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MYST 58 Trevitorial: Be Active or Live Passive

Active or Passive?
Active or Passive?

Photo by Matthew Clark, via Unsplash.com

Imagine two people in a canoe. The person up front digging hard with their paddle, propelling the canoe forward. The person in the back is along for the ride, but he has no paddle in his hands. He has no control over where he is going. He is sitting passively enjoying the ride. If he ends up in a good spot, maybe a sunny bank along the lake, then he chose wisely.

But what if the front person is over-eager, and aggressively tries to paddle through the rapids of a river? The trip will probably end differently—at the very least, it will be a much wetter journey.

What does that have to do with weight loss, writing a book, starting a new career, or any goal achievement? This idea builds on the concept of being your own person and finding—more importantly, using—your own voice!

Take charge. When you passively exist, you only receive what others decide for you. In the USA, we are soon going to have national, state and local elections. Vote! Take a stand. Choose a position. Make your choice. If you don’t vote, and you don’t like the election outcome, you are not in a position to complain.

If you are on a weight loss journey, you really can’t do it passively. It takes action, determination and drive to lose weight.

But you know, you actually can do it passively, in a fashion. If you use prepackaged meals, that is a relatively passive method of weight loss. If you try those special “fat burning, metabolism-boosting” pills, that is pretty passive.

But the problem is that it doesn’t let you learn how to eat healthy the rest of your life. If you follow their plans, you will lose weight. Will it stay off? That is the real question.

When you are in control of what you eat, you make decisions every day. Hopefully most days are good decisions, but even on those days where you choose unwisely, you are still learning about self-control.

In my first thought, of the two people in the canoe, what would be the result if the rider in back were to grab an oar? First he could help steer the canoe. He would be able to exert some influence upon the direction he moves. But he could also help propel the canoe faster, and reach their destination quicker.

But as it is, he is simply riding. Passive. One could even say “useless.” That is never a descriptor of anything good.

Railroad Tracks,
Straight Ahead, No Detours!

Photo by Antoine Beauvillian, via Unsplash.com

What about getting on a railroad? Isn’t that a passive choice? Sort of.

That is a choice you can make, too, and with that choice, you know the end destination. Depending in the railroad and ticket, you have a reasonable assurance that you will disembark where you are planning. There are no rapids for the engineer to steer through, and if the train unfortunately derails, it will have nothing to do with your actions, and you could have done nothing to prevent it.

But once again, you have no control over how fast you arrive and actually, your potential destination choices are also limited. This is like choosing a very restrictive weight loss plan, one where you strictly limiting certain foods. Might that work? Sure. But will it take you exactly where you want to go, in the comfort that you desire? Maybe. Maybe not.

Clint Eastwood said “Fate pulls you in different directions.” He’s right. Some things that happen to us are out of our control.

That’s why it is so important to take charge of all those parts of your life which are under your control.

Which choices are you making right now? And do you have the paddle in your hands, or are you riding passively.

That is always your choice.


Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog.

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