The Long Haul
As you progress towards your goal you may, at times, falter. You see, the head can be a “barrier to your life” not just in the beginning of an endeavor but throughout. Your head can tell you to hit that snooze button it’s raining outside and you’re not going running in that mess. Your head can tell you go on eat those potato chips, you deserve a break from your diet. It can tell you turn on the tv and just watch for an hour. Your head can tell you to do a lot of stupid things. At that point you need to stop, take a breather and do like the long-term married do and recommit. Remind yourself why you made the commitment in the first place. Look at how far you’ve come so far. Do you really want to give that up? Look at how much farther you have to go. You can make it — you’re cruising! See, your attitude has improved already!
Give yourself a little reminder. Put a picture of your goal by your bed so you will have to look at it the first thing every morning and the last thing every night. I keep by my bed a stack of books that are written by people – I’m sorry to say — who are not as good writers as me. That’s my little reminder that if they can do it, so can I!
When you commit to the commitment you are giving strength to your inner cheerleader, your inner Olympian, your inner champion. It’s just not cute to be anything less.
When you do commit to something — getting better grades, getting in shape/losing weight, even writing a book it’s not enough to simply say, “I am committed,” and sit back and wait for success to happen. Oh no, you must make it happen. You do that by committing to the commitment.
You must make that commitment your whole world. Your whole day must be structured around that commitment. Let’s say you commit to getting into better physical shape. But you are an IJNC girl so you will do more. You will commit to getting into the best physical shape you can. To do this you will have to get up early to go running. But you must do more than set the alarm. You must get to bed early the night before. You must keep on top of your laundry so you always have clean workout clothes available. You may have to cut into your shower, hair and makeup time because, for that moment, until your goal is met, that stuff is not the priority. You have not committed to having great hair. You have committed to getting in shape, to being the most fit you that you can be. That is how true winners — Olympians — get the job done. Who better to model success and commitment than someone who’s taken their accomplishments to the highest level?
When you free yourself from the “tyranny of your internal critic” you are saying, “Shut up!” to that annoying little part of your brain that is a doubter, that says, “No, don’t audition for the school play because you might not be that good. No, don’t bother applying for that internship at Disney because EVERYONE will be trying to get it and who are you to compete with them? No, don’t flirt with that oh so cute guy in Biology class because he’s on the football team and he could laugh in your face or make throw up noises if you try.”
When you have a voice like that in your head it is awful! It really is like living with a bully who tries to tell you what you can, and cannot, do. And everyone knows a bully is really just a coward. When you commit to something, really commit, you are saying to that coward inside, “Eff you! Ima do what I want and don’t you dare try to scare me out of it!”
Once you stand up to your own “internal critic” standing up to your outside critics — friends, families, teachers, jealous haters, etc., is CAKE! And once you have that freedom, that power, once you truly have taken control of your life it is so, so easy to walk around with your head held high because you will be floating. You will still hear the doubters but their tone will be so muted, so irrelevant, that it will barely even register. Trust me!
That’s not to say that making a commitment guarantees success but it, at least, guarantees a result.
I read a really inspirational quote today (okay, it was on my Starbucks cup, but please don’t let me lose you). It said that:
“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.”
Okay it’s not the smoothest of language and I realize some of you have grown up next to a beach so let me lay it out for you in terms of something every girl can identify with – boys and kisses!
When a boy gives you that first kiss (or you give a boy that first kiss, okay slut!) he is committing. He is not forgetting about the consequences, he is saying I don’t care about them, whatever they may be. Because no matter how strong the chemistry, no matter how many signals you’ve been giving him, and for you bold girls, no matter how many times you have said to his face, “I want to make out with you,” there is always a chance that he has gotten it wrong, that you were kidding, that you smile that way at everyone. He is saying, “I don’t care if I ruin the friendship, if I have to see her tomorrow at school, if she tells me she doesn’t like me (or even guys at all!), if she runs away mortified, if my friends laugh at me or are jealous. (Or sometimes — and these are the guys you want to stay away from!! — I don’t care if my girlfriend finds out!) He doesn’t care about any of those things because at that moment he wants to kiss you more than anything in the world. He would sell his car to kiss you. He would quit the team. And whatever may happen, whatever the consequences, he is going to kiss you.
