“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
“Flowers grow out of dark moments.”
800. It’s just a random number, that’s all. But it also represents something. In this case, it represents the 800th blog in this series. But it also represents something more. It represents an ability, heretofore not manifested, of sticking with something in and out season, in good times and bad. It represents the triumph not only over circumstances and pain, but over myself. Yes, there were some gaps, and yes, it took a while before I really pushed forward (between 100-150), but I have stayed with this. I haven’t given up, not when it was hard, not when life was busy or frustrating or even going well. I’ve stuck with this.
Here’s the thing: I’m not exceptional. Perhaps it can be argued that in writing 800 blogs in just over two years I’ve done something exceptional ( perhaps unusual), but I really haven’t done something anyone else couldn’t do. Maybe not everyone can do this amount of writing, but more people than we realize can. And it doesn’t have to be writing. I have a friend who has been taking care of her aged parents for almost ten years. I know someone else who can work with autistic children. I know a guy who runs a successful chain of comic book stores and was able to expand during the worst part of the recent recession.
These people are not celebrities or wealthy, nor do they possess any noticeable advantage over anyone else. They just keep doing what they need to do.
The phrase, “Anyone can do it” can be misleading. Not everyone can do what I do and I can’t do what the people listed above have done. But anyone can do the thing he or she really wants to do.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of American history. I’ve learned that embedded deeply in the American psyche is the belief that none of us is better than anyone else. Some may have more money, more advantages, or more talents; but each of us is inherently worthy of respect. America does not have an aristocracy. There are no kings and queens. In Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville states, “Among the novel objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of condition among the people.”
By “condition” he did not mean economic status or occupation. Editor Alan Ryan explains, “(I)t was equality of status, a total absence of unearned or inherited deference, a complete unwillingness to acknowledge oneself any man’s social inferior.”
In other words, no one is better than anyone else.
Why then do some people seem to achieve their goals and many don’t? Any reason I would offer would only be guesses and judgments. All I can offer is my what I’ve done. I’ve followed two maxims:
Daily reminders have helped. Writing down my goals has helped. Encouragement from others has really helped. But it always comes down to those two principles. It’s been that easy and that hard.
So I look forward to many more blogs. My goal for this calendar year is to reach at least 1,000 blogs. In addition, I still have other goals, a house near the beach, financial goals, educational goals, career goals, personal goals, and spiritual goals. This number, 800, is just a number. I have a long way to go and I can’t wait to Get Started and Keep Going.