It was snowing when he set foot outdoors. If it was up to him, he wouldn’t have, but his mother forced him to go out in search of the required groceries for lunch. He was the sort of person who always found excuses not to do something. He would constantly say he wanted to but it was simply not possible because of a series of pretexts he would cough up at the moment.
Procrastinating was Tommy’s expertise. But as he matured, he found that there were things you could simply not postpone. And the less you did, the more reliable you would become and the better status you would obtain as a person and as a character.
But the most memorable lesson, he learnt in a cabin in the woods that day he went off-track.
It was a wooden cabin below the snowy mountains. Adjacent was a lake in which two magnificent swans were found. It seemed almost mythical. He approached in hope it would offer solace from the extreme cold.
Above the front door there was a sign that read “When there’s a will there’s a way, when there’s none there’s delay”. He knocked on the door and waited. Then he knocked again. There was no response.
After a while, as his hands began to turn numb from the cold, he decided to search for a back door.
There was one with an “entry” sign above.
Inside was a carpenter. One of the type he had only read about in storybooks.
“It took you long enough,” he told Tommy as he led him to a seat near the blaring fireplace and offered him a cup of steaming hot tea.
Tommy looked perplexed.
“Had you figured out the meaning of the sign sooner, your hands wouldn’t have turned so pale from the frostbite,” the carpenter explained.
“Simply stating your desire or intention to do something does not make it real. It’s when you act upon it that it happens. And that is what matters. Because others can’t see your intentions, they can only judge you by your actions”.
Tommy was beginning to understand. This meeting was not by chance. In fact, he had never seen this cabin in this part of the valley before.
“Stop denying the fact that you’re delaying things. Or simply not doing them. The time to act is now, not later. You don’t know what will happen later on. If you can do something now, why are you waiting? What for? There is always time to do something important. To show others you care. If you can act, and if you’re going to use your intention in your defence later on, why procrastinate? If it is significant, you do it. That is what others will see. And what matters most, is what you show”.
Tommy drank his last sip and was ready to leave.
There was nothing he could say. After all, this meeting was not for him to speak, but to listen.
“Character is built on the strength of your actions”, he heard the carpenter say as he waved him goodbye.