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500+ for 50 – day 41: find a way

There are going to be days when life will push you to what feels like your breaking point.  Some mornings you will struggle to pry your eyes open and get moving.  It could be the aches remaining from the day before that have you harnessed.  Or perhaps what has you off to a sluggish start is simply your anxious anticipation of the obstacles lying ahead of you.  Regardless of the primary influence causing us pain, some days just will not begin as we would like.  There are mornings when the sun will seem to rise only to awaken us to begin tackling the pile of adversity that’s been forming as we’ve rested.  And that can be difficult to handle.  We really have two choices.  We can turn off the alarm and pull the covers over our heads, choosing to save our troubles for another day, or we can remain committed to winning the next twenty-four hours and get up and begin taking action.

I’m not here to address option number one, because I’m not a proponent of hiding from life’s responsibilities.  I believe that God will never give us more than we can handle.  And I don’t expect for life to always put the wind at my back.  That’s just not realistic.  Some days we’re going to need to swim upstream to fulfill our commitments.  The destination does not change simply because we encounter less than favorable circumstances.  If we are committed to success then we must understand that certain days we may need to work a bit harder than others to keep ourselves on course.  Sometimes to win the fight we must simply be willing to commit to outlasting our opponent…it’s not nearly as complicated as we often make it.

Your actions taken on the days when you are tested will be what will define you moving forward.  Greatness is not as much about the final realization of your goal as it is about the process that you must commit to in order to get there.  It’s about remaining dedicated to doing everything that it takes on a daily basis to follow through with your vision, no matter what life throws at you.  That means ignoring pain, it means making time when your schedule is overbooked, and it means derailing every ounce of negativity seeking to lead you off track so that you can create positive outcomes for yourself each and every day.  Your grit, determination, and willingness to sacrifice comfort for growth will be the characteristics that will lead you to unprecedented new heights in life.

It’s easy to find excuses to tone back your commitment when the world knocks you over with adversity.  We’ve all had that internal conversation when we’ve bargained for a day off with our mind.  It can be very difficult not to listen.  Our past conditioning can be quite persuasive.  And sometimes it does truly present a seemingly justifiable case for its position.  But we cannot allow ourselves to get lost in the chatter of hesitancy and doubt.  We must simply take action.  These are the days when we will begin to separate ourselves from the masses.  These are the moments when we will have the opportunity to set a new, firm precedent for our future…one that states that we will not quit until the job gets done, no matter the circumstances.  These are the times when our true greatness will be revealed to the world.

So when your system sounds an alarm at the presence of pain, fear, doubts, and other distractions seeking to toss your day into chaos, respond with a resilient determination to keep heading in the direction of your dreams anyway.  Let the signals of distress be nothing more than a reminder of the opportunity that lies before you to showcase your true greatness.  And take pride in standing tall and fighting the battle when lesser individuals would have instead chosen to retreat back to comfort.  Champions remain focused and excel in all circumstances, not simply those that occur when the wind is at their backs.

May God Bless!

500+ for 50 – day 40: twenty-four hours at a time

Forty days ago I began my quest to contribute five hundred or more meaningful words to my blog each and every day for fifty consecutive days.  So after tonight, I will have completed eighty percent of my goal.  And I have to say that it feels pretty good to have reached such a milestone.  The fulfillment of my commitment is now most certainly within reach.  I can see the finish line off in the distance.  The ten days that follow will pass with ease.  And when it’s all said and done, I’m sure that I’ll feel sad to part ways with this journey.  But ultimately I know that I can keep on heading in whatever direction that I choose, and that’s very exciting.  The future is brighter for me than it’s ever been.

