To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.
—Plutarch, 46 AD—120 AD
…Most of us don’t have any problem at all identifying and admitting to our faults. In fact, we are often our own harshest critic. And that’s fine. Admitting our challenges is necessary for spiritual growth—after all, that’s why we are here, isn’t it? But, sadly, that is where it often ends. What good is it to beat ourselves up and then refuse to change?
I will bet that if you take a minute to dwell on your current faults, they are the precise same ones as a decade ago. We have identified them, yet we haven’t defeated them! Why the disconnect? As Plutarch so succinctly put it 2,000 years ago, the first part is easy; it’s the second part that takes effort. And the friction of effort typically keeps us from moving forward.
So, what should we do to free ourselves from this ravine of inaction where we remain stuck? The first step is to take a minute, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, or a laptop, and write down the one fault in your circuitry which you believe to be most responsible for limiting your success or causing you unhappiness. It may be as simple as writing down one word, or as long as a sentence. Go ahead, literally do it right now—I’ll wait.
Got it? Great! Now, underneath that word, phrase, or sentence, make a bulleted list of five to ten simple actions you can take, either on a daily or a regular basis, to defeat that fault. And make sure they are actions which you alone control.
Now, at the end of the bulleted list, I want you to write down, in parenthesis, an affirmation of the person you have become by crushing this particular inner demon. The person standing on the hill above the ravine which kept you prisoner. Look back down into the ravine and view the dark emotions swirling around. They want to pull you back in, but you vow to never go back.
Keep this sheet handy and reflect on it daily until you have effectively defeated this fault. After an adequate period of time, when you are sure you have gained mastery in this arena, consider moving on the your next battle.