Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers

Watch out man, the train is a-comin!

What does that mean?
It says you have to actually do something with your life if you want to get somewhere. The expression, by a former cowboy, uses some “western” terms. Being “on the right track” would be the opposite of being “on the wrong track,” which would mean the train could not get to it’s destination. Being “on the right track” means you are in the right place and headed the correct direction to get to your destination.

But if you are just going to sit there, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Worse yet, you will get run over by anyone else who is trying to get to the place you were going to. Just like a train sitting on the tracks goes nowhere if it isn’t moving, the same goes for you, even if you are on the right track. Hope that made sense.

Why is effort important?
Putting forth effort is how things get done. Without effort, all you have are small, random, perturbations which amount to very little. If you want to get something done, if you want to go somewhere, you need to put in some effort.

Getting somewhere (continuing the train analogy) requires two things: a direction and some effort. The train tracks give the direction, but without effort, you just sit there. In rocketry, this is referred as failure to launch. The rocket is pointed skyward (direction) but the engine did not fire (no effort). It’s just sitting there.

Be careful of the opposite, which is high effort but no direction. This is the classic “chicken with it’s head cut off” action, lots of running around, but nothing useful is accomplished (or a rocket with no fins, spinning and going all sorts of directions).

There are two other pairings in this dual dichotomy (four square), the “no direction with no effort” (think of a tree stump) and the one we should be, the “going the right direction, applying effort” sometimes referred to as a person who is “going somewhere”.

Which one of the four do you want to be? If you already have direction, it’s time to put forth some effort, right?

Where can I apply this in my life?
For this post, I am going to presume you are already on the correct track, that you are simply lacking in application of effort. Everyone has different motivations, so I will share some of the things I have found to work in the past, and you may have to experiment to see what works for you. Ready?

For me, effort is preceded by motivation. If I am not motivated, it is much harder to put forth any appreciable level of effort. What motivates a person? For me the list (in no particular order) looks like this:

  • to provide for my family
  • to help others
  • to impress others (show off & prove it to the doubters)
  • to overcome a challenge
  • to accomplish something new (something I’ve not done before)
  • to grow personally
  • to get some money

Make a list of your own. It will likely be incomplete, as mine almost certainly is. You can always update the list at a later time. The point is to have a list that you can refer to later on in this post.

Now make another list, of projects (or whatever it may be) where you have a direction (you’re on the right track), but you’re just sitting there (no effort, no motivation). Select one of them and look through your list of motivational factors. Which one(s) apply to this task?

Recently I got back to some modifications I wanted to do to my car. I had all the material, but never set aside the time. The car I have is noisy, so I had all kinds of sound-proofing material on hand. All I needed to do was install it. I wanted to get something finished that I had started and prove I could complete the project. It was also something I had never done. Add that to having to take apart the door panels to fix the window mechanism on three of the windows, and the die was cast. Motivation found, effort put forth, and now progress is being made.

How about you, have you found a good match between your project and your motivations? If so, get busy. Feel your motivation. Even though my arms are bruised and scratched from working inside the door cavities on my car, I’m still smiling and thinking of my accomplishment. What do you need to do to feel good about your activities? Just get busy!

If you can’t find any motivation, there still is a way that I use to force the effort. Guts. Like the TV says, just do it. Get it over with. Finish it and move on. Perhaps you can add a little motivation, kind of like dessert after a meal you don’t like that much. What can you do afterwards to reward yourself for pounding out the task, for putting forth the effort? It’s worth a try, if nothing else is working.

Just like the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always an oncoming train, you can use the whistle of the train coming down the tracks (motivation) to help you avoid getting run over (effort, or lack of it). Those projects aren’t going to complete themselves, so pick one and get it done!

From: Twitter, @MotivateDaily
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/willrogers104938.html
Photo by JuditK

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