As I see it: Jumping into the pond

Frog by Henry McLin
Photo by Henry McLin used under Creative Commons license

By Patty Juliuson

Down at the pond (don’t ask me which one; it doesn’t matter), three frogs are sitting on an old log. In a lengthy conversation, they debate the merits of their log, note the features of the pond and discuss their place in the world. Believe me, the rot characteristics of their log and a thorough examination of water quality are part of the discourse. At long last, they come to the essential question; Do they belong on the log or in the pond? After much deliberation, the conclusion is that they will jump into the pond.

So tell me: How many frogs are in the pond? The answer: Zero- because there is a difference between deciding and doing.

We all have different reasons for making decisions. Circumstances lead us to the point where we feel the need to set a goal, make a change,  reform, renew, believe, succeed, achieve. However, many lofty goals fall prey to procrastination, lethargy or the tyranny of the urgent. Tomorrow’s objectives stay in tomorrow and we find ourselves weeks or months down the road with no discernible progress toward our goals. It’s great to have ambition, even talent, but how can we actually do what we decide?

I have a worn, yellow sticky on my laptop on which is penned, “Discipline is the bridge between your desires and your accomplishments.”  I heard this statement as someone was sharing an inspiring sermon point and I jotted it down as a continual reminder. It is so true- we can want a lot of things, but without discipline, what the Encarta Online Dictionary calls “a conscious control over lifestyle,” all we have are high hopes. Discipline is an idea that has put its boots on.

At the bottom of that sticky note, I wrote, “Plan and execute”.  Because life is busy, every goal must have a plan. I have research papers due at the end of the semester, so I have actually noted in my organizer how much I have to write each week in order to finish without a migraine. It’s the geek thing again, I know, but it works for me. Life is busy, and I’m not getting any younger.

I have other academic goals as well; I want to spend a semester in Vienna next year and I want to go to graduate school. I won’t do either of those things unless I devise an approach. Next time you see me, ask how my husband and I are getting to and from Vienna. We have a plan.

How many decisions have you made? What have you actually DONE? Are you a frog on the log or a frog in the pond?  I may not accomplish everything I dream, but I strategize to give myself a fighting chance. And you never know- I just might make it.

See you in class!