You’re no doubt familiar with the cautionary tale about putting a frog in a pot of cold water and allowing it to slowly heat, so that the frog never realizes the water is too hot.
Until at last, the water boils and the frog is dead.
Have you ever been that frog sitting in warm water, watching the days of your life pass by, unaware that you are about to be boiled alive? It starts off innocently enough. There’s something that makes you a little physically or emotionally uncomfortable, a vague, nagging feeling, and rather than address it, you tell yourself,
‘This isn’t so bad, I can handle this.’
You adapt to your changed situation until it feels like a new normal for you. And then the situation gets a little more uncomfortable, and again, you tell yourself,
‘This isn’t so bad, I can handle this.’
The truth is, it’s easier to try to adjust to the uncomfortable situation than it is to screw up your courage and make a change.
When Hot Water is Okay
There’s some value to this perspective when you’re going through something like chemotherapy or childbirth or divorce or unemployment. In fact, telling yourself, ‘This isn’t so bad, I can handle this.’ can be an excellent coping mechanism. It helps you to take life one step at a time and talk yourself through a temporarily bad situation.
Previously I have written about the Discovery and Change equation, about when you make a discovery, you also make a change. Many of life’s hard journeys start with a discovery – you have cancer, you’re pregnant – and you make many changes as you travel from that moment of discovery. While you may not know the ending or the timing of the ending to that particular journey, you know it will end.
Soon, you realize that the worse is indeed now behind you and things are starting to get better. You know you have been forever changed by what has happened, and you set about adjusting to your new normal.
But what about life’s less clear-cut situations? How do you know that you’re not that frog about to be boiled to death?
And When it’s Not
For that frog, there’s no one specific instant when life becomes unbearably, dangerously, life-sucking bad. It happened when he hardly noticed. The same thing can happen to you.
You can avoid the frog’s fate if you periodically take time to examine your life.
So, just sit yourself down on your favorite lily pad and have a heart-to-heart conversation with yourself over some fresh flies. Here are eight signs that it’s time to find your courage, jump out of the hot pot, and make some changes:
- You know you’re unhappy about something in your life.
- You spend more time remembering the past that living in the present or planning for the future.
- Your days are spent going through the motions, without passion or motivation.
- You lie to yourself and others because you want to avoid the truth.
- You yell at someone, or want to yell at someone, nearly every day.
- You say, “I can’t, because…” nearly as often as you want to yell.
- You consistently over promise and under deliver on your accomplishments.
- You have a hard time identifying any recent meaningful accomplishments that are truly your own.
At the end of that conversation, remind yourself that you deserve to live an abundant life, free of fear or doubt. Tell yourself that you have the power to create and live the life you dream for yourself. Then, get off your lily pad and start making changes.
Like other cautionary tales, the story of the frog is false. Do you know what really happens to that frog? What really happens is that when enough time passes that the water has warmed to a certain temp, the frog becomes sufficiently uncomfortable and jumps right out of the pot.
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’
Into the future
~ from “Fly Like An Eagle”
by The Steve Miller Band
Take the time you need to create the life you want. Start by talking to yourself, and then make your plan to change what you need to change, so you can begin having a better relationship with yourself.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: It’s easy to make compromises in your life over time, until without realizing it, you’re living a life that is unacceptable to yourself. To stay true to yourself, periodically sit yourself down and ask yourself a few questions about how you feel about your life and how things are going. Use your feedback to start making changes.
What other ways to you use to keep yourself from being that frog in the pot? Tell me your tips in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!
Related Posts: Don’t be the Frog