What You Need the Most
Inventories — there are costs and benefits. The benefits trump the costs. But we procrastinate, dither and delay. We dread putting pen to paper.
There is no question, inventories take time and effort. And dredging up our past destructive behaviours is unpleasant. These are the costs.
But we also see and feel the positive results. The sense of freedom and joy when it is done. The insights gained with a thorough and disciplined self-examination. The beautiful but practical lessons we apply in our lives. Time and again, we learn that such an inventory is the beginning of positive change, leading to a better life. It is the beginning of defect removal, which opens our line of sight to spiritual sunlight.
No one has ever expressed regret for doing a deep and comprehensive inventory. No one has said, “I wish I had never taken that inventory.” More frequently, you hear, “I wish I had started earlier.”
The cost-benefit analysis is clear; inventories are good and should be done.
We all know this, and we all admit we should do regular comprehensive inventories, yet we delay and dither, put off and procrastinate. We find a million things to do before finally doing an inventory.
After we have experienced the benefit of a complete inventory, doing another complete inventory would be the rational response; capturing more of the benefits and joy makes common sense. But we resist the positive experience of prior inventories and find excuses to avoid another.
This is true for the first, second, third and even the fourth. We shy away from the suggested deep annual inventories satisfying ourselves with trivial daily reviews and perfunctory momentary apologies, claiming the virtue of daily spot-checks. But we don’t do a comprehensive inventory process.
What is going on? Why do we wait till our lives are burning down before doing another inventory?
The psychiatrist who planted the seed of AA so many years ago explained it; Carl Jung said, “what we need the most, we will find where we least want to look.”