Overcoming Inertia

Someday.  Someday.  We hear it all the time.  “We’re not ready yet.”  “I’ll have chickens someday.”  “I would like to have a goat someday.”

Guests come to our farm, admire our children, the work we do, the love we share and the sense of accomplishment, fulfillment and purpose that fills our lives.  They begin telling us things about someday.  This is a big chunk of our ministry at Chism Heritage Farms.  It’s not all about healing land and feeding our community.  We also want to heal and feed people on an emotional level.  We begin asking questions.  “Why did you get out of bed this morning?  What are you hoping to accomplish today.  I’m not talking about SOMEDAY, I’m talking about TODAY!”

“Someday” is a lie you tell yourself.  Someday will slip past before you realize it.  What is it that’s really holding you back?  Why not begin to embrace your dream now?  Are you afraid?  Think it won’t work?  Have you ever failed at anything?  I have, early and often.  Failure is easy.  Anybody can fail but few have the courage to really do it well.  Have you ever really succeeded at anything though?  I have done that too…but not without spectacular failures along the way.  How much don’t I know about raising pigs, chickens or children?  Or being married?  A lot.  But it hasn’t stopped me yet.

Go for it.

You don’t know what your dream is?  You’re not alone.  I see an entire generation waiting to be told what to do.  Let me tell you what to do.  Something.  Several somethings.  Just go do stuff.  You’ll find something you do well.  Work to do better.  You won’t find purpose in front of the TV.  If you are absolutely unable to find something worth doing, do nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Sit down somewhere bright and convert Vitamin D in the sunlight.  Look at the world around you.  What contribution can you make?  What problem can you solve.  What are you here for?  What can you do today?  Pray about this.  You are a part of creation.  You were created.  Why were you created?  Did you ever think to ask your creator?

Maybe you already know what it is…that thing that screams at you each day.  Maybe you have starved it down to a whisper but you still hear it.  What can you do today to make that dream a reality?  What’s the first step?  Write it down.  Just write it down.  Fill a page with as many details as you can come up with.  Better yet, write it in a small notebook you can carry around with you daily.

Second step?  Look at what you’ve written.  Post it somewhere you can’t avoid (bathroom mirror).  Make that vision a part of your life.  Be purposeful about your purpose.

Third, start reading.  Turn off the TV.  Turn it off.  My wife says in the video we are sedating our lives with entertainment a la Aldous Huxley.  (Ironic that she said that in video.)  Start with a few simple things.  You’ll need to be inspired to pay down debt.  I suggest the following as a starting point:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad…for all its flaws we recognize the positive impact it made in our lives.
The Dream Giver…another imperfect book but the message it contains is outstanding.
If you’re going to pursue farming, read You Can Farm and The Contrary Farmer.  These are truly classics of agricultural writing and will give you the confidence to go against the current.  If you’re not into farming, find the classics of your passion.

Find a writer you like and read everything they have written.  It really won’t take long in your new post-TV life.  Then, begin reading what your favorite author reads.  We read everything Gene Logsdon wrote, including correspondence we had with him through the mail.  Gene Logsdon pointed me to Andy Lee.  Andy Lee pointed me to Joel Salatin.  We read (and continue to read) Joel Salatin and moved to the farm.  That’s how it works.  Start reading.

Fourth, as you read, find ways to attack your debt.  All of your debt.  Since you’re not watching TV anymore you don’t have a cable bill.  You might even free up some cash by selling the TV, though that may be a wash as you replace the entertainment center with a bookshelf.  Pick one debt and put everything into it.  Once gone roll that payment into a second debt.  We paid off 2 cars, 2 college loans and saved a downpayment for a farm on one modest income in just a couple of years…with four children.  We didn’t subscribe to any magazines, we didn’t eat out, we didn’t go on vacation.  We pursued our purpose.  Now it’s your turn.

Finally, avoid negativity.  Well-intentioned loved ones will think you are crazy.  They’ll tell you it won’t work.  They may even say something helpful like, “I tried that once” or “You’re young, you’ll learn”.  You need to learn.  You need to learn to avoid these people’s opinions.  They may honestly think they are being helpful.  They may not realize they want you to fail because they feel like failures and misery loves company.  You also have to learn to shut out that internal voice that says you will fail.  Fight discouragement.  You aren’t destined to be discouraged.  You’re destined to make a positive contribution to the world around you.

Go write something down.  James Altucher says the same thing every day on his blog.

Oh, and if you’re considering farming I highly recommend you read this first.