The end of the beginning

When all of your work and preparation was just the first step on a long path ahead

I recently read “The Gunslinger” by Steven King that emphasizes an important lesson in life — “the end of the beginning”.

This gunslinger has been on a journey for all of his life when he finally catches up to “The man in black.” Upon their much anticipated first confrontation, the Man in Black tells him that this is merely the end of the beginning.

His journey is actually yet to begin. All of his experiences up to this point was training for the long arduous path ahead. He had to be tested and get through all of the shit before just to see if he was truly worthy.

I believe that this teaches us an important lesson about the checkpoints we reach on the road to greatness.

Regardless of what you are working on, most of the hard work and effort and struggle happens in the beginning….and the beginning can be a long ass time.

Despite how much time we THINK we have invested in something, you’re just getting started.

I recently had one of those moments when I tried to jump on my first Highline Slackline. While it feels like I’ve been training for a while now, this is just the beginning. I’m still a white belt.

When I tried that highline it kicked my ass. But — it made me see that the end of the beginning is close. That once I’m able to get onto that highline the real journey begins. The real training begins.

Same thing when I did my first 10-day silent meditation retreat. At the end of the 10 days, S.N. Goenka says “this was merely a 10-day course to teach you the technique — your real work begins when you leave here. Can you implement this technique in your daily life?”

The 10 day course is merely the end of the beginning in your meditation practice.

I like to think of this like the Black Belt Mindset. When you finally graduate out of white belt you realize that this is just the end of the beginning in Jiu Jitsu. Although you’ve now graduated to the next level, you realize that there is a very very long path ahead of you.

Look at someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger — his journey to becoming Mr. Olympia was merely the end of the beginning — that point in his life became the starting point for everything else. Despite all of the years of training and hard work — the journey was just getting started.

Or look at Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) and what he accomplished. Getting to the WWF was a huge accomplishment in itself — but it was merely the beginning of the mega-star that he has become.

In both situations it took a lifetime of work to reach the end of the beginning. Although they reached their “goal” — they were just getting started.

While you may feel like you’ve been on the path for a while, you’re actually just getting started and have a very long journey ahead. One that will be painful as fuck but you know the reward you’re chasing in the end.

These stories and experiences all act as reminders of an important skill to cultivate — patience. Understanding that all good things take time and consistent practice. To maintain the beginners mindset. To understand that no matter how much time you think you have put into something — there’s still so so much more to go.

The beginning can stretch on for a long time — Focus on the process instead of the goal. The journey instead of the destination. You can train your whole life and realize that it’s still the beginning of your journey, so give it the patience, practice, and consistency that it deserves.


Originally published at Troy Erstling.