Challenges

“This is too hard”
“I’m just not good at this”
“There are way more talented people doing this already”
“I give up”

Life isn’t easy. Life, in all of its chaotic splendor, is just as likely to hinder you as to help you. Life itself is a challenge, issued forth from the deepest portions of the cosmos. Living is a challenge, meaningful work is a challenge– hell, breathing is hard sometimes.

A full life worth living is not without its challenges and difficulties, nor is it chock-full of fluffy bunnies and unicorns (much to the chagrin of self-help “gurus”). A full life will so utterly destroy you and remake you that in a few short years, you might not even recognize yourself in the mirror. Life is full of choices and difficulties to overcome, and in the end it doesn’t matter if you worked for world peace or climbed Everest or discovered the cure for cancer. What really matters is the story you tell with deeds and words, what imprint or mark you leave in the souls of those closest to you.

Letting your story end in silence, disgrace, or an early death won’t help anyone, nor will it inspire. And yes, life does get that fucked sometimes. Sometimes life beats you bloody-and-raw… But the best (and admittedly only worthwhile) thing to do is to get back up and get back to it.

So get up. Get. Up.. Put ’em up, and get back to the work that you can’t not do. Because anything less just won’t cut it.

Progress As A Contagion

mountain_top_view

When we focus on leading a passionate, meaningful life, we are also inadvertently creating a spectacular ripple effect of inspiration in the lives around us.  When one person follows a dream, tries something new, or takes a daring leap, everyone nearby feels their passionate energy; and before too long, they are making their own daring leaps while simultaneously inspiring others. — Anonymous, uncredited

In the last week or two, I’ve spent a fairly sizable amount of time learning and re-learning a lot of the behaviors and changes that I had previously been trying to embody and integrate into my life.  After leaving my previous job and starting not one but two new jobs (one part-time and one full-time), Id come to realize that the things that I had been holding as goals and beliefs were basically one big mirage.  An unintended consequence of this scenario was the top-to-bottom re-evaluation of all of the goals and beliefs that I had accumulated over the last few years, and the re-alignment of my personal purpose and energies behind the advancement toward the desired condition of being financially-secure, emotionally-stable, and completely free from any long-term entanglements that do not serve to improve my life or the lives of others.

In the pursuit of these goals, questions surrounding the validity and soundness of my actions caused me to pause and reconsider the full ramifications of the life-decisions I was on the verge of making.  Many people that I had been friends and lovers with for quite a while questioned my motivations and what the end-goal was designed to be, and when I explained it to them some of them understood and a number of others didn’t.  Some tried to dissuade me, and I found (sometimes to the dismay of both parties) that we were wildly-incompatible or conflicted in our personal goals and morals, which made it difficult to maintain friendships.  Some came, some went, others stayed by my side and others still provided me with the strength to grow inside and to never compromise.

Part of the “secret” of this kind of growth and why it becomes contagious among like-minded individuals is being confident while remaining simultaneously attached and un-attached to the outcome as well as the minute actions that add-up or lead to the outcome itself.  It qualifies as a kind of stoicism that enables an individual to hit both goals without sacrificing any of the momentum, and grants the additional bonus of allowing the individual to perceive things as they occur rather than having the veneer of their personal experiences over it.  When other people see these changes, they become drawn to it through sheer curiosity and begon to make their own questions.  Thus, the “contagion” spreads.

I’ve noticed lately that many more people within my own sphere of influence and interaction are exploring these options and opportunities with greater frequency and are finding that they are also capable of great change and movement toward the goals that they had previously abandoned due in large part to the constraints that had been placed upon them from the earliest stages of their lives.  A great number of people that I interact with on a daily basis tell me that if they hadn’t have encountered such constraints so early on in their lives, their respective arcs in life would have looked very, very different from where they are now.  This “jives” with my experience, however it doesn’t excuse inaction on any level in the current moment.  Not when there are so many other “moments” and chances to start fresh ahead of everyone.

Change is a contagion and with every new moment it has the opportunity to change you and for you to change it along with everything else.  The choice is yours as to whether or not you do anything with those opportunities.