By Daniel Francis
I’m ashamed to admit this, but sometimes I’m not a good Catholic. I went long periods where I did not go to church, I was not reading my Bible, and I would pray sporadically at best.
There were always excuses to ‘justify’ my inactivity, but I knew the excuses were just that: excuses. Then, I would be met with a challenging situation. One of those ‘God-help-me’ type situations, and I would get on my knees shamefully asking God for help. I say shamefully because of the shame I experienced for only talking to God when I needed something.
Why do we have this reactionary type of trigger that jolts us into action when we experience pressure? Consistency is key but we tend to do important things only when in peril or down to the wire.
In my first book, The Millennial Mind, I dedicated an entire chapter to something I called the ‘Push-Pull Factor’ and I believe this explains why we are so accustomed to reacting. You see, we are what we are conditioned to be.
If the majority of your life you became accustomed to a certain process, then that is the process you will continue to follow.
While in school, we are inundated with homework, exams, lessons, etc, all while still also wanting to play. These external pressures that urge us to react, I call ‘push factors’.
Over time, we can easily become accustomed to only working or reacting when a push factor is present, for example, we feel the pressure of a specific deadline looming and we only do the work right before. Ah yes, procrastination at its best.
We study our hardest closer to the exam. We sometimes rush down the assignment the morning before the class and we do this so often that it becomes a habit. A habit of reacting specifically to push factors.
Transfer that conditioning into adulthood and what does it look like? It looks like we desperately want to live our best lives with the best of intentions in mind but there is a problem. We need the stimuli produced by push factors to get important things done.
We get any job we can find because we have to pay those bills; we work harder as we see our bosses approaching; and we pray or go to church only when we are in peril or feel guilty enough. I have noticed that individuals who live their lives always reacting rarely end up where they want to be.
The fix is to create ‘pull factors’. Take a moment to outline, in detail, what it is you want from life and where you want it to lead you eventually. The more specific you are, the easier it is to make a plan to then attract or pull this future to yourself. What you are doing is attempting to live your life more intentionally.
By doing this, you are forced to think about your future and what you want. You must also sufficiently justify what you put energy towards. Assigning priority to your actions and goals, then making it more likely that you achieve these goals.
When you acknowledge the importance of Christ in your life and what type of spiritual life you want to lead, then it becomes easier to create pull factors to work towards. The importance of daily prayer and going to church weekly, for example, will now be easier to prioritise because it aligns with your path ahead.
You can live your life with this go-with-the-flow mentality and have some success, but true freedom comes from being intentional.
Create the time to decide what’s important to you and what you want for your life. Then watch as you work towards making it a reality.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” (Prov 21:5 ESV)
Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential. He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.
LinkedIn: Daniel Francis