Once upon a time, on a Monday, a man was walking down a road. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he found himself at the bottom of a big, dark place. It was scary! After several hours, he figured out that he had fallen into a very large pothole. He wasn’t able to get out on his own–actually it required a lot of help to get out, but eventually he did get out. It was awful.
The very next day–Tuesday, the man was walking down the road and fell into the pothole again. This time he immediately recognized where he was, but he still couldn’t get out. He needed help again.
Wednesday, when the man fell in the pothole for the 3rd time, he remembered how to get out, and–with much hard work–was able to get out on his own. Whew!
On Thursday, the man was walking down the street again. As he approached the pothole, he remembered his previous falls. He even saw the pothole when he got close… but unfortunately he fell in anyway. But he knew the way out pretty well this time, and got out quickly.
On Friday, the man saw the pothole from a good distance away. He felt so proud of himself for spotting it, and while it took a lot of effort, he did manage to walk around it safely, and didn’t fall in for the first time in a long time! Hurrah!
On Saturday, the man took a different road.
I love this story (*) as a metaphor for life change. I imagine the potholes as arguments or really bad habits that we find ourselves sucked into without meaning to go there! One of the first steps to change is always awareness, then hard work, and finally comes success. Eventually, living our lives the way we want to–having our relationships look like we want them to–stops being a ton of effort, and we find ourselves on a smooth path with no (okay, few) potholes.
Here’s to having a smoother path before you this week!
(*) Updated 2021: This story is derived from “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson. Thanks Michelle for the attribution info! Originally posted 2008.