They can lead you do something drastic, and in a lot of cases there's no turning back -- at least not easily. Triggers can often be ignored, and I've done my share of ignoring. One of the triggers that I listened to that I didn't ignore was a pretty drastic one: when I left my steady day job a few years back to pursue something else -- something less stable.
The thing about triggers is that when you start listening to them you get better at realizing their worth. You get better at predicting (or presuming, rather) part of the outcomes of following through with them. You get better at knowing what you'll have to do to get closer to the desired outcome and how you can allay the risks involved with that hard work.
Here are some of the triggers I've acted on. The list contains a mixture of high and low impact triggers, but it is still an effective list worth examining:
- Sticking with "Night Owlism" over getting up early
- Giving my site an ongoing facelift while still producing content for it
- Adjusting to an unconventional work week that best suits my workflow
- Moving to Asana over OmniFocus
- Moving away from Google
- Teaching myself Markdown
- Upping my accountability in my own work by writing a contentious post about Lifehacker's content quality
The last one was a real tough one, because I basically ensured that Lifehack needed to steer clear of that road as long as I was affiliated with the site. I still am, so I've put my feet to the fire on that one. That means more work, but I knew I had to get it out there so I went there anyway.
Yes, triggers can be dangerous. But not listening to them can be just as dangerous. If you know you've ignored them before, listen to some of the ones with the smaller risks involved and work your way up. It's important to remember that guns use triggers to fire bullets, but they also use them to start races -- from sprints to marathons.
Triggers can make you stop going or just go forward. What triggers don't do is keep you standing still. And we all know how much you can get done by just doing that.
On that note...BANG!
Photo credit: Solo (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)