For forty days and forty nights, a man called Thomas sat in a house in a market town in the deep north of England. He twitched slightly, fiddling with his fingers and glancing over to the cupboard that contained the golden elixir. This elixir currently held the form of deep fried thin slices of potato, also known as crisps. The allure of these crunchy golden slices of heaven was strong. It’s almost as if Thomas could hear them whispering to him from within the cupboard.
“Come and eat us Thomas. We have many flavours; salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, Worcester sauce and, your personal favourite, prawn cocktail. We’ll give you so much delight and put a smile on that worried face of yours. What have you got to lose?”
The temptation to yank open the cupboard door and dive face first into crispy goodness was pulling at every fibre in his body. It would certainly solve that hunger in his belly, but would ruining the promise he made be worth it? He would only be letting himself down, but doing that over and over again simply eats you up inside. If you make a promise to yourself, you should stick to it. Because if you don’t, you’ll only be kicking yourself for every promise that lies broken on a bed of memories.
If Christ could stay in a desert for forty days and forty nights with the devil whispering in his ear, Thomas could certainly stop eating crisps for a while.
Religion isn’t something that’s commonly on my mind. Technically I’m a Roman Catholic, but I stopped believing in the higher power that the Bible documents a long time ago. I just believe that you should spend your life being a good person. Why do I need to spend time worshipping something that may not even exist? And if a god would send you to hell for being a good person but not going to church every Sunday, that doesn’t sound like a very merciful god to me. But everyone is entitled to their faith and I’m not here to argue about whether a god exists or not.
What I’m here to say is that the message that religions around the world preach can still be followed by those that don’t believe in a god. It’s all about being the best person you can be, and being good towards your fellow man. We all have to share this planet, so why are we spending our time blowing each other up?
As usual, I’m digressing from the topic at hand. I decided to do lent not because of any commitment towards religion, but a commitment towards myself and my personal development as a good person. Yes, it’s only giving up crisps. But something like crisps, which is largely a junk food, is a vice. If you can give up that vice for a set period and have the willpower to stick to it then you can surely you can direct that willpower to other things you need to accomplish in your life too. I may only have abstained from eating crisps for a few weeks, but the fact that I managed to accomplish it just shows that you can do something if you put your mind to it and concentrate on reaching your goal.
So, for example, if you want a new job you should put a good deal of energy into accomplishing that goal. You can’t just sit back and say you’ll do it later because chances are you’ll never end up getting started. You can’t just do a bit to progress towards it and then leave it for a few weeks because your focus has drifted and your goal will just stretch further into the distance.
It’s simple really. If you want to do something, just bloody do it.
Sometimes circumstances force us to start achieving our goals, and that’s what happened with me. I’m not talking about crisps, but the goal of getting a new job. I was recently made redundant from a role I’d be in for over 6 years. To be honest, I was already planning on moving on anyway, but I must admit that I procrastinated on it a bit and decided to do something about it after my wedding was out of the way. Unfortunately, life didn’t give a crap about my wedding in July, forcing me out of work by circumstances beyond my control.
But it was definitely a good thing, as just over two weeks later I’m sat here writing this the day before I start my new job. It’s a new and exciting challenge that I’m keen to get stuck into, and I got it in just two weeks because I put all my willpower into finding a job as soon as I could. I didn’t just sit on my bum watching Breaking Bad (I really need to carry on with that!) or mindlessly scrawling through Facebook (although, to be fair, I still managed to do a bit of this), I sat down and looked for my next challenge. I spent the extra time that I had when I wasn’t job hunting brushing up on my skills and keeping up to date with developments in my industry. You don’t have time to muck around when you’ve got a mortgage and bills to pay.
Of course, I didn’t just choose any job, I went for one that sounded interesting and fit my career plans. I then put a great deal of energy into researching the company, planning for my interviews and ensuring that I could meet the brief that they desired. I didn’t have every skill, but I got the job anyway because I have a willingness to learn new things. I don’t see the point in going for a job where you won’t learn anything new, as you should always be constantly developing yourself so you don’t stagnate. We spend an awful lot of time in the workplace, so we may as well be doing something that’s going to challenge us on a daily basis.
So, to sum up.
You’re allowed that off day, I had one or two. We all need to relax. But if you want to achieve something, make sure you stick to it or you’ll find yourself regretting what you didn’t do and looking back on a life that was filled with nothing more fulfilling than Netflix binges and tweets that nobody ever read.
Now that I have a job, my goal is to keep this website updated on a consistent basis. If I can manage to avoid crisps for 40 days, I can bloody well write some posts on here.