In this issue ~~
Sometimes, life is just hard. We have goals and dreams, and we're taking steps toward them, but we keep hitting obstacles. It seems to be taking forever to make any progress. Very often, the question comes up: How long should I keep doing this? Is it a sign that I should quit and do something else?
When you're passionate about something, it can be extremely frustrating to keep hitting roadblocks. Shouldn't your passion and commitment bring you success? What's a reasonable amount of time to keep going? What do you do when your passion is overshadowed by discouragement?
When you're working hard at something and it doesn't seem to be happening, you can certainly evaluate what's going on:
Sometimes you're doing everything right, but it's just not happening. What that may be is "divine timing." As much as you might want something to happen NOW, that greater intelligence may have a better idea of the optimal time for your hard work to come to fruition. When that's the case, the best thing you can do is keep going and learn to endure, to stick it out as long as it feels right to do so.
I can hear you groaning as I say the word "endure," but it's not such a bad thing. Athletes train to build endurance. When we build inner endurance, we build the strength of our character and learn to go the distance with our dreams and goals. Very often, the things we want most are also the path to our greatest growth. The lessons we learn along the way are invaluable and often strengthen us for bigger, more exciting challenges in the future.
How do you know when to keep going and when to quit? It's an inside job. You have to get quiet and tune into your inner voice. What is it telling you? When I was an actress, I hit many bumps along the road and had my fair share of discouragement. Periodically, I would check in and ask myself, Do you still want to do this? The answer kept coming up, "Yes." Until one day it didn't. That's the day I decided to quit. But at that point, I had been doing it for 25 years and felt that I had squeezed out of it everything I could.
It's hard walking into the unknown – investing your time, energy and money, not knowing what the outcome will be. We live in a very results-oriented, "are-we-there-yet" culture, and if we don't reach our goals, we feel we're failing. But, at the risk of repeating a cliché, the journey matters as much as, if not more than, the destination.
If you feel you're on the right track, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. From time to time, remind yourself why you're doing this, and renew your joy and passion. Avoid the temptation to work yourself into exhaustion, thinking that you're just not working hard enough.
Do your best work, give it time, and when the rewards finally do come, they'll be that much sweeter.
Where in your life are you feeling discouraged? Are you making your best effort there? If so, what can you do to renew your enthusiasm? If not, what can you do to bring new energy there?
“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends. Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots.”
“Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck – but, most of all, endurance.”
“We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are.”
"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."
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