1/5/16: Autopsy of Inaction

How do people get to the point in their life where they aren’t motivated to do anything?   Why do people lose hope?  As I go around the U.S. speaking, too often I come across people who seemed to have given up on their dream or aspirations.  They’ve settled for what they’ve gotten and there’s no more fight in them.  I can see it in their eyes; they look defeated.

I’ve put together here ONE scenario of what I think happens to some who lose that spirit of achieving their highest potential.  I like to think of this diagnosis as an autopsy of inaction.  This is what happens to people who don’t take action in life and simply accept their fate accompli.

You didn’t take time to write down your goals, because you didn’t need to.  You have them right in your head…no need to write them out.  Everyone reminds you to write down your goals, but you insist it isn’t necessary.

Time goes on and you get this uneasy feeling that you are NOT progressing in life as fast as you’d like.  But you can’t be sure of this lack of progress because you have no goals by which to measure your progress.

Since you can’t measure your progress, you decide to look to a surrogate measurement by comparing what you have to what others have.  You do this comparative analysis and you ultimately conclude that you don’t have as much as another person your age or as much as the person you went to High School with.

Now you get more depressed and become irritable.  You become so irritable that people find it hard to talk to you because you’re either grumpy all the time or you bite their heads off when they say anything that triggers some insecure feeling about not making progress in life.

The result?  You start losing friends.  Now they won’t tell you that they’re not your friends any more, they just stop calling you or find excuses of why they can’t get together with you.
Now resentment kicks in and you affirm to yourself that you don’t need friends any way.  So you close in on yourself and now the television become your new, best friend.  It’s a wonderful companion because it helps you forget about your worries by numbing your mind.

But then you start noticing that people on the television seem to have a better life than you do.  Your discontent grows as you see how much other people have on the television and how much you don’t as you survey your skimpy apartment.

Even though television is NOT a reflection of reality, you get more depressed and unmotivated to do anything.  You soon realize (or imagine to yourself) how far behind you are compared to others when it comes to material measures of success. Now you’re totally depressed or deject and you don’t want to do anything.

When you get to this point, you’ve reached the “I Accept” point of your life:

I accept that I will never be happy.
I accept that I will never have the things others have.
I accept that I will never be able to achieve the dreams I once had.

Once you’ve reached this point, you join the millions who live out their lives in quiet desperation every day.  Although you have an almost mute yearning for more in life, you reconcile within yourself that maybe this is all there is to have in life.  You tell yourself that you will never be more than what you’ve already become, The Living Dead.

Although you have not been officially pronounced dead, your spirit and will have long since abandoned you.  And one day, as the final moments of life close in on and you feel the reaper’s breath upon the nape of your neck, what will you say?  I don’t know, but I can imagine that it might go something like this:

I settled for less, I didn’t do my best,
Early I faltered, My life I did alter,
My mind retreated, My spirit now defeated,
I wish I had…
One more smile,
Just one more laugh,
One more kiss,
Just one more hug,
One more love,
Just one more friend,
One more chance,
Just one last dance,
some more time…

When the end comes I’m sure that you won’t be asking for money, a new car, a bigger house, etc.  The things you’ll long for the most in those final moments will be those things you could’ve had for free.     Success is measured by the quality of your life, not by some comparative analysis of what you do or do not have.  Remember:

  • Don’t be discouraged to act because you feel you’re too far behind.  Nonsense!
  • Don’t compare what you want to what others have.  Mistake!
  • Don’t let your dream suffocate under indecision.  Tragic!

And finally, don’t let inaction lead you down a path of despair.  It’s a dead-end.

As the Star Wars’ Jedi Master Yoda would probably say, “Umm, lonely you’ll be!”

R. Wade Younger, CSP
wade@wadeyounger.com

401 North Tryon Street
10th Floor
Charlotte, North Carolina, 28202, U.S.A
980.200.3000

WadeYounger.comInternational Speaking & Business Consulting
TheValueWave.comProject Leadership & Organizational Development
Youthapedia.comThe World’s Largest Collection of Life Skills for Kids