Imagine, after a long day, you just want to soak in your tub and take a bath. The problem is your bathtub has no stopper. Nothing with which to plug the drain. So you initially use your foot for that purpose as you fill up the tub.
Now you’ve got it to a good enough level to soak yourself in but you know once you take your foot off that drain, the water level would begin to drop. So, what do you do? You ‘brilliantly’ leave the water running from the tap into the tub, as you soak inside, maintaining the same water level as when your foot was the stopper.
The tap is running at full speed, gushing warm water into your tub and foaming up the bubble bars you had previously crumbled into it.
The mood is set. As water drains, new water simultaneously replaces it, and you have nothing to worry about. All you need do is lay back, relax and enjoy your bath.
But you forgot something. You own a borehole and the pumping machine has done its job for the day. It pumped water into the tank above your house, which in turn supplies water down the entire house. That was done earlier in the day, by your security guard, when there was public electric supply. Now you’re running on your little generator that cannot bear the pressure and weight of extracting water from underground and pushing it upwards into the tank.
So your tap begins to slow down because, guess what, you’re using up all the stored water. Soon, it stops running, and of course, your leaky tub sucks the water out through the drain, leaving you in an empty bath with a lathered body.
Your long day at work continues into a long night at home. Nothing gets better from hereon.
This spiralling problem could have been prevented by simply getting yourself a stopper. I mean, how much do those things cost? It only makes sense to plug the leaks first, before you attempt to fill any container up with water.
It’s just like a man with a gambling addiction. He loses money every weekend at the casinos, hoping to someday hit the jackpot. Now, he holds a well paying job from which he can comfortably retire in his early 50s, living the rest of his life on the savings, pensions and investments from that job. However, because of the major leak in his finances – his gambling addiction – he has to keep on working all the way into his 70s when he’s forced into semi-retirement as a meeter-greeter at the local grocery store. He has no savings or investments because as he made money, he spent it on gambling. He could have plugged that leak in his wallet first, before filling it up with his pay cheque. And not just a temporary plug like his foot, but a permanent one like a drain stopper.
The same illustration can be extended to a company with a high staff turnover. New hires typically stay only a couple of months before they permanently head for the exits. Now, instead of finding out what’s wrong with their staff retainment, the company decides to just keep on hiring – every couple months – to replace those who walk out the door.
Soon enough, word would be all over the streets, in the markets, not to go work for that company because they don’t treat their employees well. And just like that, the tap of employees would stop gushing, start slowing down, and eventually stop as the reservoir tank of desperate employees runs dry. That downward spiral of a problem could easily have been avoided by taking a look at why employees were running away and fixing it!
The very wise King David once said “shun evil and do good”. What this piece of wisdom suggests is that before you can embark on anything positive, you must first abandon its corresponding negative habits. So, if you want to lose weight and be healthier, you must first stop eating junk food before you embark on your exercise regimen. If you want to increase your income, perhaps by getting a second job, you must first decrease your unnecessary spending. Maybe when you do that you would even find that you don’t need a second job after all. If you want to enhance your personal development, before you start listening to instructive audios, reading good books and attending seminars, you must first stop listening to negative music, stop reading junk magazines and stop hanging out with those who do not seek to improve themselves.
You can’t mix the two together. You can’t eat junk and exercise and expect to get healthier. You can’t spend excessively and expect to keep increasing your disposable income. You can’t expose yourself to negative input as well as positive, and expect to make progress in your personal development. No, you’d stay at the same level and, when your tank runs dry, begin to decline. Those negative habits are like gaping holes sucking away the little progress you make whenever you manage to make one.
Cover those holes by turning away from them before you start to build on your progress. It’s that simple. Plug the leaks first before you fill up the tub.