I contemplated giving up. Withdrawing and disappearing.
Because if I was doing everything I was capable — at the time — of doing (and I felt — and still feel — like I was), and it still wasn’t yielding results, then what was the point of doing anything at all?
And just now I received an email from someone who stated that something I wrote back then played an integral part in a fork in their life.
In short, it changed their life. Changed. Their. Life.
And seriously, the contrast of knowing what I was feeling back then and reading this email now makes my eyes water.
So please understand a lesson that’s taken me a fair amount of time to learn, just because you may feel invisible at times doesn’t mean you aren’t being seen.
It may just be that acknowledgment of whatever positive contribution you are making to the world may take a while to get back to you.
They say that all goals should be measurable, but sometimes we try looking for results too soon — and because we don’t see them, we give up thinking we haven’t gotten any.
I’m here to say again that not everything of value can be measured.
Don’t give up on something you really want to do just because you don’t see immediate results.
Just because someone isn’t considered to be a “smart” person doesn’t mean they can’t excel in life. Some people are quick thinkers, others are slow.
It isn’t necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed that makes the biggest difference, it’s how one chooses to use it.
Being smart means very little if you don’t use your resources wisely.
You don’t have to be smart to be wise.
“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” — Steve Jobs
Because if your aspirations don’t push you beyond your comfort zone, you’re not aiming high enough.
The most worthwhile goals in your life will be mountains, not molehills. They will not only force you to face challenges you expect, they’ll force you overcome obstacles you couldn’t anticipate when you started.
It’s not the challenges we expect on a journey that force us to face self-doubt as much as it’s those we never see coming. Learn to expect the unexpected and don’t be deterred by it.
Whenever self-doubt strikes on your journey, remind yourself why you started and focus not on how far you are from your goal, but instead on how far you’ve come.
Focus on your progress and your victories, no matter how small. Focus on the knowledge you’ve gained on your journey and all the new insights you can convert into wisdom.
Accept setbacks and self-doubt as part of your journey and refuse to let them deter you from the greatness you know is within you.
Remember that you didn’t pick your goals because you knew they would be easy, you picked them knowing they were hard but worthwhile.
You may be hurting. And feeling powerless. And feeling tired. You may be surrounded by people and still feeling alone in the world.
But you will get through this. And you will be stronger because of it.
There are kind people in the world that you don’t even know, who would do anything in their power to help lift you up, if they could. But in order for it to really make a difference, you’re the one who has to do it.
You have something inside of you that is stronger than anything holding you down.
You have to find the strength to focus on what really matters to you. Your loves. Your joys. The things that make you laugh, and smile, and make you want to share it with the world.
You may not always feel like it, but you make a bigger difference in the world than you can possibly imagine. Your smile alone can change someone’s day for the better. And that single day can lead to unimaginable good things in the future.
The ripple effect of a single act of kindness can change an entire life.
You may sometimes feel like the whole world is against you, but it just isn’t true. There are countless people who don’t even know you, but care greatly about you and your well-being. If you’ve ever been smiled at by a complete stranger, then you experienced just a tiny glimpse of this. It may sometimes feel like no one cares, but they do. I promise you — they do.
Life is hard. And it isn’t fair. And it really hurts like hell sometimes. But if you focus on what is within your power to change for the better, you can. And you will.
So please, find a way. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But keep trying.
We, as a society, are addicted to the word “can’t.”
“I can’t [change something I want to change about myself] for the better.” “I can’t quit [this habit].” “I tried, I just can’t.” “I can’t. It’s just not in my nature.” “I can’t — I’m just not good enough.”
But there is a big difference between “I can’t” and “It just isn’t a high priority”.
When a person says, “I can’t”, it means they are incapable of doing something.
It does not mean, “I don’t want to.”
It does not mean, “I just don’t have time.”
It does not mean, “I don’t want to work to accomplish something.”
What many people actually mean when they use the word “can’t” is “it just isn’t a high priority.”
Before you say, “I can’t” or resolve to tell yourself, “I tried, I just couldn’t” — consider the following…
How educated did you become regarding the aspect of the goal you wanted to achieve?
Sometimes all we need to achieve our goals is a bit more information about whatever it is we want to achieve.
Consider this: If someone tasked you with climbing a cliff — and you knew nothing about rock climbing — how could you possibly expect to smoothly accomplish your goal by learning from as-you-go experience alone?
Did you acquire the resources necessary to help you achieve your goal?
Sometimes we have all the information we need to achieve our goal, but we fail to take the steps necessary to acquire the resources necessary to do so.
Consider this: This is like having the information necessary to climb a cliff, but failing to acquire the equipment (climbing gear) necessary to make your task easier.
How motivated were you to meet your goal? How was this reflected in your life?
Was your goal a high priority?
If your goal was a high priority, how was this reflected in your life?
