Ah, your twenties. A decade of marvelous growth, decadent spending, and quite a few heartbreaks. Just like the 1920s.
That’s when you figure out a lot about life. What your teachers didn’t want to tell you, didn’t like to tell you, or didn’t know enough about to tell you.
That’s when you’ll probably fall in and out of love with life, with your soulmate, with your passion. That’s when you will get your heart broken, and when you should fail at something you were passionate about.
“Every struggle is like mud — there are always some lotus seeds waiting to sprout.” ― Amit Ray
I am writing these words to you, who are struggling. I am writing these words to let you know that this is the moment when you want your dream to come true, but it doesn’t.
You gave it your best shot, but it didn’t happen.
And this dream of yours, it could be anything. Writing a book, starting a business, landing a new job, losing a few extra pounds, or finding your soulmate.
It’s what you want to be doing, what you know you should be doing, but you’re struggling. You want to throw in the towel.
Because it’s not working out. It’s all setbacks and restlessness and this pitch darkness when you think about the future. It’s no visible progress. It’s fear and anger and bitterness and envy, all mixed up together, all demons afraid of each other.
Maybe that’s not your thing, after all? Or are you paying your dues?
Are you wasting your time or are you on the way to success?
There’s a Japanese word that has become synonymous with continuous improvement.
It’s a term used to define small, daily improvements. The 1% daily improvement. The compounding effect of such improvements.
It’s a wonderful dream to aspire towards daily improvements. Most of your days should and can be about small, constant, improvement.
There are days when that’s just not possible.
Maybe it’s because of failure or setback, but I find it’s rarely the case. Mostly, it’s because of lack of success.
The daily failure.
Maybe your online store isn’t selling enough products, maybe your content isn’t consumed or appreciated.
It’s not the spectacular failure or rejection that breaks most people, but rather a constant lack of success, of something worthy of celebration.
During those days, the best thing you can do is to simply go through the motions. Yeah, I know you don’t feel like it. And I know you’re sure that nothing good will come of it, but the trick is to do whatever it takes to keep going.
That’s all it takes. If you don’t give up, that’s the kind of success you can be proud of, because that’s exactly when most people quit.
When you feel like throwing in the towel, imagine that almost everyone else but those you admire most quit.
Now, do you want to be like everyone else or do you want to be like those you admire?
Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, British Ambassador to China in 1936 and 1937, mentioned in his memoir that, before he left England for China in 1936, a friend told him of an old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”
There’s not much evidence this expression was ever used as a curse in China, but it’s become rather popular in recent years.
While at first glance a blessing, not a curse, there’s more to this saying than meets the eye.
“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” — Ambrose Redmon
I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote.
But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in — I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.
There’s this poem by a Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu. It’s called To My Critics, and the last verses go like this:
It is easy to write verses Out of nothing but the word.