It dawned on me recently that I was avoiding two things.
Getting my car serviced and going to the dentist.
I’ll just let that sink in.
Trivial, yes, but my avoidance is undeniable. I mean I’ve been like an avoidance ninja, dancing around with my ninja sword, doing ninja backflips in my ninja clothes.
Here’s the thing though, I know I’m not the only one. I think that at any one time we’re all avoiding something.
- An email
- A phone call
- A meeting
- A colleague
- A difficult conversation
- Writing a blog
- Starting that business
There’s always something.
Naturally, once I had this realisation I did the only thing there was left to do: I avoided both tasks for another month.
Then my car had trouble starting and my hand was forced.
I called the mechanic and explained I was two years overdue for a service… Yes, two years.
It felt like an episode of Seinfeld.
One week later they’d replaced the tyres and battery, done something-a-rather with the brake pads and transmission filter and put something-a-rather in the engine. Oil, I guess.
It felt like I’d been torturing my car.
Despite all this, when I drove away from the mechanic in my freshly serviced car, I was struck by an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.
My heart rate went up, I gave a little fist pump and smiled to myself. Look at me go, I thought, owning my shit.
I felt like… an adult.
You know that feeling?
Like when you return home from work with clean tupperware, ready for the next day.
Or when you wash your sheets and remember to put clean ones back on before you go to bed.
Or when you realise that fabric softener isn’t detergent, but can be used at the same time to make your towels feel like they’re from a 5-star hotel.
That is to say: when we prioritise things we’re avoiding we can begin to make progress.
As Polish powerlifter Jerzy Gregoerk once said:
“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”.
And yes, that feels like a random source to quote, even to me.
Alas, I’d invite you to consider: what are you avoiding?
And then: What would it look like if it was the first thing you did tomorrow?
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to call the dentist.