Did you list the upsides of meeting your goal and the downsides if you didn’t?
Without proper motivation, even the simplest tasks can feel like a burden. We tend to lower the priority of those things which we feel less motivated to do — and raise the priority of those things we want to do.
When seeking to accomplish a goal, it is important to have the motivation necessary to see you through to the end of that goal. Always be aware of the benefits of achieving your goal and the downsides if you don’t.
Consider this: If your life — or the life of a loved one — depended on you climbing a cliff, your motivation to climb the cliff would be much stronger knowing a life was in the balance than if you saw no reward or benefit for climbing a cliff. Motivation matters!
Did you track your progress to achieving your goal?
Did you focus on how much progress you made vs. how far you had to go?
If your goal isn’t measurable, then it is too abstract to be called a goal. Anything you expect to accomplish must be able to be broken down into measurable tasks.
It is a fact that those who break down their goals into achievable tasks — and then track their progress towards reaching their goals are more likely to accomplish those goals than those who don’t. So the question again is, why wouldn’t you?
How many attempts did you make to achieve your goal? Did you simply try once and decide you couldn’t do it?
How many different things did you try before you gave up?
How many days, months, years did you work at it?
This is self-explanatory. Making a single attempt at accomplishing a goal and then giving up, would be like telling your friends that your child will never walk because they tried once and failed.
Did you have a support system in place or sources of encouragement?
Did anyone know you were trying to make the change?
Depending on the nature of your goal, there are times that having a support system in place can greatly enhance the likelihood of you achieving your goal. Not only does this help provide motivation, but it can also make you accountable for the things you say you are going to do.
If you didn’t put much effort into these things before you declared, “I can’t”, it’s NOT that you can’t — it’s that you didn’t want to.
“Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits.” — Robert Brault
20 things I’ve learned about determination & commitment in 333 days.
1. It means focusing on your heart’s desire(s) and not giving up on your goal(s) when you are forced beyond your comfort zone or when inevitable setbacks or disappointments happen.
2. It means focusing on changing the things you can and not complaining about or focusing on the things you cannot.
3. It means taking action and doing what is hard & necessary to get things done and not expecting others to do it for you.
4. It means facing your fears and battling doubts, but refusing to give in to either.
5. It means making mistakes, falling down, or suffering embarrassment — but learning from these experiences and using them to push forward towards your goal — not letting them weaken your resolve or overcome you.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” — Calvin Coolidge
6. It means taking steps every single day, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and no matter how small your steps may be, to move towards your heart’s desires.
7. It means focusing on the bigger picture — making sacrifices and delaying gratification in order to invest in where you intend to go.
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
8. It means letting go of trying to please or be “friends” with everyone.
9. It means potentially (likely) stirring things up, causing a “ruckus”, drawing complaints, or attracting “haters” due to your actions — and pushing forward regardless.
10. It means dealing with the criticism from friends, family, colleagues, competitors, or anyone at any time who may cross your path and judge you or laugh at you or tell you “you can’t” or “you won’t”, but not letting it stand in the way of you and your goal.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” — Gail Devers
11. It means living with integrity — sticking up for your beliefs & values and being honest with yourself and others — even when it’s uncomfortable or your views or goals appear unpopular.
12. It means constantly seeking ways to improve yourself and your “craft” and better ways to do whatever is necessary to achieve your goal.
13. It means not giving up when a door is slammed in your face or you are told “no” 99 times — instead, you focus on finding alternative paths to your goal — some way, somehow to get to the person behind the 100th door that says “yes”.
14. It means if you are offended, betrayed, or belittled by people who are close to you or you discover others working against you, not letting it derail you from reaching your ultimate goal.
15. It means continually and deliberately reaching beyond your comfort zone and doing what others won’t in order to achieve your goal.
“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.” — Thomas Foxwell Buxton
16. It means understanding both your strengths and your weaknesses — and maximizing one while trying to minimize the other.
17. It means fueling your own fire and being a significant source of your own motivation — utilizing your passion for what you’re doing to achieve your goal.
18. It means finding a way, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable what you’re doing may be, to enjoy and learn from the process & journey — to live in the present and appreciate what you’re doing or any positive impact it may have on others.
19. It means believing in yourself and a goal that may appear “unrealistic” or against the odds to many — but knowing deep down that it’s not only possible, but that you can do it.
20. It means living up to your own standards.
Giving up is the easiest thing to do. In fact, many times people are happy to accept quitting as long as one appeared to put in some effort — even if it wasn’t their best — “It’s ok, you did the best you could.”
Some may even tempt you with, “No one will think any less of you for quitting.”, but…
If you’re truly going after your heart’s desires and you truly believe in yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish, then it doesn’t matter what other people think because you’re not doing it for them — you’re doing it for you.
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” — William Feather