I’ve been approached by a number of people who have been unable to comprehend just how it is that I’ve been able to balance all of my other priorities and still find time to commit to this venture.  To be honest, it hasn’t always been easy.  I’ve had to take on quite a bit outside of my writing throughout the course of the last forty days.  My girlfriend and I just recently completed a move into a new condo in Chapel Hill.  And we’ve had our fair share of visitors this summer…my parents were in town for a weekend at the onset of this project, and my girlfriend’s parents were also here for five days just a couple of weeks later.  This weekend will be no different…my best friend and his fiancé will be spending the first UNC football weekend with us in our new place.  And I couldn’t be more excited for their arrival.  My writing will get done.  I will not break my commitment.  And if it means early mornings or late nights, then so be it.  I will see this through to its completion.

I believe that most people can relate to the busyness of life that has been so characteristic of my last forty days.  It’s our demanding and unpredictable schedules that make committing to ventures like these so intimidating.  Many people will tell you that they’d love to have the time to follow through with something meaningful on a regular basis, but that with their current schedule it’s simply not possible.  The reality is if you’re waiting until the day that you have enough time available to get started you might as well get comfortable, because you’re going to be waiting for a long, long time.  Life is not able to offer you more than your allotment of twenty four hours each day.  So you’re going to need to make time.  And that will require prioritizing.  It will mean cutting out the things that are wasteful.  If you wish to create opportunities to develop your talents and skills on a regular basis, you will need to be disciplined in your efforts, skillful in time management, and relentlessly committed to your pursuits.

Too often in life rather than taking action we instead sit idle contemplating the difficulty of the tasks that lie ahead of us.  And in doing so, we totally disarm our efforts.  We allow our doubts and anxieties about the process to discourage us, and rather than give ourselves the opportunity to fail, we quit before we even get started.  That’s why it’s critical that we restructure the way that we envision the demanding journey lying ahead.  If we focus on the monumental task that it will be to, for instance write five hundred or more words for fifty consecutive days, we’ll be sure to feel overwhelmed.  Instead we need to break it down into parts.  In my particular case, that involves visualizing how it is that I will find the time and inspiration to write today’s blog…not tomorrow’s or any day after’s.

Several years ago I remember hearing Chip Kelly, now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and at that time the head coach of the Oregon Ducks make a statement about the motivational mantra he used with his team throughout a very successful season to keep them focused and on track with their lofty pursuits.  The words that he used were “win today”…simple but profound.  As a goal seeker with significant aspirations for my future, I found Coach Kelly’s slogan to be a very powerful visualization strategy and I sought to immediately put it into practice in my own life.  So I began making every effort to win the day with my sights locked in on the ultimate sense of achievement that I would feel when I was able to finally reach my desired milestones.  And slowly but surely, I developed a grit and tenacity within me that was unbreakable.  I grew to understand that I could routinely win the twenty four hours in front of me if I simply summoned the will to dig deep and make it happen.  Day by day, by getting the best of every twenty four hours given to me, I knew that would undoubtedly inch my way to my final destination.

Success is about commitment.  If you remain committed to the realization of your dreams, you will reach them in time.  But you can’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by an apprehensive view of the arduous journey ahead.  You must simply take it one day at a time with resolute determination to win the battles before you and then allow yourself to rest well in preparation for the inevitable challenges to be presented tomorrow.  Don’t overthink things.  Just keep moving and remain committed to taking action no matter how challenging life may be for you tomorrow.  It’s your duty to win the day, no matter what it offers you.  If you stay committed to that principle, before you know it, you will have trained your mind and body to find victory in any circumstance.  And the tasks that originally seemed so daunting will become effortless for you to complete with regularity. 

Eighty percent sure feels like a wonderful milestone on this present journey of mine.  By I know in my heart that day forty is just another day.  So tomorrow I will go out and win day forty-one, because I understand that that’s what it is going to take to be successful.  And I know that when this journey ends, I’ll still be ready to push it again on day fifty-one.  Because all that I have are the twenty four hours that lie before me.  And I hope to make the most of them every day until the moment of my last breath.  I hope that you will choose the same for your life.

May God Bless!