Draining the Swamp

Many people have goals but seem to have no time to execute the projects and activities necessary to achieve these goals.  They think to themselves: “I already have a hundred things to do, how am I supposed to do 20 more?”

To me this attitude is best expressed by the old saying:  “When you are up to your ass in alligators it’s hard to drain the swamp.” From my perspective you have three swamp-draining options.

That’s the essence of what it means to start a new life!

The first option is to spend 100% of your time fighting alligators.

The benefit is that you won’t get eaten.  The problem is that there’s an endless supply of alligators and you will be fighting them for the rest of your life.

The second option is to spend 100% of your time draining the swamp.

The benefit is that you can probably put together a great swamp-drainage plan and make a start on the actual drainage project itself.  The problem is that the alligators will eat you long before you make any significant progress.

The third option is to initially divert a small amount of effort from fighting alligators to draining the swamp.

Over time the number of alligators will slightly decrease and you can divert more time to swamp drainage.  You can then repeat this process until the swamp is drained and the alligators are gone.  The benefit, of course, is no more alligators.  The problem is that you will probably get a few painful bites that will heal over time.

So, how are you doing in your own personal swamp?

Are you spending all of your time working on your current set of projects and activities, or are you spending some portion of your time working on those projects and activities necessary to achieve your goals?

Take Action. Get Results.

13 thoughts on “Draining the Swamp”

  1. Hi Steve,

    I like the writing style of your anonymous poster and this is something that has been on my mind lately. There are so many activities that I want to do, but there are other things in my life that are remnants of an old life that I have to have the courage to let go from. You have to choose which activities that actually bring you closer to your goals and let some other things go from your life. Making room for new projects, people, and goals in your life can only happen when you examine what’s working and not working in your life.

    Thanks for sharing this,
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Increase Your Negotiation Skills- Is Win-Win The Best Tactic =-.

    • I’m kind in the same boat…which the mystery poster knows about. I want to be completely out of my old business, but it’s what pays the bills now. Mentally, it would be great if I could concentrate 100% on this site. Hopefully this will happen by 2011.

  2. Mystery Poster,

    I agree 200% with this approach! In fact, that’s exactly what I am doing now, as I slowly transition from my current 9 to 6 (Er,… 7, 8, 9, 10) job to a life that I envision and dream of.


    I think I can take a guess on who the mystery poster is. Let me know if that would add some fun here, or if it’s better to hold on my horses.

    Success always,
    .-= Mark of Success´s last blog ..If you can’t- you must If you must- you can- =-.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Your anonymous guest poster has done a great job. I have this problem constantly. I end up working on things that are important but not actually necessary to achieving my goals.

    I really have to make some decisions about where I’m going to put my focus. As Karen says, I’m going to have to let some things go from my life.

    Thanks for a really timely post, guest poster. I love your style, too.
    .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Learn and Earn – It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint =-.

    • I honestly think this is universal problem…we all have problems giving up stuff and that’s why it’s often hard to move on to activities that provide more of a long-term value.

    • Definitely true… Kind of like the “urgent but not important” tasks that often come up. Most people feel like the universe will collapse if certain things are done. But in reality they can often be ignored.

  4. Love this post. My alligator at the moment is earning upfront income from freelance writing sales to pay the bills, and draining the swamp is building a residual income from my own writing done for me. When the two activities are so similar, sometimes it really can be tough to divert the energy from one to the other.
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Grapling with the distractions of the digital dragon 1- Email =-.

  5. I often face the same situation mentioned by the mysterious poster, except its seems like as of late my swamp in not only filled with gators, it now has snappin turtles, moccasins and I’m pretty sure I saw a NC black bear heading my way. Like most men I am awesome at setting my mind and getting a goal accomplished….. at the sacrifice of pretty much all of my other goals. 🙂 I need a bigger stick (for the gators) and a better shovel (for the swamp ditching)!

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