In my humble opinion one of man kind’s greatest flaws is our constant acceptance to settle for the mundane, or for far less than we are truly capable of achieving. Sometimes our greatest failings are our own shortsightedness and inability to break free of the shackles that we cast upon ourselves through fear, uncertainty, and downright laziness. Right across the world right now men, women, and children of all races are pondering over their own dreams and ambitions, wondering why they always seem to fall agonisingly short of their ultimate objectives. Their stories will always be inherently different; the composition of their life experiences and their basic genetic makeup will always be uniquely their own, but their fundamental goals and ambitions as members of the human race will always revolve around one basic function. They want success. Mankind as a species yearns to succeed.
Now success comes in many shapes and forms. To a mother success means watching her children grow into respectable members of society; for a business mogul success is accumulating a sizable portfolio of companies and collateral. And for someone like me, success is the elated feeling of having anyone read my work and deem it worthy. I experience success every single time I update this blog. I feel an incredible sense of elation each time my Iphone pings with an email to say that I have amassed another follower, or that someone likes a singular post. To me success is measured in the knowledge of knowing that my creative workings are ever so slowly weeding their way into the worlds of blogging and publishing through one reader’s mind at a time.
But sadly for all my minor successes, I must say that I am becoming increasingly complacent with my craft. Each time I accomplish a small achievement on my path towards becoming a published author I feel a breathtaking rush of adrenaline and a renewed sense of focus towards my craft. But once that wanes it can be incredibly difficult to return to the mundane act of waking at 5:30am to write in the pre-dawn light of my lounge room once more. In my current workplace I would refer to this as the Yo-yo effect; when mankind notices a positive emotional or physiological change within them they are at their most vulnerable point in their journey towards success. The Yo-yo effect is what happens when complacency kicks in and you take your foot off the gas pedal, and all your hard work and dedication unravels, leaving you right back where you started.
So why does this happen to us? Why do we aim so high, only to shrug our shoulders and throw in the towel not because we are unable or undeserving of the right to achieve, but because we are unwilling to strive onward to what we are truly capable of? Why is it that the vast majority of us will never achieve what our heart desires purely because we refuse to cast aside the metaphorical shackles we bind ourselves with? The truth is that many of us do so because of fear. We fear that we are undeserving of our dreams, and we fear that once we achieve everything our heart desires there will be nothing left for us to pine for. But rather than acknowledge this we hide behind the idea that it is simply too hard for us to succeed.
Shit, I’ve said it to myself so many times over my life that one could almost be forgiven for believing the world is a terribly abrasive and bitter place. It’s too hard, or I don’t have the time, or any variation of that utter bullshit is exactly the kind of tripe that I’ve said whenever I felt like giving up. However I’m now coming to the realisation that these answers were nothing but smokescreens to hide the fact that I was giving up simply because I told myself that I didn’t have the will power to succeed.
Thanks to a never ending torrent of talent contests and instant fame programs assembled by the mass media, one can be forgiven for viewing themselves unworthy of success if we don’t stumble upon it immediately. There were times when writers, athletes, singers, actors, and whoever else were forced to toil away endlessly at their craft until it was perfected before they even had a shot a finding fame. Now however, in a society where everything has an expiry date of five minutes we expect immediate success and notoriety in everything that we do. We view ourselves unworthy or simply not good enough if we’re not the one per cent of people who blindly stumble into success or strike it rich.
So where has this whole rant stemmed from? Recently I awoke early to write, only to find myself seriously contemplating returning to the warmth of my bed over the laborious task of creating something with a mind recently shocked out of sleep. It would have been so easy to give up, to hit the snooze button on my alarm and try again the next day. But I forced myself to get up; I forced myself to sit in front of the computer and at least try to produce something. It didn’t go well. I wrote about two hundred words before I started sifting through the internet, searching for nothing in particular as a way to kill time and procrastinate rather than remain focused. But thankfully I stumbled across an article entitled Famous Failures and suddenly I began to understand the difference between the vast majority of us who fail and those who transcend above the odds and ultimately succeed.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for ‘lacking imagination.’ Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a news anchor after being labelled ‘not fit for television.’ And Albert Einstein’s teachers are famously quoted as saying that the boy ‘would never amount to much.’ Yet every single one of these famous failures managed to rise above the doubt surrounding their abilities and become the very best in their respective fields. Their achievements aren’t the result of luck, but rather the result of hard work and a steeled determination that saw them push themselves beyond what was thought to be possible and overcome the adversity standing in the way of their success.
Every single one of us faces adversity, but the names above have proven that adversity is nothing more than a hurdle on our own individual races towards greatness. The only real limitation that we ever truly face is the limitations of our minds eye; the limitations that we place upon ourselves. The negative energy we project upon ourselves or the complacency we feel when we begin to scratch the surface of our own greatness really is the only thing standing between us and achieving more than we could ever imagine.
So with that being said, it’s time to cast aside the momentary complacency plaguing my mind and begin to immerse myself more fully in my writing once again. The minor successes that I have experienced up to this point in my professional development are accomplishments to be celebrated, but they are also just the beginning of a very long list of achievements and goals that still lie before me. To use the one of the world’s most quoted clichés; Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m not going to become an overnight success with my writing and I’m ok with that. When I do succeed all the toiling, and the early mornings and late nights spent slaving over an illuminated screen and a notepad will be worth the wait.