“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.“ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.” – Latin Proverb
I think one of the most important things I’ve learned as I have gotten older is the importance of understanding that we have to go through things alone. Now, I know I have talked about the importance of understanding that we have to have help if we are going to get to where we are going. And that still stands. But we have to do the work on our own. We are the sole decision makers in what we do each day. We are the ones who are affected by our actions, more so than anyone else. We are the ones who have picked the path we are on. And we are the ones with the ultimate responsibility of getting to where we want/need to go.
It can be frustrating at times when we can’t find anyone to help us in the way we would like to have help. We have ideas and projects that we believe in, but sometimes it feels as though no one else really cares. The people who we feel are supposed to help may not always do so. And that can be difficult when we are trying to accomplish something that we believe in. It’s the ultimate rule when it comes to accomplishing your dreams…. No one will believe in you as much as you do until you can show them why they should. And unfortunately, that usually takes a lot of work.
I find that with writing it takes even more work. You can’t force people to read something. You can’t force someone to pay attention. When you sing people can hear you even if they don’t want to. When you act people can see you, even if they don’t want to. When you paint your work is visible, what you have to say and share is visible, even if people don’t want it to be. But when you write, your ideas are hidden between under the covers. The book covers to be exact. You can’t force people to understand that what you have to say is worthwhile enough to give up a few hours of their lives to read it. That’s significant time. A song is three minutes, and can be turned off. A show is 30 minutes or an hour, and can be turned off. A piece of artwork is available to take in over the course of a few moments. But books, books require an investment. And you have to do work. You’re not just observing, you are actively engaging in reading. And as a writer, I think it’s very important not to waste anyone’s time.
So I made it a point to write something that I believe is worthwhile. And after writing it, it felt great. But now I have to get people to read it. Which is less great. Because even though I want to share it, and even though I believe in it, I have to convince other people that they should as well. And though that makes me uncomfortable, what I have found is that thing that I started learning when I started college – no one else is going to do it for me. I’m the one who has to do the work. The ultimate responsibility is mine.
We all have things we want to do. Things we need to do. And we all have to start somewhere. Is there somewhere you are planning to go or something you are wanting to do? Find the time, find a way, and make it a point to do it. And along the way:
- Don’t be afraid of what you write. Let it flow, even if it makes no sense.
- Understand that even though people may be supportive, they may not be supportive in the way we’d like.
- Remember that even though it’s going to get hard, it’s something worth doing.
- Remember the journey is yours to take, and some of the people will have to come and go. (as will some characters)
- Remember there are plenty of people who have made it through, so there’s no reason that you can’t, too.
- Stay motivated. You have what it takes. YOU!
- Smile. This is just good sense. It has the natural ability to lift your spirit, even when things are hard.
I love the Olympics. In general, I enjoy sports, and I appreciate the competitive nature, even if it’s simply competing with yourself to become better. But the Olympics are different. Everyone who walked into that stadium tonight is an Olympian. For the rest of their lives, no matter what, they were Olympians at the 2012 Olympics in London. It’s truly an amazing accomplishment.
The Olympics provide a very unique opportunity for everyone who competes. At that moment when the games open every single Olympian in that stadium has a chance. They have the chance to be considered the greatest competitor in their sport at this moment in time. Every single person there has hope, even if the odds are against them. Underdogs will win gold medals. Upsets will take place. Someone who was never supposed to win will, in fact, stand atop a podium with their anthem playing at some point in time in the next few weeks. And it’s all because they took a chance, and they kept on working.
One day someone decided they liked soccer. One day someone decided they were going to try to run as fast as they could. One day someone decided they could probably balance on a 4” beam. And then they made that choice again, and again, and again, until they came to the point where they were in a class of their own. They stood at the top of their game. They put forth the work, years of work in most cases, to see their dream through. They had successes and failures. They had promotions and setbacks. They had points where they felt like giving up. Points where life was overwhelming. But each day, they made the choice to carry on. They made the choice to try again. And to try again after that. And with every choice and every effort, they made their dream a reality.
Nothing great comes easily. You don’t get to a point where you produce your best work until you put in the effort to learn, to grow, to push yourself through, to fail, to rise, to persevere. One day we choose to try. It is our starting block. But we must follow that start with a strong step forward. And we must repeat those steps again and again and again if we want to cross the finish line in front. We cannot get to the top of the mountain unless we are willing to climb. And unless one day we choose to try, we will remain stranded with the crowd, never even making it to the starting line. So what better time to choose to try, even if it’s just a crazy dream? The greatest competitors in every field started off the same way.
