Have you ever had this happen to you? You’re on the move, in a hurry with no time for distractions, and you realize you have a small pebble in your shoe? Your first thought is that it’s just a pebble; you can tolerate it. Besides, you don’t have time to stop and remove your shoe to get it out. What harm can it do, right? So you vigorously shake your foot to shift the pebble to an area under your foot that you can tolerate for now. The pebble is still in your shoe, but you’ve taken some action to minimize the impact it has on you, at least for now. Well, so you think.
Muhammad Ali once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wears your out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Advice from a man that achieved greatness, but only after overcoming many challenges growing up as a young black man in an era that was riddled with racial discrimination.
I propose the pebble is not in your shoe. I also propose the pebble is not really a pebble. That which wears you out and keeps you from the success you are deserving in life is something as simple as a pebble, and has the same power to prevent you from climbing your mountain; it’s a habit. It’s a bad habit, and it’s often accompanied by other bad habits.
Many people go through life wondering why their life is shaped by fear, worry, and anxiety; why they struggle for the ‘good life’ that many speak of and never seem to get. Napoleon Hill talks about a secret deep within his famous book, Think and Grow Rich that the reader is challenged to find. There are a number of fundamental principles within his book, but the one that you need to master is the ability to control your mind to the point that ‘bad habits’ don’t have a breeding ground to thrive within you. The secret is taking possession of your own mind and directing it towards ends of your own choosing. This statement by Hill provides a clear distinction between those who are successful and those who are not.
The moment you decide that you are going to take possession of your own mind (regarding exercise, relationships, money, happiness, etc.) you’ve at least pointed in the right direction. Do you know how you break a bad habit? You replace it with another habit – a good one!
Habits have a habit of becoming Habitual! Your goal is to replace the bad habits that guide you towards the results that you don’t like with healthy habits that guide you towards your desired goals in life. Just like a small, single pebble can cripple your journey up a mountain, one bad habit can ruin you financially, physically, and even in your relationships and happiness. You cannot allow even one pebble (bad habit) to settle in your shoe (your mind). Take possession of your own mind (which is a habit itself) and direct it towards ends of your own choosing and watch how your life begins to improve. This will be a process, it will take time and effort, and so persistence and drive will be critical. The mountain is right in front of you; you have a pebble in your shoe, what are you going to do about it?