Whenever I come to a moment in my life when I realize that something has to change, I remember the scene from the film Forrest Gump where he finally stops his trans-America mega-marathon run.
In the film, he was running to forget the past hurts in his life, but the metaphor could equally be extended to anyone’s treadmill. We set ourselves on a certain course and often it takes a jolt to the system to make us realize that we need to stop and change direction. Keeping running is the easy option – deciding to stop and change something takes real courage.
When Forrest Gump stopped and decided to get on with his life, he did exactly that. There was no way that he could know how his life was going to work out after he stopped running, he probably worked through every possible scenario in his head multiple times, but until he stopped, he couldn’t be sure which path his life would take. When he was running, he was running. When he stopped, he had to do something different instead.
At these times of change in my life, I have found that there is always a short moment of pause when you stop doing something before you start doing something else. When you quit your job, there is always a small pause before you start a new one. When your wife becomes pregnant, there are the months of pregnancy before the baby arrives. You might decide to go an a diet, but there is always that pause before your first “proper” day on the new regime.
It is that moment of pause that dictates your new direction. If you have thought enough about your situation, about what you want to change in your life and why you want to change it, then the way ahead should be clear. If you haven’t dedicated the time to think before you stop, it will often be the case that you could run off into blind alleys, run around in circles or just stand transfixed by the complexity of the decision before you.
No, when you stop running, it is useful to have an idea of your new direction. You don’t have to have the exact co-ordinates and you can sill alter your path on the way, but a rough heading is helpful.
Forrest did a few laps of the US to work out his problems. Before you think about making a change in life, it is always worth thinking through the possibilities and ramifications first. When you do stop running, it is vital that you have an idea of what you want to do next, otherwise it will be very hard to start running again, let alone in the right direction.
Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury
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