“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finley
Fuel Affects Performance
A few years ago, I purchased a vehicle that required a particular fuel grade to run at optimal efficiency. Deciding that I would do what I wanted and be the exception, I went with the cheap grade fuel. After a few days of driving, I noticed the car engine sounding funny and hesitant to move at a speed matching my foot pressure on the accelerator. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me that my mishap at the gas station was the cause of it. Fearing I had damaged the engine, I called the car dealership and with shame explained my dilemma. They advised me to keep driving until I needed to refuel and put in the right fuel. That day I learned fuel affects performance.
In climbing the mountains of life, your mental fuel is key to your performance. Your mind is the tank where thoughts are formed, accessed in order to make decisions and take action leading you in a particular direction. Awareness of this sequence makes us warier of what we feed our minds.
Your mental fuel is key to climbing the mountain waiting for you. The fuel you need is not only good for the start but necessary to keep going uphill. It is while climbing that the strong thoughts of fear, failure, and quitting revisit us and threaten to sabotage our forward progress. The air gets thinner the higher you climb. In what way? What was once full of promise is now a buzz saw of problems. The new job is not as exciting.. The relationship has entered a phase where hopes have turned into hurts. The new car is now old, but the payments are still required every month for the next three years. The new business venture that was a dream has turned into a nightmare with all the paperwork and bills. The journey to debt freedom that was once exciting is now being endured. The renovation project that started with energy has now dragged on for months and more money is needed. Expectation has been replaced with the experience of disappointment.
This is life in the dip of anything worthwhile. It is where many people quit. They no longer see the worth of sticking with the process to get to the top. The question at this stage is, “Is it worth all the effort?” The fog of uncertainty kicks in. It is worth noting that 100% of our dreams and goals are not realized when quitting is the exit we take.
What Is Your Fuel?
When our car fuel tank is low on gas and the warning light comes on, I get extremely nervous. My heart beats faster than normal. My wife knows this. She constantly reminds me, “After the light comes on, you have at least 30-40 miles before you run out of gas. Have a little faith.” My reply is always, “Right now, I am concerned that we have a little fuel. Besides, how do you know we have 30-40 miles left?” Her calm confident demeanor slows my beating heart, but I am still left hoping and praying we make it to the gas station before the car coughs up its last bit of fuel and completely halts. In my view, running out of gas on the side of the road is a self-inflicted wound.
In the United States, we have several fuel-grade ratings for vehicles that do not take diesel fuel. The most common grades are 87-regular, 89-super, and 93-premium. These grades or ratings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (D.O.E), are measured by the “fuel’s ability to resist “knocking” or “pinging” during combustion.” Furthermore, they advise using the fuel grade rating as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Wise words. I should have adhered to them before thinking I could be the exception. These fuel grades affect the performance of the vehicle. If a lower than recommended fuel grade is used, the D.O.E says it will “cause the engine to run poorly and can damage the engine and emissions control systems over time.” In short, you won’t be driving the car for very long. Neither will you be climbing your mountain for very long without the right type of fuel.
Before You Choose
The first step in choosing your mental fuel is knowing who you are. Have you ever done a puzzle only to discover you cannot complete it because one piece is missing? I believe the puzzle of knowing who you are is not complete without God as the centerpiece. God as your centerpiece ensures you allow the Maker’s recommended grade of words and people to enter your life and form the thoughts, ideas, and views that will take you where you want to go.
Second, know where you want to go. “Direction, not intention, determines destination,” says Andy Stanley. If you don’t care where you want to go, then the direction is irrelevant. And ending up stuck is no big deal because neither direction nor destination is important. But when you live with purpose, you carefully decide what to put in the tank of your mind similar to how selective you become about your diet when you have fitness goals.
To choose the right mental fuel, consider the following ABCs:
A– Is my attention and determination toward progress sharpened or blunted?
B– Am I stirred up to believe success is possible?
C– Do I stay committed when the desire to quit is stronger than the desire to keep climbing?
Final Thought: Do your mental fuel sources build up the necessary resilience that resists the urge to quit something worthwhile in the face of difficulty? Are the ABCs satisfied by the mental fuel you choose? If not, you might need to make a change. Never forget, your mountain is waiting. Go ahead and make the climb.
Keep on keeping on!