The other night I rented an old romantic comedy on Amazon and decided to make some popcorn to go with it. I put a pot on the stove, dropped in a couple big scoops of coconut oil and then put the lid on to get the oil hot.
I let the oil heat for a few minutes and then I put the kernels in. Immediately they began heating up. The oil was bubbling, the kernels were turning a roasted color. Any minute now I’d have popcorn.
But then the kernels didn’t pop as fast as I thought they should.
I kept shaking the pot, hoping to stir the kernels around and get them hot enough to pop. But still nothing.
The kernels just kept on cooking, the oil getting hotter and hotter by the second.
Then I got annoyed and started yelling at the kernels. What the hell is wrong with you? Why aren’t you popping? You should be hot enough! The oil is bubbling like crazy. What the fuck?!
Then I shook the pot again. Stirring the kernels around while simultaneously telling them they should already be popping.
And then I realized–holy shit! This is a metaphor for LIFE!!
Often in life we have a dream or a goal and we declare it and start taking action and move in that direction. And yet nothing is happening. Or at least, it’s not happening at the speed WE think that it should.
So you say it’s not working and then you start to look for what’s wrong and what you should fix. And all the while your life kernels–your dreams, your goals, your desires–are heating up and getting ready to pop… but you get impatient and remove your energy from taking action and instead get caught in self-doubt and fear and procrastination and Resistance and worrying about whether you’re good enough.
But here’s the thing I know to be true about popcorn–and life–when the oil gets hot enough, the kernel gets hot enough, and when the kernel gets hot enough, it pops.
It has to. There’s no way around it. A corn kernel at a specific internal temperature will turn into popcorn. This is inevitable.
The same is true in life and in living your dreams.
If you know what you want and you commit to it and consistently take action and do the work and keep going and don’t let yourself be stopped by anyone or anything, you WILL get there. It’s inevitable.
But getting from where you are now–a kernel–to where you want to be–the popped corn–there has to be a level of trust there. You have to trust that if you go all in and show up fully and do the work that you will eventually get there.
You will. It’s inevitable.
Except the timing will never be what you think it will. When it happens and how it happens are totally out of your hands. The when and the how are up to the Universe.
Your job is the what and the why. Your job is to take baby-step actions, whatever ones you can come up with, in the direction you want to go. And as you do, trusting that what you want will eventually be yours.
And when you fully trust in the timing of your life and stop trying to rush things, what you want will happen a hell of a lot faster.
Right now it’s not happening as fast as you want because you’re constantly looking around for results and saying that it’s not working. You’re actually pushing it further off when you do that.
Because what you pay attention to and put your focus on will expand.
Keep focusing on it’s not working or it’s not happening fast enough and that’s what will keep expanding. Or place your focus on what you want and why you want it and on taking whatever actions you can from where you are and don’t worry about whether or not it’s happening fast enough.
As my mentor says, head down and do the fucking work.
As I stood there–FINALLY–watching the kernels turn into popcorn, I realized it was time to trust in the speed and timing of my life. Because it’s already perfect and divine.
We always think we should be further along than we are. This is part of being human and especially being humans who dream big and are driven to achieve.
But things take time. And you really wouldn’t want things to go any faster or you won’t be ready to handle it and you’ll go into self-sabotage mode.
You think it would be badass to just wake up tomorrow and be on The NY Times bestseller list. But for most writers, it wouldn’t be. Because they haven’t journeyed far enough yet to be ready for that kind of success.
If it happened overnight–the instant fame, the hundreds of emails and phone calls and guest appearances and traveling and whatever else comes with it–it would scare the shit out of you. And you wouldn’t be able to handle it.
It would make you run and hide. It would cause you to blow past your inner comfort zone and you’d sabotage it. It would be the end of who you are right now.
The Universe doesn’t want that for you.
So that’s why life is gradual. That’s why things take time to unfold. That’s why you see it in your head and feel it in your heart way before you see it in your physical reality.
Because you need time to get used to it. You need time to process each level before you get to the next one. You need time to work through all the things you need to learn and discover to be able to handle what’s next.
So when it does inevitably happen, you’re ready. You’re present. You’re able to accept it and receive it and hold on to it.
When the kernels finally pop, you’re ready for them.
And while it was heating up and doing its thing, you had time to gather a bowl and figure out what seasonings to put on it and make the spice mix. You’re prepared for its inevitable manifestation.
You do that with popcorn and you can also do it with life.
Figure out what you want. Commit to it. Then pretend it has already happened and ask yourself what you’d be doing and thinking and being. And then do, think and be that stuff RIGHT NOW.
No worrying about how long it will take. No second-guessing yourself or your actions. Just do the work and trust in the inevitable arrival of everything you dream of.
Dream life or bust,