Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tough Love from the Muse

“Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.”

André A. Jackson

Do you think this is difficult?  Do you think this is hard?  Do you think this is unfair?  Are you wondering why others get to watch TV or sleep in or do nothing while you keep working?  Are you getting tired of it? 
Then stop. 
No one made you choose your goals. 
The vision you have for your life is yours.  But you don’t have to follow it if you think it’s too hard.  
As long as you’re thinking about how hard it is, you should also know this:  almost no one reaches his or her goals immediately.  Here’s worse news.  You may not reach your goals at all.  That’s not likely, but it is possible.  
So you don’t have to do this. 
You can quit.
You can relax, turn on the TV, and have a beer.  You can stop right now. 
You can go back to the way things were before.
(And if that thought doesn’t terrify you, I don’t know what does.)
But you can.  You can go back to the way things were before.
Except that you really can’t.  
Yes, you can appear to go back to the way things were before.  You can put the manuscript in the drawer.  You can continue suffering the abuse.  You can stop looking for a better job.  You can stop taking risks.  You can tell yourself that this is all there is.  You can tell yourself that this is all you deserve.  Or you can skip self-pity and go directly to anger.  You can blame God, the government, your family, the economy, your boss, or whomever else is handy.  You can do just enough to get by until retirement.  You can say that you didn’t have enough support and that no one understood you and that you couldn’t catch a break and that you were tired and that you had so many responsibilities.   The good news is you’ll have company.  Lots of company.  Misery really does love company.  You can find other disappointed, frustrated, depressed, and angry people and they’ll understand and agree with you about how hard it is to move forward in life.  You can go back to the way things were before.
The problem is this:  you can’t go back.  Oh, you can quit.  You can give up.  But you can’t go back.  You’ve seen too much.  You know too much.  You tasted freedom and hope.  You realized there’s more to life and now the old life just doesn’t work any longer.  It never really did.  That’s why you tired to change things in the first place.  But now it really doesn’t work, because you know.   You know what your real life looks like. You know what it’s supposed to be.  And you will never be the same.
You can quit if you want, but I wouldn’t want to be you.  I wouldn’t want to look in your mirror.
You can keep going.  Do one more thing, just one. One more thing to move you towards your goal.  Write one more page.  Read one more chapter.  Walk one more step.    Do one more thing. 
Then do another…and another…and another.  Action breeds hope faster than anything else.  There’s a solution to your problem and taking action will help you find it.
Yes, creating goals made your life harder.  The minute you decided to move forward in life, you put a target on your head.  You also put angels at your back and a Muse at your side. 
Will you make it?  Will you reach your goals?  There are no guarantees but this:  if you continue to work, if you don’t give up, if you keep your eyes on the prize, you will be further along in life than you ever dreamed possible.  You will do more and be more.  You will bless God, the world, your family and friends, and yourself.   You will make the world and your world a better place.
So go ahead and complain for a while. 
But then Get Started and Keep Going.  Your new life is waiting.