Timing Is Everything
You can have all the right pieces, do everything correctly, and be as prepared as you’ll ever be, and things still don’t seem to be happening. Unfortunately, you just have to be patient.
People love to attribute success to hard work, and that’s a huge part of it. Most things don’t happen by accident and are the product of effort. But so much relies on good timing, whether that’s being in the right place at any given moment, being uniquely positioned for an opportunity, or just connecting with another person at the exact right time for them, in their lives, too.
eventually your dreams come true and you arrive at all the things you were waiting for, but you might not! Your destination changes because it was never a place, and your dream comes true but it’s a different dream now. Life informs who you are and what you want, and so the Past You that dreamed a Future You couldn’t get the details right because they hadn’t materialized yet. You couldn’t goal set or plan or work toward the exact version of what you thought you wanted because you didn’t know that you’d know what you do know now. But you have to believe that eventually life will sort all of it out, and it might not be what you imagined, but it’ll be right at the time.
Being Busy Is Not a Personality
A lot of us have a lot to do. That is completely valid. We’re juggling work, which might be one job, many jobs, a “day job” and a “side hustle,” or any number of ever-changing combinations.
We’re bettering ourselves, which might be school, or courses, or studying a new trade or skill. We’re taking care of ourselves, which is everything from lighting a candle to lifting heavy things repeatedly until our arms are big. We’re helping care for loved ones, we’re maintaining our relationships, we’re raising children, we’re trying to enjoy nice things sometimes, or go on a trip.
If you’re someone who’s always busy, maybe ask yourself to dig deeper. Why are you so busy? What’s going on with you right now? Are you juggling a lot of stuff? Are you spending a lot of time cycling through periods of intense productivity and then dealing with the inevitable crash, then doing it all over again? Are you temporarily working extra hard toward a specific goal that keeps moving further away? Is a work environment intentionally draining you of your time and energy out of disrespect for you as a person? Are you distracting yourself?
Being busy is soooo over. Anyone can be busy. You know what actually is a personality? Being calm, cool, and collected. There’s nothing more aspirational to me than someone who can either make the time or knows how to politely decline as needed, so that they can let themselves enjoy the benefits of their hard-earned success.
You Are Not in Competition with Everybody Else
We know that comparing ourselves to others hurts . . . because most of us have been doing it our entire lives in one way or another!!!! Yes, creating structure is an important part of success, and one easy (and lazy) way to define goals is to track our personal progress against others. This happens in school, at home, in the workplace, and is constantly replicated throughout life.
When working on yourself, it feels natural to default to this old classic, to identify our “competition” and then work to “beat” them in grade, rank, or whatever else. But comparing ourselves to other people from a distance on everything from physical ability to job opportunities is never going to be truly useful or effective.
When looking inward, you can know the whole story. When it comes to others, there are huge gaps. There’s too much about individual journey and motivation and resources and progress that we don’t and can’t know. Even if you do have insight (such as “healthy” competition with a colleague or teammate) there’s still so much that simply doesn’t correlate directly.
Compare yourself to your best, and use that to fuel yourself forward. Push past your own limitations in the ways that you can, at the pace that you can manage. Define success for yourself, set your goals, and then keep pushing beyond them. Celebrate the achievement and move the goalpost a little bit further. Take it as far as you can go, for as long as you feel like going. Then take the win. It’s yours alone.
Failure Is Just Research Unless You Never Try Again
For many of us (me) the hardest part of trying anything is feeling like it’s going to be difficult. We are lazy. We are tired. But mostly, we are afraid we won’t be good at it, and then we will fail. We will fail and not win and be bad and everyone will know it, and we will know it, we will have quantitative proof of an attempt being made and not being good enough. Maybe it will be private but maybe it will be very, very public and everyone will see the fail in real time. Oh god, maybe it will be a big fail. An EPIC FAIL that is so LOL that it is remembered forever. Better to keep it small. Better to keep it private. Better to never try anything you’re not at least 99 percent sure of, just in case.
Failure is scary and it comes in all forms. Sometimes the mountain is bigger than a mountain. But ultimately, most can be climbed. Take your time. Wear the right shoes. Bring some water. And when you make it to the top, try to catch your breath before the big photo.
You Can Do It (Probably)
You can do it! You can do it. Whatever it is. You can accomplish a task that feels impossible to you now, because everything else you’re doing should be impossible too, but isn’t. You can get through this difficult time because you have defied the odds after a hundred thousand years of human evolution. You can reach the heights of your imagination because you’ve avoided falling rocks and cold weather and dinosaurs and the continents pulling apart and floating out across the earth. You can finish that difficult assignment because you invented fire. Not to be hyperbolic but if we can figure out how to fly three hundred people around the world while offering a selection of recently released movies for their entertainment, you can reply to that intimidating email or whatever your thing is today.
We do great and special things every single day without thinking twice about it. So what if we all just thought about it a little more? What if we considered the things we take for granted, inspected the pieces that we’ve stopped counting, and analyzed some of those parts of being alive on this planet that make us feel a little spirally sometimes? Against all odds, you are here. You do amazing things every day. Whatever the next challenge is, you can do it. Whatever it is. Probably.
Never Forget That 1 Thing
Part of being alive is getting caught up in the day-to-day bullsh*t that comes with being a person in the world. Life is really just a series of tasks and challenges and moments for all of us, and that can be absolutely beautiful sometimes, and incredibly difficult other times. There are moments that shock us into remembering our mortality, there are challenges that force us to face our deepest insecurities, and there are tasks that feel outside the realm of our possibility, asking us to stretch beyond our known resources to come up with something new. It’s not our job to compare our experience to anyone but ourselves, but even if you know objectively that your own set of current challenges pales in comparison to the previous challenges you’ve overcome, they’re still happening right now, and you still need to get through. One thing that helps drive us forward is Purpose.
There are different ways to arrive at Purpose, and ultimately, a lot of life is about identifying yours. Purpose isn’t necessarily a single thing, it’s not the same for everyone, and it’s not always permanent. Your Purpose might change. Your Purpose might be something that was instilled in or assigned to you at some point, and over the years it may fade away until you don’t know if you feel it anymore. This can happen. This is okay. This is part of the journey as the reality of life continues to transform you from who you were into who you’ll be next.