This is part two in the series on the perpetual state of suck. I encourage you to read part one if you have not already done so. Part one focused on internal factors and part two will focus on the external. I call these external factors “NoGos” and “Cancers”.
A NoGo stands for no good and is simply anyone, place, or thing that is stunting your growth in relation to reaching your full potential.
For example, you have a major test in the morning and a lot is riding on you passing this test in order for you to advance. Your buddy, Jim calls you up and says he wants to go out tonight for drinks, his treat! Do you:
A- Get some last minute studying in;
B- Go to bed early so you are fresh for the exam; or
C- Go out for drinks with Jim.
Given this scenario, most people would probably choose A or B. Some might choose choice C and find a way to justify it by saying you studied enough, or the test is going to be easy, or I am already passing the class so it does not matter what grade I get. Some might even make a choice for D and say I will study for an hour and go out with Jim for two hours, this way I do not feel bad for going out. Now, understand it is small choices like these which affect our future. They affect our ability to reach our full potential; I have been really good on my diet so I can cheat and have dessert, I have not missed a workout in a month so I can sleep in today, I am trying to save money for my vacation but I can buy this shirt because it is on sale.
Am I asking you to be super disciplined and never live a little? Of course not! What I am doing is asking you to look at your choices differently. In order for us to reach our full potential, we have to evaluate our decisions and ask: is this bringing me closer or further away from the best version of myself. If the person, place, or thing is taking us further away they are NoGos.
Let’s look at the example from earlier. Keeping everything the same, the only difference is that Jim is a long lost friend you have not seen in twenty years and he is only in town for the night. Ahhh man damn! You have to go out with Jim right? It has been twenty years since you last saw him and you may not see him again for another twenty and your test is stupid in comparison. Like I said, everything is still the same. The “stupid” test is still going to enhance your life if you do well on it. Decisions, decisions. Even once in a life time opportunities are not worth risking you becoming beast. On any other night Jim is your dude but in both scenarios hanging out with Jim the night before your big test Jim is a NoGo.
So now that we able to spot the NoGos in our lives, those people, places, or things that keep us from our full potential, let’s dig a little deeper. Sometimes life is not so cut and dry. There are people, places, or things in our lives that are not that easy to get rid of, avoid or say no to. In fact turning down such a NoGo is downright impossible. I refer to these areas of our lives as cancers. Cancer? Yes cancer! I do not use that word lightly.
Let’s take a look at cancer. A cancer is something that grows, spreads, and can eventually kill us. Now, a cancer in your life acts in the same way; it grows, spreads, and winds us killing us from reaching our full potential. Remember Grumpy George from part one? George was in a perpetual state of suck because George had a cancer in his life. Was the cancer his job? Maybe. Other people may have worked at the job just as long as George and had no complaints while George was miserable. It is possible that George, deep down, knew he deserved more out of life. So why was George there putting himself through turmoil for twenty years, you ask? Maybe George was afraid of venturing out into the unknown. That fear is George’s cancer. George made a subconscious decision to live with his cancer rather than face his fear.
Cancer is a real thing. People die from breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer every day. When people are diagnosed with cancer it is a horrible day to say the least. Depending on the stage some can have surgery or chemo, or drugs. None of these choices are easy, they are all horrible.
I have had the privilege of meeting some strong women who have survived breast cancer. A few have gotten a double mastectomy. For those unfamiliar with that term, it means that they had their breasts removed. This surgery helps rid the body of the cancer and diminishes the chances of it coming back. Some women like Angelina Jolie decide to have this surgery even before they are diagnosed with cancer, if breast cancer runs in their family, as a preventive measure. This is a difficult decision for many women because their breasts are part of who they are, it is part of their identity as a woman. It helps to define them. So you can only imagine the severity of having to part with something that helps make up who you are. When asked how and why, women who have elected to have this surgery have said, they wanted to see their children or grandchildren grow up, they wanted to see their kids get married, they were not yet finished living, they choose life!
That last reason is so powerful, they choose life. The decision for them was to either potentially die or potentially live, and they choose life. Wow!
I am no guru, and I cannot tell you how to live your life, so I will not pretend to have all the answers. What I can poise to you is a question. We all have cancers in our lives, things that are harming or potentially harming us, things that are robbing us of our peace, robbing us of reaching our full potential. When we take a deep, long look at ourselves and realize these are not only NoGos but they are cancerous. What choice do we make? Are we choosing life?
Are you choosing life?