Friday, January 22, 2010

Never Cut What You Can Untie

Did you blink, and then read the title twice? Does it make you wonder where we’re going with this?

We’re headed in a specific direction, but the implications for these six words are far-reaching. Just as they were in the 1700s when Joseph Joubert, a French moralist, first penned them.

How many times do we cut ties, cut people out of our lives, cut our losses, or cut opportunities? “Cutting” can be extreme, sometimes excessive, and often unnecessary. And, here we are at the heart of this matter. Many of us, even unintentionally, cut our opportunities by avoiding problem issues. What if instead, we “untie” those issues?

Think of a knot in a rope. You can cut it and waste the rope, or you can slow down, work with it succeed in working the knot out—and still have the rope. So how do we untie issues? Well, let’s look at choices.

It’s the middle of the afternoon, you want a “pick me up,” and you have a craving for something sweet. You’re used to grabbing a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of the vending machine in the break room. But you have a choice. While you don’t have to “cut” peanut butter cups from your life forever, what if you begin to “untie” that habit and substitute a healthier choice? What if you take an apple to work, and mid-afternoon, when the craving hits, substitute the apple for the peanut butter cups? By the end of the week, believe it or not, you’re going to look forward to that apple.

The same is true of soft drinks, fast food and even a sedentary lifestyle. You don’t have to cut TV from your life, but you could substitute a walk for one TV show. You don’t have to cut soft drinks from your diet, but you could substitute water or iced tea for one (or more) sodas. Before you even know it you will find you’ve lost weight and have more energy.

And, you’ll find you’ve “untied” some of those habits you’ve been meaning to cut.

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