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"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great" - A league of their own
Whenever I find myself deep in conversation with someone else about the future and my goals there's always one thing that sneaks its way in on top of the expected yoga, mindfulness and helping others. Writing. I went to school for it. I love it. I've always wanted to do something - even though I'm not quite sure what that something is - with writing.
But here's the thing. Writing is hard. If you do it right, the reading is easy. But the actual writing part? Not so much. It takes time. It takes effort. And sometimes it takes writing 100 bad sentences to get just one good one. Which doesn't fit well with life today.
We live in a world of instant gratification.
Need an immediate answer on something? Google.
Want to see what your friend is up to? Instagram.
Have to go somewhere? Uber.
Feeling like a midnight snack? UberEats.
Information is always at our fingertips. We don't even need to talk anymore and we still know what's happening in each others lives.
In some ways, this is wonderful.
In more ways, it's not.
We are programmed to expect things right away. In the world of technology and service and much of life, this is easy. We get what we want, for the most part, when we want it but what does this create?
A bunch of lazy people - myself included - that expect to be able to click a button and make things happen.
I've been reflecting on how this is impacting other areas of my life, specifically the dreams I have for the future that require a lot of work - like writing a book. There's no easy way to make that happen. But humour me for a second and let's just imagine I could click a button and a NY Times Bestseller would appear with my name on it. Now back to reality. The people on the NY Times Bestseller list have had to work hard and work consistently to get to where they are today - but when we see their book at Indigo we see the instant success, not the hours, days, weeks and years that went into getting them there.
When you're trying to create something from nothing, it's easy to look around and compare yourself to everyone else. You see what everyone else is doing and think they have so many followers! She sold out her retreat! His writing is amazing! Her inversions are so solid!
We see the result. What we don't see are the hours, days, weeks, months and maybe even years of consistency, determination and hard work that went into getting them there. The question I think we all need to ask ourselves when it comes to our dreams is:
Do I even want to work hard for this?
Do I like the work or do I just want the reward?
You can't only be in love with the end result. You have to find some gratification in the steps it's going to take to get there because those make up a lot more of the journey than the moment you arrive at the result.
We'll use my marathon running as an example. I've never run a marathon. I've never even run a half-marathon. I trained for one when I was in my early twenties and once I got to about 16-17km in my training, my knees gave out. For years after that, I wrote 'In 2013 (etc. etc.) I will run a half-marathon' and year after year it wouldn't happen. Why? Because I don't actually like running! The race day is the end result, the training is the process. Maybe one day I'll fall in love with running but for now, I've accepted that it's not my thing. And that's okay because I've got plenty of other things to focus on!
Like writing. I love (& hate at times) the process of writing, even if what I write doesn't get out to anyone. A few pages in my journal leaves me feeling inspired and I get joy out of the fact that I'm creating something. It's not about just the end result, the book. I love the day-to-day of creating. To me, the process and the work is worth it 100%.
It's that time of year. We're reflecting on what happened in 2017. We're gearing up for a New Year and possibly coming up with goals and the steps we need to take to get there. Instead of just thinking about what you want this year, I want you to ask yourself a simple question.
Is the work worth it?
The hours moving to shed the weight. The days rehearsing to get the gig. The years writing to finally finish that book. The daily practice required to eventually hold a handstand.
For all of these things, the answer better be yes. For the amount of time you have to work to get to where you want to be, you better be okay with the process (because you're not always going to love it) and not just reaching for the result.