I took Jack walking today, and we ended up out during an extremely hot point in the day. Originally there were lots of clouds around, but when we arrived they had all disappeared. We walked a little bit, and took even more breaks. He had a wonderful time, and I watched all the runners and cyclists as they rode around.
From all I could see the heat was pretty stifling. I remember when I was younger how much more energy it took to play games in the afternoon instead of in the evening. It didn’t stop us from playing, but I would dare to say that most of us held our stamina longer and made better decisions when we weren’t trying to win games in the oppressive heat. And this is true of many situations.
Sometimes we have to push through the heat. Sometimes there are no other options. But there are more times when if we would just wait it out and let the heat die down, even just a degree or two, it makes all the difference. Having the patience to not try to fight the fire is hard. We don’t know how long it’s going to last or what it might burn up in the process. When we are standing back and just watching from the sidelines, that urge to do more tends to kick in. We feel like we just have to do something. We have to fight through it, and make things happen right now. We have to stop it. We have to fix it. We can’t just sit there.
But patience is a virtue. (at least that’s what they say). And in reality, in a large number of cases if we decide to take on the heat, to run into the fire, we end up only feeding the fire. It billows up. The problems grow. Now everyone is at risk, when before we were in a position to do something once the heat died down. We have to be willing to wait it out. To have patience. To remain calm. To remain in control. We have to make sure that we only fight when necessary and that we are equipped to do so. Whether you’re shouting or quiet, whether you are explaining it away or searching fervently for the answer, if you are standing in a fire you are no match for the fire. Without the right gear, without a spare supply of oxygen, without other people helping you to work to put out the fire, you’re simply standing in the fire. And that heat, those flames will quickly consume you. You won’t know which was is up, much less out. No one will understand what you are saying. But if you stand outside, you wait it out and let the heat pass, suddenly the path has been cleared for you. So don’t buy into the fury. Don’t listen to the hate. Don’t participate in storms that will only get you clobbered. Stand your ground. Know your goal. And wait for the path to clear.
Many people watched a few weeks ago when Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Not long after that a man walked across the Beau Rivage, a casino on the coast here on a tightrope, as well. I went with my brother, my son and my nephew to watch the event. You don’t realize just how high up it really is until there is someone walking across it on a rope!
As we watched him I thought about how difficult it must be to keep so many things in balance all at once. I’ve talked a lot about focus this week, and in this case it truly does take an immense amount of focus. You are standing up higher than anyone around, out over the edge (one of the only people crazy enough to try this) and you have to keep looking forward while remembering what you need to do to keep yourself in check. You have to stay calm, make sure your steps are on track, change them accordingly to ensure the rope you are walking on doesn’t get too loose, and make sure not to look down.
When we are up high and walking across the rope looking down can be hard to avoid. It’s one of the biggest pitfalls we make. When we start looking at just how high up we are and how far we’ve come, it’s easy to get disoriented. Looking down and losing focus is confusing. We become inundated immediately with thoughts that take us off track. We stop paying attention to our walk, we stop paying attention to our goal, we aren’t sure anymore what our next step should be, and it’s all because we looked down.
There are lots of people down there waiting on us to fall. There are lots of reasons that we might actually fall. But we are just as capable of standing on the wire and walking our way across. The choice in the matter is ours. Do we give in and look down? Do we go ahead and give up and take the easy way? It’s a whole lot faster getting to the ground that way, but the ground isn’t really where we want to be. And falling almost always results in injury. It may be fast, and there may be lots of people at the bottom who will be happy we’ve joined them, but is it really worth it? Fighting the urge to look down is hard. We have to know the steps we are taking. And remember that the hard road, (or the tight rope) is the only way to get there. So why not take the time to stay in check while walking on the wire.
Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I didn’t write anything at all. I didn’t write anything, I didn’t make a list, I didn’t go through and try to figure anything out – well, I stopped myself when I started doing that. And I made it a point to take the time to enjoy freedom. Just for a bit. For one day. I let myself be free from everything and simply enjoy the day.
It gets overwhelming sometimes when we need something to happen. And we need it to happen soon. We are working and working and trying to figure out what our next move will be, and that can interfere with actually being productive. It’s important to remind ourselves that we have to take a break sometimes. We have to stop. We have put too much in the way, and we can no longer find where our focus is at. We lose track of what’s going on, and we lose track of the fact that lots of things in our life need attention. We need attention. The people around us need attention. Life needs attention. Sometimes in order to actually focus, we have to allow ourselves to breathe for just a minute without feeling so much pressure. We have to let our minds recharge. We have to let them regroup so that we are better able to move forward in the days ahead.
