Why is it that we are always so ready to throw in the towel?
Earlier today I enjoyed a phone call from a good friend of mine, such is life we don’t get to talk as often as we used to, so It was disconcerting for me when she shared that she was experiencing a really tough time in her life and was looking for guidance. We spoke for two hours, and from everything she said all the way to the inflection of her voice, I could feel my friend reaching for her old self, seeking for it. She felt lost,she was consumed by doubt and wasn’t sure who she was anymore. What she described was a deep sense of unhappiness, and this feeling of being stuck on a rollercoaster she never asked to be on. Don’t we all know that feeling? I know it; almost a little too well.
In an effort to help, I asked her what I had asked myself some time ago; what is it that she really wanted to do. By asking her this I hoped that she would confess what it was she dreamed about late at night, the one thing that makes her heart sing, and her soul smile. After I asked, she quieted for a moment, considering the weight of the question, and after a few beats she explained, in a noticeably quieter tone, that she would love to tell her story. After experiencing so much heart break and so much pain she didn’t feel she quite deserved, she wanted to share it all in hopes that no one else may experience this feeling again.
While she spoke, I found myself nodding in agreement, I felt the idea was magnificent and brilliant. It was the late Carrie Fisher who asked that we turn our heartbreak into art,but before I could say so, my friend who had been feeding the voice of doubt for so long, added “ but I know that no-one will ever support me”.
How could she possibly know that?
Here it was, she hadn’t even wrote the first word, and yet was already predicting the results. She began to complain about the time it would take to write it all down, and how people wouldn’t listen or support her because “they don’t like her”, she worried that it would be a lot of time wasted, and had even begun to complain that the time, she had not yet dedicated, could have been better invested in her children.
She had figured out all this, and she hadn’t even begun to write the first letter of the first word of the first sentence. Now, I was becoming noticeably more irritated by her observations. She was working against herself to promote her own unhappiness. But why? I felt pretty confident she could not see into the future, and was fairly certain she had no real way of grounding these predictions, which makes her statements nothing more than speculation.
Her ability to completely pummel herself and give up without even attempting left me outraged, but I was also intrigued. As I listened, I wondered just how often people do this to themselves; before they even attempt a project or a task they’ve claimed defeat.
People, like my friend, should be careful to experience their emotions but to ensure that they don’t consume them. We all have a voice in our head, if fed action and faith it can be your best friend and guide you, but if fed defeat and doubt, it will work against you and claim defeat in hopes that you never try. The voice that feeds ideas that say ‘ you can’t,’ ‘you won’t, ‘you shouldn’t,’ let’s call it the doubtful monster- is only talking because you choose to listen to it. Just because you think it, it does not make it true. Do not allow that voice to defeat you!
The truth is, when you start on your journey, whatever it may be, it is quite possible you won’t be so good. Maybe, you are as terrible as you believe you are, but you will never get better if you stop there. The results you wish to see, only come with consistent effort.
I have a nephew, who is only four months right now, but already he has shown me determination that I often miss in adults. Every day he attempts to stand up, and each time he fails. He does this all day every day, and for four full months he hasn’t quite done it. Yet, he doesn’t look at it and say ‘oh well I give up!’, he doesn’t say ‘oh I guess standing isn’t for me!’. That would be ridiculous wouldn’t it? No, he smiles and grabs ahold of my arm and tries again. That is the courage of a four month old, where failure is not an indication to quit. Yet, so many people take this quitter attitude towards their own life.
There is evidence to show anything practiced consistently will improve! Nature shows us that if we plant a seed, we shall reap a crop. Yet, in spite of this declarative evidence we, as people, continue to feed the doubtful monster.
The idea that you or anyone will be instantly great at something, that there is a ‘natural’ talent, is a lie. Michael Jordan was no natural talent—if he were, then why does he consistently contribute his success to hard work and lots of practice? Why did Abraham Lincoln lose multiple and consecutive runs for public office, and then go on to become the president? Why do I still read my grammar handbook, and proofread my work? It’s because that idea of instant perfection, is phony. It’s impossible! Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard! The people that we associate with success worked at it. Everyday. Consistently. Perhaps, for years before they became the success you know them as today.
So, instead of feeding the monster of doubt, instead of psyching yourself out, just try! I like to believe that by thinking it, I have already proved to myself that I can do it, all I need to do is apply the action; because when we combine faith with effort miracles occur. A garden planted in spring will come to harvest that fall. Consistent effort will create positive change.
Homework: stop feeding the doubtful monster that lives in your head, and become more like my nephew, Levi. So what you keep falling down? You stand up a little bit longer each time you get back up.
Please leave comments below letting me know if this post helped you, inspired you, or simply pissed you off. Also, share with a friend who may need a little encouragement. Once again, thank you for reading and spending this time with me, it’s most appreciated. Now, go out and be great!