Life is struggle. Just get over that fact. If you are progressing, you are struggling. There seems to be an eternal law written into the cosmos somewhere that life will always face opposition. Similar to Newton’s third law of motion – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For life to grow it needs to experience opposition, gaining strength as it strains. Imagine for a second a tree that you plant. If you plant that tree in great conditions it will flourish, but if it never experiences any serious opposition – when it does finally grow a canopy of leaves, that first wind storm will cause it to topple. However, the tree that experiences frequent hardship and wind blasts will grow a deep and wide root system and will grip so tightly to earth that it will withstand a hurricane.
So it goes with you. You are like this little flower growing in a wilderness of rocks. It appears at first glance that there is little chance for your success. However, you have the sun, a small patch of soil, and plenty of water. As long as you have the basic ingredients covered you are going to press forward – because that is what life does, that is when life is at its best. Struggle. Embrace the Suck. Relish in opposition and resistance. The more the resistance the more you realize that you have chosen the right path. The more resistance the cosmos sends your way, the more you know how awesome the vision of your future self is. The greater the resistance, the greater the outcome.
So here you are, starting out on a journey to turn and face that resisting force. You have turned your head, lifted your chin and with your stubborn will power have said – I am going to do something about it. I am going to make an improvement, even if it is a small incremental thing, I am going to get better. The problem is that your initial energy, your will power is going to abandon you on the first sign of resistance. Will power starts out as an untrained muscle that fades quickly with the slightest amount of resistance. Will power is that superficial friend that says they will be there for you, but when the going gets tough they do not answer your call.
This leads me to the second powerful tool to help you in this life struggle. The tool is to let others know. Jean Nidetch figured that out when she started meeting with friends each week that all had the goal of losing weight becoming the organization Weight Watchers. Bill Wilson figured out how powerful a group of people could be in motivating each other when he formed AA in 1935. I took this to the extreme, as is my personality. When I began my first habitual commitment – I started a daily blog. I published it to the “world” what I was attempting to do. I only really had an audience of 1 – my good friend Ben. The next day my audience grew to two – my wife. Then my kids, then a few friends. I share my experience with people, often in humiliating ways. The reason? I don’t know. All I know is letting others know works.
Call it ego, pride, wanting to avoid the shame of failure – but it works. It also helps to feel like you have people that want you to be successful. Even in your moments of failure, they are still there trying to help you. Generally, I have discovered, that people are not out to get you. They actually want their fellow beings to succeed and enjoy seeing others accomplish their goals. I am not advocating starting a blog, a podcast, or tweeting out your daily progress. However, I am advocating that you let other people that are close to you know what you are trying to accomplish and let them know frequently how it is going. Swallow your pride and communicate your struggles. There is one thing that I have learned in the process of blogging what is happening during my commitment – that everyone experiences this struggle. You will be amazed when you discover that really put together person that you know, is actually going through their own pain and struggle and that you are definitely not alone!
I have gone through pain, misery and intense struggle to keep some habits that have improved my life. I am now moving on to some even greater ambitions. I am afraid of failure, I struggle with keeping my attitude positive. I sometimes feel hopeless about it and start to slip into a depression. However, my friends, my family, and an occasional stranger have buoyed me in some of the darkest of times. This is why you should let others know.
Guy Reams (378)
135 Days Left to My First Marathon
I think what you are doing is an inspiring thing. In this article I was taken with your analogy of the lone flower. One of my passions has always been writing as well as writing poetry. Your thoughts reminded me of one I wrote about the flower and thought I would share it with you. The title is “Life.”
A flower grew up from the ground
so new and fresh and young.
She stretched her petals to the sky,
her life had just begun.
The sun was always warming her,
the breezes made her sway,
no trouble ever came along
’til one dark stormy day.
The thunder shook and winds blew hard,
the rains began to fall,
and bent and broken in the mud
they say they heard her call:
“Oh Father, God, what have you done
to me your fairest flower?
The night grows long and weak I get
as hour adds to hour.”
And in the morning light one sees
her petals limp and bent.
Her once strong stem is near in two;
her young life almost spent.
The clear dawn passes quickly by,
the sun comes shining down,
and silently the earth is moved –
A new flower breaks the ground.
I suppose the point is that no matter if we fail completely, there is always a new day and a brand new beginning.
This is great. Thanks for sharing. I read this several times. I shared this with my daughter – she really liked it too!