We are bombarded daily by things we should and need to do. There is so much going on around us that we have to make sure we aren’t ignoring things that need to be priorities. We have to pay attention to the things that don’t get the attention they should, including ourselves. We have to give ourselves the freedom to appreciate and prioritize all of the areas in our lives that have been glossed over. The freedom to recharge. And the freedom to move forward feeling more comfortable and more focused in who we are and where we are going.
(This does not negate the last post… It’s simply a reminder that sometimes we have to take a short break to allow our focus time to return, and often times to return stronger than before. The focus does not disappear, it’s just that we remove the pressure, which has a tendency to build when we get stuck. And the break is not intended to ignore everything, simply to remind yourself to focus on other areas as well, while you feel the freedom of removing the pressure.)
(The book is still on sale for two more days for .99 on Amazon. (and barnes and noble) It’s a good source of freedom, and definitely lets you return more focused and ready for the challenges that come your way! 🙂 )
Most of the time when we have an idea or a goal, at the beginning there is this wave of excitement and focus. We are able to make the ideas flow, we are able to put a pen to paper, and we’re off. We start on our way. Then all of a sudden it stops. The wave has landed ashore, and we’re stuck out of water. This is one of the most pivotal times when it comes to accomplishing what we’ve set out to accomplish.
It seems like when we look at others, they are on their way and their journey has been nothing but smooth sailing. In reality, it’s extremely unlikely that a tremendous amount of time, frustration and unreturned effort wasn’t put in. We don’t get to most places worth going in life simply by showing up. We have to work to get to where we want to go. If you have something to say, and something worth saying, finding an audience is the most important and most difficult thing you can do. Unfortunately, in life we can only control ourselves. We have no power over others unless they consent. Unless they are willing to show up and say, “Hey, tell me more.” And people aren’t willing to do that until you’ve put in the effort.
Maintaining focus when things are starting to fall, when you realize that the road in front of you is full of hill after hill, mountain after mountain that you have to climb over – when you realize that you are fighting uphill, and there will be times when you feel like you are only losing ground – maintaining focus here is what separates those who achieve their goals from those who let them go. It separates those who become from those who settle. It’s hard. It’s long. It doesn’t go the way we expect it to go or feel that it should go. But it IS the road to success, as long as we choose to stay focused. To find ways when there seem to be none, and to keep working when it feels like nothing is happening. Finding focus when we are hearing nothing at all, when there is only silence is the key to seeing your ideas become a reality.
The kindle version of my book is now just $.99! (it started at midnight, I am excessively uncomfortable with self-promotion!) Which is very exciting!! One of the reasons I opted to make a kindle version was to keep prices low. I think that we all have to pay attention to how and what we spend our money on, so I’m really excited that I get the chance to do this!
So, if you are interested in changing your life, following your dreams, understanding your relationships, sharing the difficulties of parenting, feeling inspired, motivated, encouraged, and understanding why you really are worthy of all of the wonderful things life has to offer and learning how to achieve them, it truly is a dollar extremely well spent. It’s a short read (it is 260 pages, but it feels so much faster, honestly!) It’s written in the same format as my blog. It’s like we sat down in my living room to have a conversation about everything worthwhile that I’ve learned in my years studying psychology and in my personal life. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (except those of you who are manly enough to hold it in, but you’ll want to), It’s a chance worth taking, and it costs next to nothing. Give it to someone as a gift. You don’t need a kindle to read it. So please share it with everyone you know. It’s time and a tiny bit of money well spent.
And I want to thank all of you for creating such a wonderful and supportive community here. It really is impressive, this blogging community. Thanks for letting me in, encouraging me, and helping me accomplish my dreams. I hope I help you all do the same!
I also want to thank the following people for nominating me for awards this past week. I appreciate the thought. It means a lot, because I really want people to enjoy this blog and to feel inspired when they read it. So thank you. Check them out:
When I think of how many times I’ve had to restart my plans sometimes it feels like trying again is absolutely useless! It seems like every time I start to get going where I want to go, something happens that sets me back. Whether it’s a trip to the hospital, a refusal of help when I really feel like I need it, or a lovely company opting to “go a different route,” things constantly come up that force me to start back again down the road having to find an alternate route.
There are times when I literally think crashing into a wall would be a better option than this continuous struggle to get back up and find a new path. It happens so much with writing, because this is one of the hardest paths I’ve had to travel down. There’s so much life happening all the time that I think it gets to be too much. It’s hard to struggle to get to a place where Jack and I will be okay on our own. And I worry a lot that I’m not traveling down the right path for us. But I think the only way to teach him not to give up on his dreams is to not give up on mine.
