10:49:38 pm on
Thursday 20 Jun 2024

The Secret
M Adam Roberts

Several years ago, I watched a movie that was hilarious! I laughed all the way through it. I'm you've seen it. The movie is, "City Slickers," starring Billy Crystal and the late Bruno Kirby.

In the movie, three middle-aged men, who were close friends, were each going through a case of middle-aged crisis. One evening, while drinking a few beers together, they decided they needed a weekend get-away, to gather their thoughts, and to try to find some true meaning, and happiness in their lives. After some research on places they could go, they came up with the idea of spending the weekend on a dude ranch, learning the ways of the cowboy.

While on the ranch, they would have the opportunity to team up with a real cowboy, and walk in his shoes, for a couple of days. They were so excited to go! They couldn't wait to get there. They left their comfortable homes, in the city, and headed for cow country, to seek wisdom for their lives.

Of course, it didn't turn out to be what they expected. They hated every minute of it, and ended up gaining a new love and appreciation for what they already had in their lives. In the end, they couldn't wait to go back home.

There was one point, in the movie, where an old, rough and tough cowboy, asked the Crystal character, if he wanted to know what the secret to life. What is the secret to life, Crystal asks.

The old cowboy said, "One thing. The secret to life is, just, one thing."

"What is that one thing," says the Crystal character.

"I don't know," said the old cowboy. That's something you have to find out for yourself."

All my life, I have never been able to focus on, just, one thing, and that has been a great problem for me. My thoughts and ambitions are scattered in a dozen different directions. I have never been able to commit to, just, one idea. I have spent my adult life trying to have, done and been it all.

The key word, in my statement above, is commitment. I have found that to commit fully to one idea, I must willingly sacrifice every other idea or belief in order to acquire it. That's a hard thing to do. It takes great confidence, and faith, in the thing you are pursuing, to be able to do that. It also takes great confidence in yourself, and in your own abilities, to accomplish this, as well.

Usually, the one thing we would choose to do, or have, or believe in, above everything else in the world, is going to be something that we imagine to be amazing. Else, we wouldn't feel so strongly about acquiring it.

Having written that, it now challenges our confidence in ourselves. Can I really do that? Do I really have in me, what it will take, to accomplish this great endeavor? Do I dare to pursue it? Is it even possible, for me? Am I even worthy of making such a great request?

First, we find that we must have an unshakable faith, and confidence, in this idea that we have committed our hearts and minds to pursue, and then we find that we must have an equal amount of faith, in ourselves, in order to make it become a reality in our lives.

I believe, both of these factors, open up an endless sea off doubt, for most people, This is why, I believe, most of us resist in making such strong, absolute, commitments. We are not fully confident in what we desire, and we are even less confident in our own abilities and our own perception, of this thing we want. What, if what we want, is wrong?

We begin doubting, and asking ourselves questions like, "Is this idea, or belief, I am pursuing, really worth giving everything else up for? Is it really the right thing to do? Am I correct in my understanding of it? Is it the best I can accomplish with my life? Is this what g I was honestly born to do? Will I be selling myself short if I decide to pursue this idea or belief? What will others think, and how will they react, if I choose to do this? Am I sure, this idea is what I think it to be? What if it isn't what I think it ought to be? Maybe my ideas are wrong. What if I find out I really hate it, once I acquire it? Maybe my ideas are correct, which is scarier.

These are the questions t plague me. These questions leave me in frustrated, unproductive, in a perpetual state of uncertainty and indecision. I have never had so much confidence, or faith, in anything, that I have felt completely able to give myself, wholly, to it. All my adult life, I've been holding back, just in case the thing I'm pursuing doesn't work out the way I planned. That way, I won't be so devastated when things go amiss. I'll still have a plan B, and a plan C, that I can fall back on. That way, I won't look like such a failure, in life.

You see, when we never fully commit to something, we never really have to except responsibility for it. We can always claim we didn't sell out. We were just experimenting with the idea. That way, we don't appear so much, a loser. We feel safer operating that way.

Problem is, that kind of thinking will get us nowhere in life. In fact, it will hold us back from ever accomplishing anything, extraordinary, at all.

Sure, we will survive, and get by, somehow, but our lives will never be what they could have been if only we would've had the faith to believe, wholeheartedly, in just one thing. The one idea or that matters most, the one idea or act to make our life truly significant.

Years ago, I tried selling cars for a living. I quickly found, it wasn't the job for me, but I learned a valuable lesson from another salesperson, during the time I worked there.

One day, during a sales meeting, the top salesperson shared the secret of success story with us. He said that for eight years he tried selling cars, and never really made a very good living at it. He went on to us that he was never sure that selling cars was what he wanted to do. He just showed up to work every day, because it was his job to be there. He went through the motions, but he was always imagining, in his mind, being somewhere else, in life. He always imagined that, someday, he would find his dream job, and become very successful, doing what he really enjoyed doing.

He just put up with selling cars, until something better came along. "Well, someday never came," he said. "I finally realized that it was time for me to make a decision. It was time for me to decide if I wanted to be a car sales person or not. It was time for me to make a commitment to becoming the best car sales person I could be, or it was time for me to get out of the business.

"I decided I wanted to be a car salesman," he said. "The day I finally made that decision, and confirmed it in my heart, my income began to sour! I began selling cars as I had never sold them before! Within a matter of months, I became the top sales person in our company, and I have been so, ever since.

"It all happened for me the day that I decided for it to," he said. "It was all a matter of me making the decision to succeed, at the profession I had chosen, in life. I decided to decide. I knew what I had to do now. Sell cars!"

The secret to life is one thing. What is it for you? Nobody can answer that question for you. Nobody can answer that question for me. It is something we have to decide for ourselves. The important thing is to realize that we have this decision to make.

It is time to decide what we believe in. It is time to decide what, one thing, which we're going to commit our lives to accomplishing. It is time to decide, What is that one thing, which proudly represents who I am and what I believe?

We can't have it all. We can't be it all. We can't do it all. In trying to do so, we end up with far less than we could've had.

There will always be questions, and uncertainties, in life. We will not always know, without a doubt, that what we are doing is the right thing to do. Life requires that we exercise our faith, and take wise, calculated chances.

There are no guarantees, concerning anything in our world, except death and taxes! We all know that!

We must do our best to analyze matters the best we can, and use our best judgment in making our decisions, but we must also be careful to avoid the habit of double-mindedness, and indecision. It will cripple our lives, and hinder our success.

Let's decide, today, what it is that we believe in, and what it is that we are going to commit our lives to accomplishing. Make that decision, and stick to it, no matter what. Have the guts not give up on your dream, or your vision. Set your focus on one thing, and like a laser beam, let that positive, creative energy burn through all of your fears, all your doubts, and all your opposition.

M Adam Roberts lives and writes from Clearwater, Florida.

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