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Posted on May 20, 2011 in change | 0 comments

The Stop Doing List, Part II

by Jill MacGregor

Uno mas, por favor.

We’ve all got a list. Some days it’s longer than others. Welcome to Part II of The Stop Doing List. Here’s Part I, if you’d like to get caught up!

Always pay attention when your clutch starts to slip.

Life has a wonderful way of giving you clues. First of all, I would like to tell you—in a seemingly unrelated matter– that I drove a clutch for years. I was quite sure it confirmed my coolness. Picture me: shift into 4th, light a cigarette, change the CD, talk on the phone…so glad no one died in the process.

But I began to notice that it was costly to drive a clutch—for me specifically, for some reason.

Because, as I discovered, for me a clutch only lasts 40,000 miles. Basically, 40,000 to the mile. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that most clutches could last at least 80,000 miles. WHAT? Who are these people with their fancy ankle movements and keen sense of timing—their feel for this piece of machinery…they were basically one with their car.



I am no longer as cool as I thought. Grind my gears…

So—after numerous clutches, I read the writing on the wall. I now drive an automatic.

But the funny thing was, when I did drive a clutch, I became extremely sensitive to the clutch as it began to slip. I knew that that hesitation meant I had about 5,000 more miles if I never stopped on a hill. I knew this delay meant I was down to my last 100. And I knew when I couldn’t shift out of 2nd that I had about 35 miles before it all went to hell.

Pity I didn’t possess the same sensitivity all those times I would shift from 1st to 2nd whilst the clutch was still functioning.

So consider this. What if everything has a clutch? And there are moments in life when you feel something give. Do you ignore that slip, pretend like nothing happened? Or do you consider it an important warning?

All I’ll say is every single time I’ve ignored the clutch slipping on something in my life I’ve realized—in hindsight—that I was being given important information.

It’s time to stop feeling guilty about not doing more.

We all make these lists, these long, long lists of everything we need to accomplish in the next 20 minutes and that’s not always…realistic. But why is it that we never seem to give ourselves credit for all that we did accomplish? It seems like the hairy eyeball always goes back to the didn’ts instead of the dids.

I doubt you’d be so harsh with someone else.

Recognize that there are always more choices.

There is no such thing as not having a choice. There is such a thing as possibly not having the exact choices you wanted. But, you’ve always got choices.

Obstacles to the choices you want can throw you off. Sometimes, you stop considering all of your possibilities when confronted with a roadblock. You come to that crossroads with a preconceived notion and if the choices present themselves differently, you can lose sight of how broad your possibilities really are.

Becoming anxious about what can feel like a lack of choices can make you become a bit of a drill sergeant, yelling out to the Universe how you want things and when, in your desperate attempt to feel back in control. I was talking to a friend recently who laughed at me as I described this and said I was handcuffing God by being so exacting with what I wanted. That my specificity to the details could actually limit my choices.

Because even though I know what I want, I’m not always correct in what I want. Cue theme song: *Unanswered prayers and other great favors*.

Next time you feel yourself in situation with no choices; look closely as the choice that makes you the most uncomfortable. Pay attention to the resistance you feel around that choice. I know you’d prefer things be smooth and easy but resistance is important in your life.

It’s there to tell you things are about to change. Things want to change. Resistance has a way of pointing to the next step you are meant to take. Yea, I know. It very possibly may not be your first choice. But you will gain so much in the long run.

This is a personal growth moment and you ordered it whether you realized it or not.


When you find yourself on the edge of loss, you must dance.

Every sorrow contains a reflection of promised joy.

Sometimes the work is not in dragging yourself through periods of sadness and loss—maybe the work is in stretching enough, pushing yourself so that you can glimpse the other side. This is not a place to sit and rest—you will regain nothing here—and you will only erode further if you remain.

Ask for help if you need it. Forgive what you consider to be weakness in yourself.

The hardest thing to do at moments like these, is to find the joy–to make yourself get up and dance. It’s also the most important thing.

You may feel like you’re faking it at first. But trust me, you’ll hear the music soon enough.

If you liked this, you may want to read:

  • The Art of Controlling the Skid
  • Splitting the Atom

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