… it’s happening for you.
And as the victors of popular culture are carried out on the shoulders of the crowds, basking in the success of whatever it was they were victorious at, that single point of victory is what will be remembered. Yet, were you to speak with the one who won, after they’ve demounted the crowds carrying them, you’d hear a far different story, the one laced with failure, doubt, hardship and unforeseen obstacles, the private and public struggles that needed to be overcome.
The line separating those who succeed and those who fail is persistence through all of the unclear murky waters, trying to figure things out and getting little or no encouragement while you’re feeling it out – because you still haven’t won. Most goals worth achieving don’t have a straight, well-lit cosy trajectory leading to them. Before the pats on the shoulder, congratulations, clapping and recognition come, there is a far lonelier place of doubt and trying. You know the place if you’ve ever tried to do something big, new or and unlikely. These are the moments when it seems that it’s all about to implode, that all the work you’ve put in, time and energy poured in it had been wasted because a thing you couldn’t predict took you out – an injury, financial hit, a private relationship crumbled, there is disease, pain or you’re just plain stuck (seemingly) having exhausted all options. These are the days when you can’t sleep and sit at the edge of your bed at 3 AM questioning the validity of what you’re doing, times when it seems that every move is wrong and that nothing works as it should, moments when you doubt if you should change course and move onto something else. Maybe you should, maybe you’re just wrong or there is a crucial fact you don’t see, maybe you’re forcing the wrong approach or you’re just unnecessarily masochistic and unreasonable.
Whining and self-pity are a stone throw away from that lonely place, from the moment where we start comparing ourselves or our missions to the highlight reels of others’ lives and slip into the spoiled, completely unproductive and useless question of – “Why me?”. Well, why not you? Why would any be spared? Why would you be walled in and protected and not someone else? Going through hard times is pretty much a given fact of life, unless you live such a sheltered existence that nothing new or remotely challenging is allowed to enter the realm (which will, by the way, in the end turn you into someone bored out of their mind and inert). How you see the challenge is for you to decide. Consider that maybe all of this is not happening to you, but for you. It may be exactly what you need to shake and smack you awake. Maybe what you learn through this will save you at a time when the stakes will be much higher. We can consciously choose to see walls as climbable things we can hang paintings on in the meanwhile to make them easier on the eyes, since they’re already there. How do you intended to learn rock climbing without an actual rock to climb? You can try to learn the theory, but without practice, it’s kind of pointless.
None of us change until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain the change itself will exert. Doubt is an agent of opening up – if you can take it – and deem your mission important enough to g(r)o(w) through the pain. Whatever it is you’re facing now, it is not happening to you. Get out of self-pity and use it to advance, it’s happening for you.