Are you willing to pay the price?

They’ve always been around but recently I’ve been noticing again just how much stuff there is out there selling you a quick fix if you ‘insert deal here‘. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been faced with some difficult choices recently. Choices that I needed to make to take a step closer to the life I can see in my mind’s eye.

If, like me, you have a good friend called Procrastination, at moments like this you too have probably enjoyed being held safely in that space of doing nothing about ‘the issue’. Of knowing that you really should but that it’s nice here, it’s comfortable, it’s safe and after all, tomorrow is another day.

And it’s when you’re hanging out with Procrastination, that you can feel tempted by short-term thinking; by the quick fixes, the hacks, the 5 steps, the amazing secret of getting exactly what you want without really doing anything other than opening your wallet.

But the reality is, that getting what you want requires effort. And it requires that you make difficult choices with a view to the long-term. Choices that sometimes feel like they will tear you apart because of what you could lose in the short-term. And I guess because we’re wired to care more about loss than gain, we’re tempted back into the arms of our good friend Procrastination.

Interestingly, I’ve observed very similar behaviour in some organizations. Organizations that know something has to change if they are to be successful, or even survive given the current climate. And yet, they too seem stuck in doing nothing. Perhaps they too have a friend called Procrastination? Or perhaps they too are firmly rooted in short-term thinking? I don’t really know the reasons why. Looking in from the outside I can only assume.

But I do observe that they too have the tendency to jump on to the quick-fix bandwagon. Of opening their wallet without seemingly considering whether what they’re buying will help them beyond the short-term sense of ‘doing something’ or appeasing the voices that are crying for ‘action’.

Ultimately though, whether you’re an individual or an organization, we all know deep down that ‘the issue’ is not going to just disappear off into the ether, whether by doing nothing or by buying in to the quick fix. A long-term choice has to be made and making that choice boils down to one simple question: ‘Are you willing to pay the price?’

Ask yourself that question next time you’re faced with something you need to resolve. Ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price of choosing to snuggle into the arms of Procrastination or plastering over the issue in the short-term, or are you willing to pay the price of making a different, perhaps more difficult long-term choice. A choice that comes with the implication of effort and the risk of failure. Who knows, perhaps once you get past all your head cinema, it could turn out to be the best choice you ever made.

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