In an effort to “Eat 5 A Day,” I have been trying for the past ten days to eat the grapefruit sitting in my fruit bowl. Every morning I say “today I will eat the grapefruit.” And, every day I don’t.
Not reaching my goal despite my best intentions, has been very frustrating. To compensate, I have intensified my focus becoming more determined to accomplish what I set out to do.
Yesterday was different. For the first time, my focus blurred and I turned away from my faceoff with the grapefruit to consider how it fit into my big picture. I asked myself:
What am I trying to accomplish ultimately?
Does this specific goal matter?
How do I reach it?
Is there another way to do it?
By doing this, I discovered that I had options. I could do something other than try, fail, and repeat. When I stepped back and expanded the way I was thinking, I remembered that the grapefruit was not my end game. I was able to see that a banana would, for the most part, work just as well.
Also, I realized that what I thought was single-minded focus was really tunnel vision. I had done myself a disservice by zeroing in on my goal. By expanding my thinking, I finally was able to adapt and eat something different.
Before I moved forward completely, I reconsidered the incident with the grapefruit. Specifically, I asked myself the same questions which allowed me to adapt a day earlier. When I disengaged and reevaluated it became possible for me to see what mattered and why I should stretch to get it.
Upon reflection, I understood that the grapefruit was symbolic. There was a bigger issue at stake. My character was on the line. How I handled this challenge would determine whether I am a person who talked about doing something or a person who did something.
I decided that I am the latter. However, if I was going to prove it, positive thinking was not going to cut it. A minor adaptation would not do. It was time for real change. Therefore, I set my alarm to go off an hour earlier, I did not hit snooze, I dragged my exhausted body out of bed went into the kitchen and ate the grapefruit.
Everyone has a grapefruit, that thing upon which they are stuck. For some it is a means to an end. For others it is the ultimate goal. What is yours? Do you even know anymore? When was the last time you took a timeout to consider it?
If you are in a staring contest with one of your objectives I recommend that you blink. Turn off autopilot. Ask yourself some questions. If there is an easier way to reach your goal, go for it. If your goal does not matter, walk away. However, if does matters, what are you going to change so that you can grab hold of it.