Shift Your Life into GearIt is tough to find a car with a manual transmission! Everything is automatic these days. When I was a kid, we learned how to drive by shifting gears, grinding them a little as we went. Great memories of driving our 1963 Chevy Biscayne, with three on the column, are present as I look back.

Now, everything is automatic, with smooth transitions between gears and electronics to ensure the best use of resources and power.

We are getting used to the automatic, programmable stuff. When we need to look up an answer, just Google it. When we need to get a coupon, just check in with Foursquare. When we need to touch base with a friend, just message them in Facebook. It is all right there. Everything is at our fingertips!

This is where the fallacy sets in. Yes, we have easier access to many things, and our conveniences have increased exponentially. However, life still requires us to put it into gear and shift as we move.

Life is not automatic. There are no shortcuts.

Life requires effort. There are gears we need to acknowledge and engage.

First Gear:  Life needs a start. We need to shift our life into gear to gain movement. Standing still means life is passing us by. We need to start doing what we are called to do… our purpose. We need to figure it out, and then begin.

Second Gear: Life needs momentum. After we start, we need to gain speed in the direction we are heading. Without shifting up, life will continue to pass us by. We need to move it up a notch in effort and pace.

Third Gear: Life needs acceleration. As we gain distance, momentum needs to be embraced and stimulated. Getting up the hills requires energy and determination. We cannot afford to rest easy; we need to push forward.

Fourth Gear: Living fully is getting closer. We feel it. We are cruising, yet there is a feeling that a little more can happen, a little more effort can be delivered. We need to press ahead to reach the next level of achievement and realization of our purpose.

Fifth Gear: Living is not cruising, but it is about getting where we know we need to go. It is not necessarily slowing down to enjoy the view. There will be downshifts and curves we need to adjust to, so we must be aware and alert to maneuver as we required.

Reverse: Living requires time to reflect, looking back at where we have been. Gaining that sense of accomplishment will keep us fueled for the haul ahead. It is more than this at times. We may need to backup because we missed our turn. We may have thought we had the right directions, but we missed a sign. It is not about stopping; it is about making adjustments and taking time to refresh, regain our sense of direction.

There is no taking the easy route. It is more than just placing the shifter on D and going. We begin from a cold start and shift gears to move things forward. There may be a little gear grinding from time-to-time, and that is okay. It is a part of the learning process. It is a part of the trying process.

Leading a life of meaning is not easy.

Leading a life where your inside is comfortable with your outside actions is tough.

Don’t look for the easy way to live life. It does not exist. You cannot Google the meaning to your life and find the answer. It takes effort and introspection.

Look for the ways to start in first gear, shift to second, and do the work.

What gear are you in? I am probably grinding my way into fourth…