Taking a moment to breathe and make a decision is so … foreign today. I will take the liberty of picking on my generation a bit here, but we seem so unwilling to be slow and calculating. We are not, as a dear friend put it, deliberate anymore. We jump from thrill to thrill, leap from distraction to distraction, ignoring life and hoping we slide by unscathed.
We won’t, of course, but we certainly try.
Being aware of ourselves is such a scary thing at this point in our lives. What 20-35 year old is truly confident, truly secure? I’m not. I’m better than a year ago — probably — but I’m not where I want to be. I admit that to you all freely. The path to that security probably only comes with experience, but what if our choices make that process faster and smoother? What if we can, in fact, avoid skiing into the tree or careening off the road?
We are the product of grace and our experiences. The historical figures I so richly admire didn’t become so-called “great men” by accident or by fate. They worked extremely hard and were uniquely focused on achieving their goal. Yes, like anyone, they were at times distracted or thrown off course, but they quickly rebounded.
I know I’m not good at that. I’ve felt that sting recently enough to remember it, to feel that burn. And yet the temptation to fall off, to see something shiny in the distance and turn that direction … it is always there.
The process has to be supreme. The focus and goal has to be paramount. Obviously, picking the right goal is important (I wouldn’t recommend you devote yourself to nothing but wealth, for example), but assuming you have one, devoting yourself to it is vital.
For me, the goals are varied. You know them. And so how do I do so many different things at once? How do I graduate, excel at work, grow into a leader in my church, be a great friend, be a better brother and son and change my life physically, all at the same time? Oh, and maintain this blog?
I don’t know. I can’t tell you I have this planned out, each step along the way. I can’t tell you I have accounted for each false step and each harsh moment. But I know how to climb out of the ditch, even if it sucks.
The deliberation factors in too, because even if we do attempt things, we build in a little hedge. “I’ll try.” Sure, you will. Great. But consider what Master Yoda says (I’m not kidding — consider it):
No. Try not.
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Failure is not a dirty word and it is not unique to you. Humanity is nothing if not a big group of people who screw up. We all fail, and we all fail in unique ways. That failure isn’t the end and it isn’t a reason to be ashamed. Sometimes, we just aren’t good at things. That makes us unique.
So, then. Do. Or do not.