You’re standing on the 1st place podium. Scanning the crowd, you pick out some familiar faces that helped you along the way, smile, giving a knowing nod, and taking a deliberate breath to compose yourself, you return back to the swarm of cameras and outstretched microphones. The camera spotlights and sporadic camera flashes make it hard to make out the source of a question barely discernible amidst the roar of applause.
“What was it like to get to where you are now?”
You pause and lean in…the silence spreads as the anticipation builds for your reply…
“What was it like to get here? Well….I complained every step of the way. I was discontent, doubtful, and never really appreciated any incremental progress made as I broke through each barrier. If anything, this is the first time I’ve really enjoyed my journey in any capacity: at the very end. And in the most fleeting moment of intense euphoria brought on by victory, I have to say, it was worth every day I hated myself and moped about, looking for any validation as I complained to those around me. Thank you. No more questions.”
We tend to put too much emphasis on the goal and not the journey itself. We’re wired to pursue pleasure, but often reconfigure ourselves to hate any shred of it that comes along with progress and periods of rest or delayed growth. How do you want to enter the winner’s circle? Defeated and weary? Starving for satisfaction? Or ready for an added joy that will make the chalice of contentedness run over? I choose the latter. We want an attitude of success that is scalable. What do I mean by that? No matter how successful you are, a consistent mentality of hope and satisfaction that can relate to the successful on any level and in any measure of success is key to preparing yourself for the next foothold. This means the winner’s heart and mind you have now is the same that you will bear and hold when you’re standing at the finish line. It’s one less item of preparation you’ll have to deal with after your dreams come to fruition.
Today’s society has elevated discontent to an art form. If we’re fit, we complain about not being more fit. If we’re losing weight, we complain about not being as thin as we once were. Ironically, that was when we complained the most!
Don’t confuse apathy for comfort. …Being thankful for where you are in life is an integral part of training your mind to enjoy and reap the benefits of the success to come at a later time.
We want that promotion or initial job offer. So we obsess, and wonder, and worry, and neglect to fully love where we are at the present time. Don’t get me wrong; avoiding becoming too comfortable has its value. Sometimes being discontent and hating where you are can be just the motivation certain people need to become more. But we’re not talking about that. We’re looking at the people who use those exceptions as an excuse to continue the self-loathing, and continue thirsting but never drinking in the pleasure of the now.
You’re at a fork in the road. Presently, you aim to look into the masses and explain to inquiring minds how you always hoped, always persevered, and never doubted. All of this is possible without becoming complacent. Don’t confuse apathy for comfort. We can find time to smell the roses and plant a bigger oak tree. Being thankful for where you are in life is an integral part of training your mind to enjoy and reap the benefits of any success to come at a later time.
Here’s another example: The single person who is always complaining about being single. It’s all they think about. They take jabs at themselves. They post pictures and sayings on social media that provoke a sense of longing and yearning for “something that will last…”. It helps, sure. But does it promote a life of other edifying interests and pursuits? My bet is that when this person finds their spouse (as many do), said spouse will be more enamored with the more active and positive qualities they possessed. They’ll look towards and admire the lack of self-pity or hopelessness rather than how many nights were spent listening to the saddest song that could be found. I always encourage my friends to be the person they want to be when they find someone to share life with. It’s more attractive to the opposite sex. And it keeps them from missing out on opportunities that add to the list of attributes and hobbies making them the kind of person no one else can be.
It’s the same concept for any other facet of life. You’re courting success in the present, not in the future. “Down the road” often intersects with another path you couldn’t have predicted would lead to the place where you are now. Instead of bogging our minds down with the allure of distant goals unrealized, prosper and thrive in the present fruits of your efforts. The path of the powerful and exceptional is riddled with players who end up hating the game. Those who learn to do more than exist and desire are the ones who get the most out of life. Go get the most out of yours.