All you need is, just do it.

Remember in The Alchemist, a resolved young Englishman, who aspired to produce the Philosopher’s Stone, studied all his life but with no sucess, and finally decided to travel across the desert to learn from the true Alchemist. When they finally met, the Alchemist asked the Englishman: “have you transformed lead into gold yet?” When the Englishman replied no, all the Alchemist said was: “try to do so.” A modern sneaker manufacturer is definitely the disciple of the Alchemist — Just do it. What good is all the learning if nothing ever being produced? Such a simple truth, yet it is a mistake so easy to repeat. In this age of excessive information, literally with infinite topics to learn, who can resist the urge to look up just one more tidbit? Consuming is always easier than producing after all. But, is just doing it all it takes for someone to success?

Doing it is necessary to success, but not sufficient.

Maybe success is too strong a word and is utterly subjective. With all the polymorphic meanings of the word, there is a commonality: one feels good upon success. One way to feel good about oneself is getting better at something (doesn’t matter you like it, or choose it, or not) every passing day. One fine example is Keiji Kiriya.

If you really like a novel, it is difficult to like its movie adaptation more. Forrest Gump is one of the few that comes to my mind. I liked the movie Edge of Tomorrow; actually I liked it enough that I picked up its original novel in english translation — All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and this was how I first met Keiji Kiriya.

In the story, Keiji trapped in a time loop with no apparent way to break it, aka Groundhog Day. As expected the protagonist from both stories overcame the seven stages of grief and became a better person who lived to see tomorrow. Here is Keiji’s statement of realization:

… A window of opportunity might present itself in tomorrow’s battle. The odds of that happening might be 0.1 percent, or even 0.01 percent, but if I could improve my combat skills even the slightest bit — if that window were to open even a crack — I’d find a way to force it open wide. If I could train to jump every hurdle this little track-meet of death threw at me, maybe someday I’d wake up in world with a tomorrow.

I am sure Phil from Groundhog had more fun in practising piano everyday and eventually became good enough to preform at the ball, but the idea is the same: Practice makes perfect. Can you imagine what would have happened if Keiji decided to read about battle everyday instead of training for it? He would be trapped in the loop, just like the Englishman who trapped in his studies instead of actually making the Philosopher’s Stone. The mind can only carry you so far, and the rest is up to you to do something about it. It is hard to justify success if all one has done is read, and I doubt that reading faster everyday can make anyone feel better. Understanding is hard to quantity without one actually writing down what has been understood.

Most of us don’t have infinite amount of time like in the movies, yet I have no doubt that we all have enough time to success if we don’t idle on it anymore. Besides all the idols packaged by a certain modern sneaker manufacturer, there are always common folks among us we can learn from, if we pay attention to our surroundings everyday. You know why your mom’s dishes tasted so good? Because your mother have been cooking for the last twenty years.

For myself, one word at a time.

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