On Surviving the Mean Time

You know how it goes: You make plans for how you think things are going to go, you get really excited because you actually think it’s going to go that way, you start working on making it go that way, then you get discouraged when it does not go that way. I’m pretty sure I just described some aspect of your life. Maybe it’s your relationship, finances, career, family or some other personal issue, but you have to be able to relate at least a teeny weeny bit. I know this is part of your reality because there seems to be a built-in human tendency to lose our motivation quickly. What’s up with that? It’s like we have all the energy, passion and drive in the world until things get rough. Then, all of a sudden, we’re giving up left and right. How uncool.

Anything worth having is worth working for. You’ve heard that before and have probably said it to someone else in a pep talk or two, but have you really taken it to heart? Have you said it to yourself? There are so many things we fail at only because we stopped putting forth effort just at the time it was needed most. That’s ugly failure and it’s unacceptable. Well, it should be unacceptable, and maybe it is in a perfect world, but in our world, we’ve accepted it. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe the pitiful excuses that chop our legs right out from beneath us.

“I tried to lose this weight, but I’m just so busy.”

“I tried to open that business, but no one would invest.”

“I tried to save that money, but I have too many expenses.”

What excuses have you made? I’ll let you fill in the blank this time. I tried to_________, but________. Now that we’ve gotten our excuses out there, let’s look at them. Did you really try that hard, or did you just give up because it was hard? I know my answer. I bet you could guess. I’ve wasted so many opportunities to succeed at various things because I allowed myself to create and believe excuses. Shame on me. Shame, I say.

It would be a different case if I had failed honorably. Honorable failure–the kind where you genuinely give it everything you have, but God still steers you in another direction–is cool. It’s the new black. It’s cooler than skinny jeans. Why? Because of the priceless lessons you get out of it. When you fail at something honorably, you get to see how strong you are, how much wherewithal you have, and what not to do next time. These are all precious gems that ugly failure does not offer. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that the former let their failures inspire them while the latter let their failures stop them. We must all abandon the latter group.

While success is always the long-term goal, the immediate goal should be… (drum roll, please)… consistency. This is the stuff your dreams are made off. Consistency isn’t glamorous or cute. In fact, it’s pretty low key. It’s nothing more than a stubborn dedication to keep going, period. Regardless of how hard it gets, regardless of how unmotivated you may be feeling in the moment, regardless of everything that threatens your willingness to continue, consistency makes you keep going. It doesn’t worry if you don’t see the results immediately. It doesn’t worry if it’s taking longer than you anticipated. It just keeps stepping, knowing that, no matter how small the steps may be, they’re still moving you closer to the grand prize you seek.

~Nadirah Angail

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