Walking Dogs, Pushing Rocks, and Launching Boats
1. Walk the Dog
Even if you don’t have one.
I’ve been dog-sitting for a few months and I’ve discovered something life-changing.
The dog has to walk and take care of its business, twice a day.
Therefore, I must walk twice a day.
I’m not naturally the type of person that walks from point A in order to walk around and back to point A.
On the whole, I’ve been more of an A to B and B back to A, kind of person.
Being forced to do something can be pretty effective motivation to do it.
After just a short time, I look forward to this twice daily event where the dog does its business, and I do mine.
My life is much better for it.
Maybe walking the dog means stopping to pray, turning off noise, taking a nap, or pouring a cup of tea and reading slowly… twice a day.
Whatever you do, get a (metaphorical) dog and walk it, twice a day. If you don’t your home might be full of (metaphorical)…
2. Push the Rock
Maybe you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, the Pareto Principle, the law of the vital few.
It says that, in many cases, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, or 80% of the results come from 20% of the energy.
The 20% are often difficult things, complicated things, unpopular things, things that are not, at first glance, obvious.
The quintessential image of this idea is of a massive boulder sitting atop a hill. A person exerts energy to push the boulder until gravity catches it and carries it the rest of the way down the hill.
Your task is simple. Find a big rock and push it.
But big rocks are difficult to push and the rocks that matter might not be the most obvious or the most popular or they wouldn’t still be on the top of a hill.
Many people want to be more motivated, most people don’t want to have their motives examined and judged.
Many people want to live in a peaceful world, most people don’t want to make peace with their enemies.
Many things are pushing back against this rock. That’s why it’s still there.
If it’s been there for a long time, if you have learned to ignore it or cope with it, then that’s your rock.
If you immediately feel like that can’t possibly be my rock, it probably is.
If it’s difficult, complicated, unpopular, or not, at first glance, obvious, push it.
3. Launch the Boat
You’ve got a boat, maybe even a bunch of them.
You work on them and you leave them… on land.
Boats are made for water.
Boats are made to launch.
In fact, it’s possible to argue that a boat is only truly a boat once it’s been in the water.
Now, it’s not about being careless and launching a boat with holes in it.
A boat does need to be watertight and you need some way to steer and propel it. But that’s about it.
If you want to build a cruise liner, you might wait your whole life and not launch anything.
In the end, the point is being out on the water anyway, not building the boat.
And you can’t get out on the water until you stop and take the risk of a launch.
Hesitating to launch because something bad might happen?
It’s true, some great ships have set sail only to sink.
But there’s a big difference between a ship wreck in the Caribbean that attracts divers from around the world and an unfinished boat rotting in a marina down the road.
Launch the boat and see what happens.
You may not know if it’s watertight until you try.
Boats were made to be in the water and your ideas, your creations, you… we’re made to set sail.
Maybe it’s already watertight.
Maybe it’s just waiting to launch…
Moving forward requires doing small things every day. Today, try Walking the Dog, Pushing the Rock, or Launching the Boat — you never know what might happen.
I write 6 days a week about diverse ideas, inspiring people to live well and grow — subjects include minimalism, entrepreneurship, faith, wellness, and personal development — often from a different perspective.