Why Life Is Like A Catapult
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Why Life is Like A Catapult

Ok, it’s one of those analogies that I came up with in the shower yesterday morning. But I’m seriously chuffed with this one. Such that future clients, NLP4Kids practitioners and the companies I mentor are going to get “the catapult talk” if they start telling me that they are struggling to move forward.

I was thinking about what an amazing and tricky year it’s been. This one has been pretty epic on the testing of my resilience, but equally, it’s paid off. I bought a building for the company but it was a 9 month battle to secure it, and a further exhausting two months of painting and decorating to make it look good. My dad died very shortly afterwards but I worked really hard to give him a send off I know he would have found entertaining and funny.

To me it makes perfect sense that things moved leaps and bounds forward, because other things first created lots of strain and appeared to be pulling me backwards.

Lets imagine your challenge in life, whatever that challenge is, is like a spherical heavy weight that needs to be shifted to the top of a bumpy section of land that lies ahead you. It’s uphill and you’ve got to get the weight up the very top. (Think of yourself as being Sisyphus, but with a reward a opposed to being condemned!)

You know that the weight is not going to make it across the land on it’s own. It needs to get some force behind it.

Now for some people, that force is already contained within the sphere. They got lucky and life just catapulted them fast enough and hard enough out of their mother that they’ve rolled uphill for all of this time, barely noticing that it’s a bumpy uphill journey.

For others, it was less like a catapult and more like a lever in a pinball machine that happened a little later on in life. For example, if suddenly decided that you want to start your own business, your force might come from investors or good connections to get you started. If you want to lose weight, the force might come from weight watchers, or some scary news about your health from the doctor. Some levers will ping your forwards because of good things showing up – like a cool idea. Others will suck you backwards before whacking you forward. You need to use that moving forward motion to take control of your direction if you don’t want to land somewhere that you were not aiming for.

The downsides of levers is that you don’t necessarily learn how to get going again should you one day discover that you’ve come to a stop.

For others, there is no “ping” forward from life. Those people have to generate a catapult.

What’s great about catapults is that you decide how far forward you want to go, by choosing how much tension you’re prepared to take in the pull back.

Pull backs are not necessarily bad, there’s tension in there yes, but it’s the sensation of the energy building. There’s anticipation and there’s time to take aim before you go for it.

However, creating tension can be tough, it can feel like a very uncomfortable stretch, particularly if you’re poised for action and for whatever reason, not letting yourself take the plunge forward. If you stay like that for too long, eventually the catapult breaks. The energy disperses into thin air pretty rapidly and you are left in limbo. You’re burned out.

There’s risk in pulling back too far, and not far enough. Most people do not really go for it when they build the energy for the goal that they want to achieve. They worry that the catapult will break and they play it safe and only create a small amount of tension. They don’t get very far as a result. Then they typically blame the catapult.

Others over stretch, they pull back far too far. They are either cocky, over ambitious or they just didn’t do their physics homework. If you break your catapult it could take you a very long time to repair it.

For me 2014 has had my mental and emotional catapults do a couple of uncomfortable things, holding the tension for far longer than I’m comfortable with before plunging me forward. It’s also really pulled me back at times, such that I wondered if I was in fact ever going to move forward again. However both of these circumstances did provide the tension, energy and subsequent acceleration required to get to where I wanted to go.

Now if you haven’t realised already, the final trick to making what appears to be an intense way of doing things feel like amazing fun, is what you do when you launch forwards.

Keep your eye on where you want to go

Remember to take in the scenery in case you need to retrace your steps later

Shout Yee-Haa very loudly and enjoy the journey.

By Gemma Bailey

Director of People Building

Street Talk

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