You’ve Got To Keep On Movin’, Right?
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” So said Will Rogers, and when I first read this quote I found myself nodding in vehement agreement. Then I got to thinking (because I enjoy mulling things over): while I do believe that there’s a truth in the quote, at the same time I see some challenges. Let me explain.
The essence of what Will Rogers is suggesting is that you’ve got to keep plugging along, you’ve got to keep moving forward, you cannot just stand still if you actually want to reach your destination, or accomplish your objective, whatever it might be. This SEEMS true. The danger, however, lies in the implication that such forward movement must be perpetual, never-ending. There’s a suggestion that you cannot stop. And this can be a problem at times.
For example, you might think you’re on the right track, when you’re actually not. In this case, continuing to move forward will not get you where you want to go; instead it’ll get you somewhere else. It might even be somewhere completely incompatible with who you are or what you’re trying to accomplish. The only way to know this for sure is to stop periodically and take stock. Are you really on the right track?
Another instance in which stopping is warranted is when the “track” starts to feel less like a groove and more like a rut. In this moment, there’s a need to stop and replenish yourself, rejuvenate yourself, reconnect with what matters before you keep going. Such stopping actually allows you to move forward more effectively in the long run.
I guess the key to understanding Will Rogers’ quote is realizing that there is a difference between sitting on your butt without any sense of purpose, and stopping in service of your purpose. Admittedly, when you stop, you may well have to pull to the metaphorical side to ensure that you don’t get in the way of those coming behind you. And, there are times when stopping what you’re doing, even if only for a moment, is a good thing.
Bottom-line: sometimes in order to truly move ahead, you’ve got to pause for a moment, take stock and re-energize. Then reaching your objective becomes that much more doable. And, ultimately, it’s that much more rewarding.