response.
Now, let me lean in uncomfortably close and lower my voice an octave and ask you again in a conspiratorial tone “How are you really doing?” Instead of just answering “fine, ok, not bad” I want you to place yourself into one of four categories.
Now let me ask you again. How are your finances? How is your marriage? How is your health? How is your spiritual journey? How is your daily pursuit of joy and happiness?
Maybe you feel like you are in Survival mode – fighting every day just to keep living. Either you claw, scratch and fight to escape from that condition or you’ve given up to despair and lost all hope. Nobody wants to stay in Survival mode. It’s unacceptable to the individual and unacceptable to society.
I think like most people, you’ll find yourself in Stability mode in most areas of life. That’s how we end up with the “fine, ok, not bad” answer. The vast majority of people in industrialized countries live in a state of Stability. Because that is the lowest acceptable level not just for yourself but for society. The trap though, is that once your life is in a state of Stability, there is no pressing need to keep fighting to climb higher. Only a small percentage of people take advantage of their blessings, their skills, their opportunities to move from Stability to Success. These are the go-getters, the achievers. And unfortunately they are rare. Even rarer still are those that seek to move into the level of Significance.
Most people do not seek out success principles to apply to their life because their lives are Stable. They are comfortable. They will not take any action to improve their life until after they are hit by some adversity that threatens to drop them back to Survival mode.
They begin digging their well once they see the drought is imminent.
And then their comfortable, complacent lives are disrupted. It’s like they suddenly forget that life goes through cycles; through good times, through bad; for better or for worse. And for those that spend their lives comfortably parked in Stability mode, downward pressure from circumstances – a low cycle – forces them into Survival mode. And humans are at their ugliest and most desperate when they are forced to fight to survive.
It’s like depriving someone of oxygen. We do not concern ourselves from day to day with whether or not we have enough air to breathe. If I hold your head under water, it might seem amusing for a few seconds. If you trust me, you may wait until 30 seconds pass before trying to push my hand away from your head. After 45 seconds you will begin panicking and struggling. After 60 seconds you will thrash wildly and be unable to think of anything except for breathing. After 90 seconds you will do anything humanly possible just to be able to breathe. You will kick, gouge my eyes, even take my life just to get some oxygen.
Humans are at their ugliest and most desperate when they are focused only on survival.
So for those of you who are “fine, ok, not bad,” I’m going to tell you a few things that nobody has ever told you before.
Staying in Stability mode is short-sighted. When the drought comes, those people that have spent their whole lives maintaining a stable lifestyle are the least equipped to claw their way out of the pit. Successful people bounce back quicker and Significant people help pull others less fortunate out of those pits.
Staying in Stability mode is selfish. If one day you are not thirsty, you know someone that will be. If you are just in Stability mode, you have just enough water for your own family. Stable people rarely can or will be able to help those struggling to survive. When you become a Success, the overflow from your bucket provides water for everyone around you. If you are a person of Significance, you have multiple wells that many people draw from.
That success overflows to others is obvious with financial prosperity but not limited to it. If you have a strong marriage, you are better able to help a friend that is struggling in his own marriage. If your marriage is only Stable you have less capacity to help. Usually the only thing you can offer is sympathy. If you have strong faith, you have a greater capacity to minister to someone that is going through their own crisis of faith. If you have a strong, positive attitude you are better equipped to bolster someone else that is depressed.
Or you can get by. Concern yourself with your own stability. Be “fine, ok, not bad.”
I end all my books with the same sentence. Be blessed in all things. By being blessed you can also be a blessing to others. When your needs are fulfilled and you have no worries about being able to continue to fulfill them, you can focus on the needs of others.
That’s my goal. To encourage you to move out of a place of Stability. To goad you towards Success and Significance. To force you to address the questions “why should I do anything different?” “why should I try to be a success?” “why shouldn’t I be content to be average?”
Because there is a drought coming.
There are two primary motivating forces in the world. Some people are motivated by positive and some by negative. The carrot or the stick. The dream or the nightmare. Most authors of motivational books focus on positive thoughts and statements to encourage you to chase your dreams. I am here telling you that there is a nightmare coming. I want to instill a sense of urgency into your life to compel you to action.
So, let me ask you again. “How are you doing?”
And if your answer is, “I could or should be doing better,” then let’s explore how we can do better.