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There are many nations in this world. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, and the diversity we find is enough to make us awestruck. But there are three nations in particular that are a blight to society. These nations subtract from our overall health, well-being, and the economy. They pull us down into the darkest of places, where we sometimes can never find a way out. We’ve all visited them from time to time. But when we go on tour and experience all three in succession, we often end up broke, unhappy, and struggling to create a great life. These three nations have names: Procrastination, Consternation, and Resignation.
The Dirt: We live in a free country.
We may live in a free country physically, but we’re often in a whole different world mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The real crime is that if our inner world creates our outer world, it doesn’t matter how great our country is on the outside, we’ll ensure that we never get to fully experience it. What if we’re actually in those three nations more often than we like to admit? Imagine we can escape and take an infinite vacation from the stress and devastation that befalls all of their citizens and get back in alignment with the incredible opportunity we truly have.
This nation isn’t known for much. It had grand plans to be the greatest nation in the world, but just never got around to it. It’s potential is limitless but it will become nothing. Other nations will conquer it and it won’t even see it coming. It’s lack of preparation and action will be its downfall.
If you feel like you live here, you’re not alone. It’s the largest nation of the three. It’s the easiest place to live (or should we say exist) and its grand promises of good things to come are eventually shattered with the reality of inactivity. Its boastful claims that everything will just work out are undercut by the reality of not planning.
It’s that comfortable feeling we get when things seems to be going fine. Sure, we know we should be saving more money, getting to the gym, or starting that business, but we haven’t and we’re still okay. The hammer hasn’t dropped yet. So we assume what’s good for now is good for later. Then later comes and we must pay the piper. But the piper is asking for more than we can afford and we suddenly become very uncomfortable. We look back with regret and frustration at what could have been. “If only” is the national motto.
It’s also the squirrel that runs in our way and makes us take our eyes off the road. If enough squirrels get in our way, we can spend so much time nature-watching that we never actually get to our destination. It’s social media, cell phones, television, YouTube, and other sources of entertainment that ultimately add little value to our lives, but sure demand a lot of our time in return. What would happen if you did the ROI on that investment? In other words, figure out how much those 20 hours/week of TV are worth in terms of your life and calculate how much value you received in return. A lot can happen with 1000 hours per year. Was it worth it?
This nation is one of fear, doubt, and worry. It operates nervously and expects things to fall apart in the end. It builds its infrastructure with such unsurety and a shaky foundation, that when the bridge comes tumbling down, it says, “I just knew it would happen” In fact, the better things get, the more it worries since the higher you go, the bigger the potential fall. It will eventually doom itself to failure and misery with no help from the outside.
If this is your homeland, you understand how tough life is here. You likely traveled here from Procrastination after a serious event woke you up to all the things that could go wrong without planning and action. The only tiny solace in the struggle here is that everyone is struggling together. Of course, it doesn’t help much in terms of success, but at least everyone is on equally poor footing.
It’s the fear failure and success, with the latter being the most scary and the former being the most misunderstood. We are taught that success is the opposite of failure. This sounds good, but what if it were only through failure that we can ever find success? How many ‘no’s does it take to get a ‘yes’? And just when we think we are afraid to fail, we come to find out that we’re truly afraid to succeed. When we set a bar high enough for ourselves, we must get off our butts and meet it, else risk feeling dejected.
It’s also the cruelty of worry. What is worry? If you consider that most of what we worry about never comes to pass (or nowhere near as bad), then worry is essentially emotionally living through an experience that will never happen. How cruel could we be to ourselves? Why live through something that will never come to pass? All that is doing is guaranteeing a horrific journey through life even when life is offering us so much better.
Let us remember that anything we focus on, good or bad, is what we will attract. If we expect bad things, we’ll find a way to see the bad, feel the bad, and attract more bad. Imagine how fear, doubt, and worry play into this basic principle of the universe. Attracting fear can only keep you afraid, having doubt only spirals into more doubt, and worrying gives you more things about which to worry. So the national motto is, “That’s just my luck”
Resignation is the wealthiest of countries. It has vast stores of inventions, books, creations, art, poetry, wealth, and all things precious. How can this be? It’s where unfulfilled dreams go to die (like people and Florida). All the creativity that we never created dies here. It’s a place that has given up on itself. It doesn’t have the unfounded hope of Procrastination nor the stress and worry of consternation. Rather it’s a nation of zombies waiting for the double-tap to the head.
If this is your homeland, you may not even know it. Self-awareness is not required to live here and is often frowned upon anyways. It doesn’t build bridges; what’s the point? It doesn’t make art; it’s too hard. It doesn’t teach music; not enough talent. It just waits in its own slumber until the world is fed up with allowing it to use up its oxygen, and then leaves a legacy of emptiness and regret.
It’s enlisting in the rat race, like some broken record of a really bad song. If we do what everyone else does, we’ll get what everyone else gets. Consider how many people struggle financially, emotionally, and in their relationships. Are you sure this what you want? The rat race is a process of work without knowing where it will lead. It has no end goal and as such can only lead to devastation. And they say even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.
It is often giving up. Most citizens here never start and the ones that do often give up before they win. They start by visiting from Consternation but never go back home. By giving up on the return trip, what they may not realize is that they’re giving up on their goals, their family, and their livelihood. And each time they give up, they are not quite the same person. It’s as if a piece of them breaks off and is lost forever. So the national motto is, “What’s the point?”
It’s also not finding and pursuing your dream. I can’t tell you what your purpose is in life, but if you can’t tell you, you may want to spend some time figuring that out. It is said that the two most important days of our lives is the day we are born and the day we figure out why. We are incredibly insulted when others forget our birthday, but why is that we’re not disgusted with ourselves that we’ve never figured out why we’re here. When we do find our dream, I’ll submit that it’s our responsibility to create and share with others. That not doing so is a crime of incredible gravity for society. Think about anything that has ever inspired you. Ever wonder about life without it? What if the creator never found and shared their gift?
So what can we do? The good news is that we can leave these nations anytime we wish. It takes a concerted effort and a whole lot of will and desire. There are countless maps available to help you navigate across the border. The land of opportunity is not as far away as you may think. Find a mentor and follow them. Grab a book and let it lead the way. Get a one-way ticket out, run as fast as you can, and never look back.
“What is called resignation is really confirmed desperation.”
Henry David Thoreau
I challenge you to share with with all your fellow citizens. It just might save their lives. I appreciate you. Freedom’s at the top ‘cause the bottom is always too crowded.