Words Of Encouragement
The tide of the sea has heaved and bore you to this difficult place. Yet the person who stands before me is fully formed. You love life — in moments — and in those flashes I see a brilliant light.
What I really want to say can be arrived at in just a few words: your abilities are no less than anyone else’s. I know this sounds impossible to you, but it is true. And all those people who appear to glide through life, like ice-skaters with years of practice, have no more ability than you do.
Perhaps you will believe me if I say that all successes are hard-won, and that nobody arrives at them without immense effort and a raft of false starts. What I am trying to say is that nobody has ever found achievement easy.
You may wonder where such people get their perseverance from; I wonder that sometimes too. But with a little thought it is possible to see what perseverance really is: it is a belief in a positive outcome in the end. Before that end-point, all of the great success stories run on the fuel of optimism. Hard work is easier when you believe it will amount to something.
For you, I know, to see things in this light is difficult. Your optimism is suppressed because you expect never to arrive. You must believe me: your hard work will bear fruit in the end.
Very few people are naturally extraordinary. In fact, I wonder if ‘naturally extraordinary’ has any meaning at all. The high-achievers are no different from everyone else, except perhaps that they have discovered how to get the best from themselves. And this is no great secret. It is simply a matter of finding which doors open for you.
To do that — to learn which doors open for you — you have to let go of your high ideals about human perfection. I suspect you have a habit of putting others on a pedestal so that you stand several feet beneath them. It makes you feel safe, but only for a moment, because the security that comes with elevating others quickly gives way to resentment. You don’t mean to, but you wonder why they have all the strengths and you only possess the flaws.
Yet these perfect individuals are far from that: they are simply people who, by virtue of their good chance in understanding the difference between what hinders them and what helps them, have learnt to occupy their best groove. They learn that not every door opens, whereas others open more easily. They simply do what is best for them and what they enjoy the most, and in this manner, they are independent thinkers in the best possible way. I know that you are an independent thinker too.
But I have spoken too much about other people. It is a drawback of our times how easily we can compare ourselves to others. We should stop doing that, shouldn’t we? The terrible fallacy is that we are not even comparing like for like. Nobody else has your view on the world, nobody else quite knows what you know.
I too worry about where I am in life, and where others of my age have already reached. Yet I am slowly training myself to bury this habit, because not only does it discharge a lethargic gloom through me, it is also hugely mistaken. For how could someone else’s life really be a measure for mine? What if my destiny has its own particular shape? If so, where else should I look for a measure but to myself, to my own feelings, education, place in the world, and forward momentum?
I like to think of it like this: Just as a butterfly in Brazil will drink a different nectar to a butterfly in Switzerland, so your own pleasures and satisfactions will come from flowers distinct to your life.
To think in this way is not always easy, and besides which, the lives of others can be an inspiration and an awakening too. To get the best from yourself should not mean closing yourself off. I only want to say that your abilities are personal and will bring you success by virtue if their uniqueness. It will take hard word too, but then all things of value have taken hard work to achieve.
Fear is a word we think about too often. It is a negative habit to return to the question over and over again. Let’s accept fear for what it can be used for best: to galvanise your diligence. With diligence comes excellence, and that is a very fine pathway to take.
Finally, I ask of you this: develop a new habit of trusting in yourself. Trust in your efforts, trust in your optimism, and trust in the outcomes that will eventually arrive.