If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry
and cheap for it
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you’ll sweat for it,
Fret for it, Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it! – Berton Braley
We start off by being invincible. We are insatiable as children. We are brave, we want to build great, big things. We look up at the stars and we want to reach them.
But, in time, we figure out for ourselves that some things are just not possible.
We turn our gaze away from the stars and all we can see are wall. Lots and lots of walls. Failures upon failures. Mistakes, bad habits, a bit of misfortune here and there.
Things that keep us awake at night. Regrets or loneliness or both.
And we build ourselves a box.
“This is who I am,” we say to the world. This box contains all that I am, all that I’ll ever be. All that I can, all that I can do.
That’s the moment most people die.
It could be when they’re twenty or forty or sixty, it doesn’t matter.
The moment you’ve built your box and decided that that’s all you’ll ever be, that’s when you’re dead.
But make no mistake. You’ll keep on dying, day in and day out, in more insidious ways, until you’ll find that suffering has its own appeal.
You’ll die so many times that you’ll be so lukewarm when the final moments come that you won’t care anymore.
You’ll be a box full of regrets and pain and bad memories that you couldn’t let go mixed in with some good ones that should have lasted forever.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is no box. There are no limits, no fatal defeats, no definitive victory. There is no road to success, no how-to book on being happy, and there isn’t any kind of certainty.
Life is about discovering. It’s about creating.
You built that damn box yourself. You told yourself that you’re stupid or shy or just not talented enough.
You told yourself that story, over and over again, and built your box.
And it takes a hell lot of will power to change this. It’s going to be painful.
Growth is painful.
Deciding that you can expand on what it is you think you are forever is harder than just deciding that that’s it.
People reach a certain point in their lives when they decide that they’ve suffered enough. And they don’t want to suffer anymore. So they play it safe. They give up on the dreams that seem too big to ever come true, they diminish themselves.
And thus they keep on suffering.
Keep suffering…until you decide that you’ve suffered enough that no one else has to suffer again. If you can do something about it, you will.
That’s how you decide what your life is going to be about. That’s how you stop trying to break walls and realize that you are being guided towards something.
The ideal you.
The one that is capable enough of leaving a mark on this world.
The one who is wise and gentle and open to new learning. The one who never stops learning.
In life, in love, in work, it is important to either change what you don’t like or learn to accept it.
It’s equally important to know when to do so, unless you want to die knowing full well that you didn’t decide your life. You just settled for it.