The Challenge of Inaction

Written by on October 6th, 2008 // Filed under mission

My friend Dave and I recently were chatting about some of the challenges of getting others involved in the various communitasphx initiatives. It has seemed that while most people we meet are respectful and genuinely inerested in the ideals we’re exploring (jesus, community, justice, creativity), it’s been hard to get them to actually dive into action on these issues. In other words, while we often hear things like, “That’s something I would be a part of.” or “I’d love to help!”, very few of these people have been able to participate in one of our initiatives.  As my friend and I talked through this, I was excited about some of the understandings we gleamed from the dialogue.  Here’s the best of ‘em:

Issues keeping people from doing something significant in their lives:

  1. Lack of Conviction
  2. Lack of Commitment
  3. Lack of Discipline (habits)

Interestingly, these 3 “Lack’s” form a pathway – conviction leads to commitment, which in turn leads to the creation of discipline. Trying to dive deper into this, we translated what this practically means for a person stuck in each of these realities.

What we mean by these terms:

  1. Conviction – a truth that we’re convinced of that shapes who we are.
  2. Commitment – a decision to “do something”. Based on a conviction we hold.
  3. Discipline – an intentional set of rhythms that help us “act out” our conviction and commitments

Taking this yet another step further in our conversation, Dave and I attempted to explore the “why’s” of these realities.

Why people live with a lack of conviction, commitment, and/or discipline:

  1. We lack conviction either because: 1.) we lack the ability to think for themselves (which is truly sad if it is the case) or 2.) we don’t have enough information (meaning = if we knew about this, we would care about it).
  2. We lack commitment often because we struggle to make decisions.  This lack of decision making ability could be due to a number of things: fear of failure, procrastination, insecurity, etc.
  3. We lack discipline either because 1.) we don’t know what to do (we can’t imagine a set of appropriate rhythms) or 2.) we are lazy. It will always be easier in the short-term to sit comfortably and do nothing. New rhythms take work and require a change of the way we live.

These are preliminary thoughts, but I was impressed with the number of insights we came out of a simple and informal conversation with.  For sure, these issues are more complex and dimensional than we’ve stated, but for us it’s a starting point at what we nee to challenge in those we share life with in order to see real change in our city.

Have some additional thoughts or a different perspective on any of these points?  Please “chime in” in the comments section below.

Related.

2 Responses to “The Challenge of Inaction”

  1. I think a lot of us lack commitment because we are distracted/busy, too.

    Posted by jamieReply
  2. Yes, thanks for the addition. Distraction and busyness do rob us from the focus and time to really commit to things.

    Posted by ZackReply

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