What’s So Wrong With Just Going Through the Motions?

Posted by Jolene Barto on

It’s that time of year again. Families are getting together, gifts are bought, you indulge too much in holiday treats that you know are loaded in all the calories.
new year's resolutions I will literally eat all of this...
Maybe you spend too much money, but hey… it’s that time of year, and that’s what you do. You’re generous. You splurge with both your time and your resources.

And you know what? I think that’s totally fine.

But I wonder sometimes if all that celebration sometimes covers up another part of our lives that ache with a central question: What if the rest of my life is just mediocre? What if for the rest of the year, I’m just going through the motions? Maybe that’s why we start thinking about new year's resolutions this time of year. Start thinking about how our lives for the last twelve months have been less than satisfactory because we gave ourselves a pass on all the usual suspects: not eating right, not spending enough time with our family, not getting that promotion we wanted, not scoring that grade we needed in that one class. And so we start making goals, hopes, dreams for the future this time of the year. But how many of us actually live out those goals? If you actually do stick to those new year's resolutions, then welcome to the minority. A slow long clap for you. I am decidedly not one of those people who follows those new year's resolutions that I’ve set out for myself. Each year, around the last week of January, I find those goals and aspirations slip through the cracks.

Oh, new year's resolutions - they were unrealistic, I tell myself. I would have never have made those kinds of goals anyway.

And yes, maybe some of them are a little crazy (honestly, I just need to face the fact that I’m never going to be a Yoga-enthusiast). But most of them are just hope lost, motivation forgotten, and maybe a lack of belief that things can really change. I don’t know if you’ve seen the video of Dr. Rick Rigsby that went viral recently. In it, Rigsby gives a commencement speech to California State University Maritime Academy about how his father – a third-grade dropout – went on to inspire a generation of children who became college graduates, judges, and doctors. Rigsby’s father didn’t let his circumstances get him down, wouldn’t let the cards that had been dealt to him freeze him in place.

If you haven’t seen the speech, I highly suggest you join the millions of people who have, and watch it now.

I’ve picked up Dr. Rick Rigsby’s book, Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout and have started using it as prep for the upcoming new year’s resolutions. In it, Rigsby doesn’t give himself slack. Instead, Rigsby is brutally honest about the excuses he made for himself and the mediocrity he’d let himself slip into:
I would answer “fine” to inquiries from family and friends. I taught classes and things were “fine” with my students. Even at the place where death created devastation, I tried to make our home feel “fine” as friends assisted in everything from helping with carpooling to trimming the Christmas tree. How long could I pull off this act? How long could I convince others and myself that there was really no need for change? I went into a trance - through the motions. I choreographed each mediocre step and scripted every predictable response. And I could have lived like this forever.
I relate so much to those words. SO MUCH. And yet, Rigsby was able to pull himself away from that stage in his life and become something truly great.

If that doesn’t inspire you, not sure what will.

The audiobook for Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout is available now, and it’s narrated by Rigsby, so you get to hear it in his own voice. You can order it at Audible, Libro.FM, and anywhere else you love to get audiobooks. But because we love you, Page Chaser has put together an exclusive First Listen clip of the audiobook as well. So, for you listening inspiration, here’s the first chapter of Dr. Rick Rigsby’s Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout:
audiobook Category_Audio dr. rick rigsby lessons from a third grade dropout rick rigsby

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