Nothing Worthwhile is Easy.
When things are most difficult, and we are thinking of backing down and giving up, that is when it is most important that we dig deeper; that is where ‘worthwhile’ is made.
If we give up every time something kicks our butt, we will never find something worth fighting for.
One of the greatest teachers I have ever had called this commitment Grit. Grit is not something we are born with; it is something we chose. It is not something that is taught anymore because (I think) with the arrival of technology (computers and even things as primitive…as cars) we have come to assume that there should be an easier way to do things, a short cut.
We are so used to moving-on these days. We flit from one thing to the next. One form of social media to the next. Always looking for the next big thing. Never alone or able to stand in one spot mentally, physically or metaphorically for more than a second.
This idea that there should be a short cut to everything is an illusion.
There is no short cut to value and meaning. There is NO shortcut to things of substance.
Because the journey is what gives the destination value. And the destination is not in fact a destination but an ongoing struggle to exceed our potential and create a life of meaning and value.
Value means something different to everyone but it is all achieved by perseverance. That moment when we are about to give up…
That, is where value is made. That is where meaning is created. And That, is where we find peace.
We find peace in knowing that there is no other option but to try harder, or differently. There is no choice to make, the answer is clear.
We find satisfaction in knowing that we have created something that can withstand the test of anything life has to throw at us. That is empowering.
Effort and Grit are difficult things to quantify because it is hard to know that we have tried our hardest. I mean REALLY know.
Not giving up means not throwing your hands up in the air and running away. It means looking your fears in the face, sinking into the discomfort they are causing you, and making conscious present decisions about how to approach them. Sometimes attacking them head-on is not a viable option sometimes you need to take a detour but that not the same as giving up.
If not for my experience with horses I wouldn’t know what Grit feels like because nothing else has ever physically and literally forced me to give everything I have to the pursuit of not giving up. It forced me to dig in to, and feel whole-heartedly, what Grit is and the satisfaction and serenity that it is married to.
For me its horses for you it might be something else. But Grit is not the kind of thing you can read about and understand it is something you must experience. It is also something that can be easily forgotten and needs constant reminding. But once you understand it, you can summon it when it matters most and it applies to ALL aspects of your life!
The decision is purely individual, no one else can make it for you. Grit is not a one-time event but a journey. Grit is what keeps you going when everything else is telling you to give up.
Once on a horse, I have no control over anything accept my own being, mind and body. You can’t force a horse to doing anything. Like in life…there are no guarantees. So you are forced to focus deeply on what you can control and forget everything else.
What this essentially means is being PRESENT.
All that exists is — this — moment.
All of your energy is focused on the moment which is happening.
Your senses are heightened, your reflexes and your mind are precise and effective. This is Focus.
The only way to be truly effective and to dig in, to find and give meaning to our life, is to be present and to focus. The concept of Flow is based on this — finding something which causes everything but the current moment to fade away.
In the moment when things get hard and your asking yourself ‘why?’…choose to be present, choose to face your fears.
To live a meaningful life…we have to commit to something that sets our soul on fire — something that inspires us to make friends with our fears and not give up when the going gets tough.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Check out this video that inspired my post and reminded me of this lesson that I had forgotten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnXR-hp5QA