“I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words each hour, each day, everyday, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing, and the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every action necessary for my success. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person.” –Og Mandino
When I was younger, I hated Mondays. To me—and I felt justified in my feeling because most people I knew felt the same way—Mondays represented another long week to pass before finally crossing the threshold of a new weekend, when I could finally let my hair down and remember I was a human being.
One day, not too long ago, I got up on a particularly dreary Monday morning. It was cold and raining outside, and I had to go to the grocery store. Never mind the fact that I don’t particularly like shopping … on a day like this, I would have been happy to do just about anything else at home instead than going out. So I didn’t; I dropped my daughter off at school and went back home. I looked for a list of excuses that would justify my lack of resolve—the closet REALLY needed straightening out, the kitchen floor HAD to be mopped, you name it, I thought of it … anything that could keep me from going out into the elements was welcome in my book, no matter how much I normally didn’t like the task.
The morning rolled along, and it was time to pick my daughter up from school. We got back, and I went to make coffee … I was out of sugar! No big deal, I thought, the creamer itself is fairly sweet, and surely I could enjoy coffee without the extra bit of sugar until that evening, when my husband could just bring some home from work. I drank my coffee and went to do a few other things around the house. I realized I was out of window cleaner … hmmm … a little vinegar could fix that, and the problem was solved. Then, it was time for dinner preparations; and suddenly, I remembered two ingredients I had to have to fix the meal I had already thawed meat out for. That was my final defeat; I got my daughter’s coat on and we went to the store. Not only did I have to go to the store in the end anyway, but now I even had to drag along a tired five-year-old who didn’t want to miss Dora the Explorer and couldn’t find a shoe. To top it all, it was raining even harder now, the temperature had dropped, and a hungry child is never a good companion to have at the check-out line, where candy sparkles from the shelves like diamonds waiting for a thief. The trip to the store which would have taken thirty minutes of my time in the morning turned into a messy journey, just because I allowed procrastination to set the tone.
When we perceive something as being unpleasant, our first instinct is to postpone the inevitable, even if we create a greater sense of stress for ourselves that way. No matter how hard we try to focus on other things, thoughts of challenges ahead are like clouds covering up our sunshine.
Whether we are dealing with health-related issues, situations with other people, or even a personal matter, very few people have the self-discipline necessary to take action immediately, if the effort or the confrontation can be pushed forward and not faced at that moment. Unfortunately, whatever is not approached and dealt with now will not disappear, but it will instead continue to amplify and get worse.
We have the power to control the majority of events unfolding in our lives. The first step is to take action when it’s needed. The best time is usually right now.