I suck. No, really I do. I am a sad specimen of a human being. I know what I should do every day to live a healthy, productive, and wealthy lifestyle, but I don’t do it. Well, I do it much of the time, but I just am not as consistent as I should be. As a mentor for others, I feel especially aware of my less than stellar actions. Nothing irks me quite like the self-improvement ‘gurus’ who are all talk and little action. I refuse to talk about, write about, or teach something that I have not done myself. That is why I thought it important to write this article. You should know that I am far from perfect, but that does not change the truth of the principles I teach. What you should understand is that none of us are perfect in implementation.
When I was ten years-old, my parents bought me a Duncan,® butterfly yo-yo. After much practice, I got to where I could work that thing like it was part of me. Not only did I get good at the ups and downs, but I also was able to do ‘walk-the-dog,’ ‘around-the-world,’ ‘baby-in-the-cradle’ and more. I loved that toy. Obviously, to make a yo-yo work, it must go up and down. Two directions. That is kind of the point. If you put a good enough spin on it, you can keep it in the down position for quite a while before you must jerk it slightly to bring it back to your hand. However, leaving it there too long will cause it to lose its spin and ‘die’ on the string. At that point, you must either roll it across the floor or wind the string by hand to get it going again.
I used to get really down on myself when I got out of habits that I knew were good for me and was sporadic with activities which I knew would bless my life. Lately however, I have come to see life through a different lens. I have come to realize that life is not a “box of chocolates,” but a ‘yo-yo.’
Though this analogy could be applied to any activity, let’s use the example of eating healthy and exercising. I know that doing these things makes me look good, feel good, and increases my confidence. Yet today I had a double cheeseburger, fries, and a Reese’s® shake for lunch. Sure, it tasted great, but I am going to pay for it later. With every bite, I knew I shouldn’t be eating it, but I chose to ignore my inner ‘Jiminy Cricket’ and indulged anyway. My yo-yo was definitely down today. Two things can happen at this point; either I give the string a little jerk by exercising those extra calories off or eating a salad tomorrow or I don’t. Right now, the yo-yo is still spinning and I could easily get it moving again. If I have a Gordita™ from Taco Bell® tomorrow and a Beef and Cheddar™ from Arby’s® the next day, I will have a much harder time getting my yo-yo on track again. There may even come a time when I have to do a serious reboot and rewind the string completely to get going again. The longer I wait, the less the toy keeps spinning and the harder it is to restart. The problem with most of us is the fact that we sometimes allow one bad decision to lead to another. Once we hit the snooze and sleep past our running time, it is so much easier to do the same thing tomorrow morning as well. “I will repent later, but I might as well live it up now before I make the big change.”
The key, I have found, to living a successful life is not to be perfect. If you try to do that, you will fail. The key is to get back up when you come down. To keep going, a yo-yo must go down. As a human being, you will slip. You will justify. You will slack. The hope is that you do not let it get you down long-term. The faster you jerk that line, the easier it will be to get the momentum going again. If it has been a few months, you might have to stop and rewind a bit (reorganize your life to fit that important activity in again), but do not give up. You are a yo-yo. You may not be at the top all of the time, but you sure know how to bounce back.
Now, go create some value!
Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.