That, ladies, is what is meant by throwing caution to the wind.
“Say what you need to say.” These are just not lyrics to John Mayer’s hit song. Nothing is more confusing than when people skirt around the issue.
I once had a colleague who liked to overexert his power. He and I were at the same professional level, although he had more years in the field. One year he was given a special title. This title did not make his position rise on the totem pole (although he thought it did). After that he always tried to be so philosophical and wise when giving directions, comments, and unwanted advice. He actually left me more confused than ever (trying to sound grand and mighty but in the end sounding more like a complete and pompous jackass). When you would ask him to clarify himself, he would get all puffy and upset that you did not speak idiot lingo.
What is the point? Sometimes less is more. Don’t try to sound as if you are better than a person by stringing together big words and clichés. Remember this quote from Lincoln: “It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
This provides an opportunity to learn an important life lesson. When faced with unwanted advice from someone whose opinion you do not respect, the best course of action is to remain quiet, smile, agree with everything they say, then change the subject and make them laugh. Once free from their clutches continue doing exactly what you were doing.
The legend goes there was a prince who loved to have beautiful women tell him stories. Each night he would summon a beautiful woman to the palace to entertain him with a story. But after the girl told the story, the prince would have her killed. One night a girl came along who told the most wonderful story yet. The prince was enthralled, couldn’t wait to hear the ending. Just when the girl got to the best part she stopped telling the story and said, “I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.” Thus the girl lived until the next day. That night she came back and lived to see the next day by again saying “I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow” This went on for 1001 nights until the prince married her and they, of course, lived happily ever after.
Ladies you don’t need to be an IB student to recognize the hidden message here. Always leave them wanting more. And yes, we’re talking about sex here. (Moms – chill.) BUT we’re not talking just about the hands-on stuff. There are all kinds of ways you can leave a guy wanting more. If you really think about your actions and stay true to your intentions.
This is what happened to me recently:
I was out in the city in a really cool part, having the best time just walking around, looking for something to do. It was the first time I had motivated myself to go into the city for a long time (having forgotten my motto – “A day spent entirely in the suburbs is a day not truly lived.”) I was thinking about how much I loved the atmosphere– the old buildings and streets, the interesting mix of people, the laughably dorky tourists. The abundance of specialized retail the likes of which the suburban mall will never see. (Not that I could afford anything – teacher paycheck – but it’s nice to know where to head once those book checks start rolling in.)
So anyway I get this text from this guy. This is a guy that I am NOT very interested in and this is where the lesson comes in. He texted me did I want to meet him at this (moms cover your ears) boring-sounding bar I had never heard of. I didn’t even know where it was. Why? Because it was all the way out in the suburbs. Now, you know if I had really liked this guy it could have been all the way out in Nevada and my keys would already have been in the ignition. But not this guy. There was no way I was leaving the best and most fun part of the city to go to some generic bar in the suburbs. It didn’t matter if I was just walking around or if I was in line at 7-11 trying to buy a Gatorade and a Chipwich. It was more fun that drinking in the suburbs with someone I didn’t really like.
So I told him no! Hmm, a novel feeling – turning someone down. It felt strangely…good! Empowering. And did the guy go away mad? Of course not!! He wanted me all the more. (Unfortunately for him he never was going to get me, but he didn’t know it at the time.) Now what would have happened all these years if I had pulled this on guys I actually was attracted to? Hello, ring on the finger! Hello, Ms. P. in a bridesmaid’s dress!
Okay there’s a chance that if I tried this on a guy I liked he might have just given up, found someone else to hang out with, or joined the priesthood. But then that would have provided a time and emotion-saving opportunity to discover he just wasn’t that into me.
Saying no to something you really don’t want to do is a win-win situation. (Unless it’s a family activity. Then you’re obligated.)
The “Leave Them Wanting More” technique can also be employed with a variety of people besides boyfriends. Friends, frenemies, car salesmen to name but a few. One person you do not, however want to leave wanting more is your teacher. Not unless you want an “I” on your report card and your car keys stowed snugly away in your father’s dresser drawer.