What’s luck got to do with it?

By Ibilola Odunlami ibilola@economist.com.na

By Ibilola Odunlami
[email protected]

Since I do not believe in making New Year’s resolutions, I have already begun my journey to fitness and maintaining my health. But the will to not bother jogging at all is at most times more convincing than so-called ‘common sense’ … so on most days nothing happens.
But progress is a slow process and I think the time that lapses between where you are now and where the finish line is, is the most challenging part of achieving any kind of goal or beneficial habit. Ironically, even though you may not have the patience to wait a few months to see results, procrastination will have you thinking it is okay to put something off until Monday.
This has me thinking that there are two types of doers: the ones who understand the process needed to get a certain job done, and the restless ones. The restless ones seem to be ‘perfectionists’ who want to be able to do something with minimal effort and see ideal results right away. If this stroke of luck is not on the horizon, why should this person even bother right now, especially when it is a long, tedious process anyway? If this small effort does not work, then it is on to the next empty task of doing (or self-convincing).
For some of those who fall into the latter group, this is fine if you have the ability to do it that way and succeed. But there are more of us who fall into the latter group who would rather deny that if going the extra mile is what we have to do, there is no other way to reach the end point than by actually taking every step needed to do it.
“Why do I need to work harder when that person over there did not?” you may ask. You might even convince yourself that putting more time and work into something is actually compromising your ‘innate ability’ to excel at something with minimal effort. You might just be kidding yourself.
The real question is “what if you are not that strong or smart?”. What if you just do not have it in you? This does not mean that it is impossible to start developing it, but it does mean that you might have to put in an extra amount of work to get it.
I think the real driving force here should be consequence. Because every decision has its own possible worst case scenario, you need to ask yourself which price you are willing to pay. Luck may not always be on your side in providing the smoothest repercussion for whatever you choose to do.
Are you prepared for the mental, physical or emotional toll of finding yourself stuck in a rut when you could have been a level higher? Do you have the tools to get yourself moving before it is too late? We need to be realistic. With our imagination we may be able to fast-forward to a more prosperous time but our bodies and our minds still need real time in order to produce real results.
Another tip I learned from my fitness journey is that taking one small step is still 100% better than taking no step at all. If that is the case, then by all means, just do something. Or you can imagine yourself in a year’s time wishing you you had done something today.