Without a doubt, it’s an all-out guerrilla war with no rules of engagement to speak of. It’s filled with IEDs, RPGs, and enemies seen and unseen that will kill you. Truth is, the enemy has won infinitely more battles than the good guys, but the war rages on.
Reaching any goal is a war.
In case you don’t know:
IED – Improvised explosive device
RPG – Rocket propelled grenade
Oh, it’s very real
The IED/RPG part is figurative, of course.In my experience, when I’ve sought the right path for the right reasons, and somehow found myself on it, objects have started flying at my head. More than usual. For years, I never recognized it. I just became frustrated, angry, and felt sorry for myself that my plans were interrupted. I typically found the nearest corner and hunkered down. I quit the thing I was doing, whatever it may have been at the time.
I started many an undertaking only to quit when the going got tough. I can count on three fingers the things that were legitimately quit-worthy. Each of those shouldn’t have been started in the first place. The rest, well, I simply quit when the first salvos were fired.
Press on, soldier boy
I credit a good and wise friend for helping me to see the light and understand there is truly an unseen war raging. Just because we choose the right path, doesn’t mean things will be sweet and the living easy. In fact, it’s oftentimes soooo completely the opposite. The first, most important, step is recognizing that fact. Second, is learning to combat it, which is where I find myself now. Sometimes I win a few battles, sometimes I don’t.
For instance, 15 years ago I sat down and began writing my first book. 14 years, 360 days ago I ceased writing that book, because I talked myself out of it. I listened to the enemy in my ear saying, “No one will publish it. No one will read it. What makes you think you can write a book?”
Oh, here’s another good one. Seven years ago, after a couple of years of freelance writing for several publications, I was offered a part-time position as a managing editor for a small sports media company (very small). After a few weeks, I learned the round of funding that made the position possible didn’t come through. I got mad, threw a few tantrums, quit writing and began seeking the wrong paths.
Ah, yes. Here’s a battle surely lost. Just before the managing editor fiasco, I started a venture that would allow for meaningful contributions to a couple of my favorite organizations. Soon, it was apparent the number of hours needed to get it off the ground was daunting and the possibility of failure was very real. My resolve began to waiver at about the time I was asked to speak about my venture at my church. I declined the offer and saw the venture make a quick retreat into oblivion. That one really stung, because I simply didn’t give it a chance. I listened to the enemy in my ear say, “You’ll make a fool of yourself. This is doomed to fail. Shut it down, now!”
Today, I’ve made significant inroads toward the needed perseverance. That’s all we can hope for. Since self preservation is part of our existence as humans, we naturally want to limit failure, which lends to a fear of it.
The first RPG
Obstacles will arise; small ones, big ones, real ones, posers. When they do, I believe we have to press on. Many of you are like me; you feel like you’re meant to do that certain thing (it’s different for us all). So, do that thing!!
Don’t talk yourself out of it (obstacle number 1) before you start. I know, you may have been conditioned by the old, faulty maxim, “You can’t fail if you don’t start.” That’s a particularly dangerous RPG if I’ve ever seen one, because its a weapon often launched at us from people we love and respect; parents, siblings, friends, etc. They fire it at us, mostly, because they don’t want us to endure failure. It is, however, a faulty premise. That saying should go this way, “If you never start you already failed.”
So, get past that first obstacle, because its a myth grounded in timidity, and on your way to something great!
As I wrote this, I watched the Denver Broncos take the lead against the New England Patriots with just over one minute remaining. TV Camera pans to Tom Brady. He doesn’t appear scared. He’s ready for the battle that remains. The Pats ultimately lost, but he was ready.
Do you have any perseverance stories? Good or bad, it can be helpful to us.
Image courtesy DVIDSHUB.