If we fail to choose a destination, we most likely will end up in a place that we didn’t choose to be.
Punk/thrash band Suicidal Tendencies covers this concept pretty well in their 1988 song “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow…” the next line is “when I can’t even smile today.
Day after day, we live moment to moment, with no vision or planning for the future. No intention in our actions, no direction. Just getting by. Our mental state and our next action are dictated by the circumstances that we find ourselves digging out of, instead of our planning and intentions.
“The clock keeps ticking, but nothing else seems to change
Problems never solved, just rearranged
And when I think about all the times that I’ve had
Some were good most were bad”
How did I reach this point?
Maybe a better question would be, “how did I expect to wind up anywhere else?”
When my sons do something brainless and get a horrible result, my reaction is often, “Son! What did you think was gonna happen?”
They didn’t think far enough ahead (or they didn’t think at all). Their vision only reached the next 2 seconds and five feet ahead.
Extend this decision making process into adulthood.
Everyone has heard, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
Eventually, our days are filled with do overs and damage control.
We can’t concern ourselves with saving money when we’re stressing over scraping up enough to pay this months bills.
We don’t worry about where our kids will be at 18 when we are constantly at the end or our rope with a couple of toddlers.
We don’t worry about running a 5k race when we’re ready to pass out from climbing a flight of stairs.
We can’t make plans for a better career path, when we’re struggling to hang on to the job we have.
We ruin new relationships because our current relationships are such a mess that we stay in a terrible state of mind.
Try to give a youth basketball player advice on shooting mechanics. Even if you’ve witnessed 15 straight misses and just want to offer a minor adjustment to their technique, the answer is always the same………”it just doesn’t feel right”. Translation=I’m comfortable doing it the wrong way and I’m not gonna change.
We are all guilty of this; only willing to make changes and adjustments in cases where we see instant results, improvement, or gratification.
We only concern ourselves with making that “next shot”. Five years from now, we still can’t shoot. We lose our love for the game, doubt our value to the team, and basketball becomes a miserable experience.
How will I laugh tomorrow, when I can’t even smile today?
Make a choice to laugh tomorrow. But making changes today doesn’t always mean that the laughter comes today. Stay the course. Change the future.
Make changes, even if you don’t see immediate results.
Obviously, we aren’t guaranteed of tomorrow. But we don’t have to find ourselves in a mess when it does come …..because we ignore it today and fail to prepare for it.
Don’t settle for being comfortable doing things the wrong way. Don’t be afraid to tackle difficult changes with an eye on the future.