In life I see person after person come to me about their careers. People ask me about their careers more than anything else. It’s frustrating to see so many people who want to accomplish their dreams, but have found it too hard to keep starting over. And it’s understandable. It’s hard to constantly try to find your way, and to see that every time a door closes there are other options and that you SHOULD take them. Everyone has a breaking point. And sometimes a break does allow for a chance to refocus. To find more drive and clearer direction for where we need to go. We have to determine what we can give up and what we can’t. The path is filled with introspection and action. Both have to work together.
It’s similar to a relationship. Which the title completely applies to as well! (at least for me!) Relationships have their ups and downs. Some relationships have to end, and we have to start again. It’s important to not make the same mistakes repeatedly. To constantly be learning and growing, so that we can find the person we actually want to be with, instead of the person like the others who it didn’t work out with. These paths are so instrumental to our happiness and well-being that their importance cannot be overlooked. We have to know ourselves well enough to know where we want to go, and who we want to go there with. We have to be able to get back on board and ride with fluidity, avoiding the bumps and holes and walls!
The nice thing about riding a bike, is once you get back on it, it has the capacity to get you where you want to go. From climbing the Alps to down along the shoreline. When we know figure out where we are going, the transportation is already in place. So even though it seems hard to jump back on, it really does get easier. We acclimate more quickly. We can maneuver more precisely with each time we choose to ride again. So even though there are walls, and we seem to crash a lot, we have the chance to recover, and get back up better equipped than we were before. Where there’s a wall, there’s a way around it 🙂
As I have progressed in age… yes, I like to sound like I’m old sometimes, even though I’ve discovered 30 is not so old. I hate it when my parents were right. Not the point. As I have progressed in age, I’ve discovered a wonderful thing about my thoughts. They’ve matured, well somewhat. And I think the nicest thing that has come of this is that answer to the question many of us struggle with when we are young.
So many of us (if not all of us) have a tendency to feel different. We feel like we aren’t quite the same. We feel like we aren’t ever going to be the same. And as a teenager, this can be a daunting thing to deal with. But what’s nice to know now is that we were right. We aren’t the same. BUT, neither is anyone else. And that makes us ALL the same.
We are all unique. We all have something different. We all have something individual to offer. Even if other people have the same qualities, simply by the virtue that no two of us live the exact same life (even conjoinied twins) we all have something a little bit different to give. We are all great in our individuality.
It’s ironic that something that states our separation also states how we are united. We are all just people. We have forgotten things about our lives. There are things we don’t even know about ourselves anymore. Sometimes I find it really hard to remember how I used to think, and I wonder why I felt the way I used to feel. We all grow, we all change. Some more than others, but nonetheless. We have to be willing to accept that we are both different and the same. And that there ARE people who understand us. That we can all offer something worth while. Everything in life changes and fades. Time moves forward. Life goes on. “This too shall pass” is an important thing to recognize. We can all get through our issues and our problems. Especially when we do take the time to realize that despite the fact that we are unique, everyone else is too. And though no two experiences are the exact same, there are similarities. There are good things to be offered forth by others.
We have the ability to thrive in as individuals. But only because we are the same as everyone else. Only because we have something worth giving. So work towards the things you have to give. Find others who have worked to give the same things too. There is a wealth of knowledge in all of us unique human beings. And it’s enough to turn the tides of our lives and point us to where we want to go.
I was up until 4 am last night because they had a really gruesome crime scene near my town and in my town over the past few days. And that stuff makes me worry unnecessarily and excessively. I think I have some lasting PTSD from when I was younger, but I feel a lot better this evening after they caught the suspects. . And I finally have my computer back. I had to use my phone the last few days, so I apologize for all of the grammar/spelling/autocorrect errors that may have occurred!
One thing that did happen over the past few days was that I was reminded once again to be thankful for the days we have. Particularly because each one gives us the chance to do something good. To help ourselves and help others. We have the chance to use our gifts to grow and work and change the world. We have something existent within us each day that has the capacity to leave a lasting mark of love. Whether we write it, paint it, swim it, create music, lend an ear, offer true advice, or smile as often as we can, doing so makes a difference. It matters to us. It matters to others. It matters to the world. We are all significant, whether we feel anyone else (or even we ourselves) realizes it or not. We can do something worth doing each time the sun rises. Every morning is a new chance to start over, move forward, and find ourselves coming closer to where we want to be. So do not waste it. Let it be worthwhile.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank the following bloggers for nominating me for a myriad of awards over the past few days. I tried to figure out if there was a good way to answer all the questions or how to space things out, but I decided it was best to simply extend my gratitude to each of you. You all have wonderful blogs on a variety of topics. And I really appreciate you taking the time out to acknowledge me and to read my blog in general. It’s truly humbling and extremely kind of you all. Thank you so much! Check out their blogs J