"Just do it!" The familiar Nike slogan says it all. So, why is doing it so hard?
The writer T. S. Eliot offers a clue: "We know too much and are convinced of too little." Sometimes what we say we want to do is not really believed, even by ourselves.
President Obama's "I'm still evolving on this issue" stirred the indecisiveness in us all.
An online business, MotiFake, advertises itself as "the original demotivational poster community."
One of its big sellers is a "Be Patient. I Am Still Evolving" art piece showing a half-man, half-robot, broken and bent, in mid-crawl, one arm upraised, with pain etched on its upturned face.
We have all felt like robot man. What we don't want to admit is that indecision too often comes from lack of conviction. The biblical description is: "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).
Scott Harrison, founder of "Charity: Water," aims to get clean water to 100 million people around the world. Recently, he was asked if he is concerned that giving too much away leads to aid dependence.
His answer: "I have a rule: If it's an obvious need, meet it. You can come up with a lot of excuses for doing nothing, or you can help."
Our obvious personal needs run the gamut from improving health by weight loss, exercise, nutrition and breaking bad habits to finding a way to emotional and spiritual peace.
Vanity may motivate in the short term but it weakens with age. Even the unwrinkled young are waking up to this.
Lori Borgman wrote a funny, insightful piece for the McClatchy-Tribune called "Being Too Pretty Can Get Ugly." She has had enough of the "too beautiful" elite complaining that their looks make life harder.
Borgman's point: Stop whining. If a person appears to have it all, we don't want to hear about it. If a person appears not to have it all, we don't want to hear about it.
Julia Bluhm, 14, from Waterville, Maine, initiated an online petition to get Seventeen magazine to stop doctoring photos that its young readers try to emulate.
Thousands of signatures later, Seventeen's adult editor, Ann Shoket, is promising full disclosure and a "body peace treaty."
"Just do it" will not work until we decide what we really want — and what we don't want.
Great thinkers note that we are only free to the extent of the things we can do without. Downsize stuff to upsize the ability to "just do it."
Daisann McLane, an editor of Conde Nast Traveler, wrote recently of having her luggage stolen while traveling. She felt she lost "everything."
Her shocking self-discovery: "Our possessions become home." McLane's next wake-up: She let go and "rebounded so quickly."
"Just do it" is as simple as not whining about the energy and action demanded to set and reach our goals, as simple as not whining about losses.
In "The 8-Minute Organizer," Regina Leeds says an organized person makes decisions: "Piles [of stuff] are just unmade decisions."
That's "decide and do" — simple, right?
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column.
If we seek simple truth, we can find it together — side-by-side.