Why didn’t you write that best selling book you know is in you and tell your story?
Why didn’t your dream to be an entrepreneur and set up that social enterprise come true?
Maybe you didn’t persist.
If you feel overwhelmed by the duties and obligations of daily life, lost or unsure if you have what it takes to pursue your own big dreams of making a meaningful contribution to this world, don’t lose hope. Instead persist.
If you keep going, in the certainty that eventually you will reach your big dream, you are sure to wear down the resistance of life. What eventually comes to pass may not take the same form as you think it should, but you can never fail if you are determined and willing to put the work in to achieve your big dream.
Oprah Winfrey says:
“What I know for sure is this: The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there — as long as you’re willing to be honest with yourself about the preparation and work involved. There are no back doors, no free rides. There’s just you, this moment, and a choice.”
Wise words from Oprah. Who seems to know a thing or two about achieving big dreams.
In his book ‘Outliers’ Malcolm Gladwell talks about how people reach a level of excellence and achievement in their field have all spent at least 10,000 hours practicing their skill, be it violin playing, ice hockey or in the case of Bill Gates, computer programming. Bill Gates, had access to a computer in the 60’s, as a teenager and would stay up all night programming so that by the age of 20, he was already an expert computer programmer, and perfectly primed to see the potential of a burgeoning computer industry. 10,000 hours is approximately 15-20 hours a week over a period of 10 years. Some of the top dancers you see in reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance, have often been training since they were very young children, so that by the time they are in their late teens, and are old enough to audition for these reality shows, they are masters of their art form of dance.
I used to work as a natural health consultant. My job in the natural health store involved me serving customers that walked in the shop, who were searching for a remedy or help with some health or emotional problem and my job was to advise them on what remedies we had that could help them.
Over the 10 years that I worked in the shop, I mastered the ability to relate to people from all walks of life. Often I would just listen to people. I became very good at listening. Because we also offered flower essences for emotional healing, I would listen to customers explain their lives and emotions in great detail and ascertain what their core issues were so that I could recommend a flower remedy combination that would help them.
While I worked in the shop, I gained life experience and trained as a healer and coach all through my 20’s and early 30’s. I eventually combined my experience working with the body and emotions through being a zen shiatsu therapist and natural health consultant, with my training as a counsellor and coach, training in the latest coaching techniques, based on the findings of the most recent social science, brain research and Acceptance and Commitment therapy.
Persistence was key in my journey of becoming a healer and coach. There were many times when I didn’t know if I had what it took. There were certainly no obvious guarantees that I would reach my goal. But I had blind faith and dogged determination to put everything I had into my goals and dreams, and then some.
Someplace silent but strong within me knew that this was a goal worth putting all my eggs into one basket for and the longer I worked at it, the surer I became.
So I kept going.
Even when things did not seem to be working, or were getting more difficult.
I recently heard a very inspiring speech from an army officer, Lee Peh Gee. She was part of the first all-female team from Singapore in 2009 to summit Mount Everest. In a simple, unassuming manner, she spoke of the many interviews and rounds of elimination she had to endure before being accepted as the last member of the team. They trained intensively for 5 years, climbing higher and higher mountains before eventually successfully summitting Everest.
Peh Gee explained that there are 4 base camps on the way to the summit of Everest. As she and her team made their way to each base camp, before the end of the day, they came back down again to the camp below. So as climbers summit Everest, several times, they have to go back in order to go forward as they acclimatize to the altitude.
Often we feel like we are going backwards, when in fact we need to do so, in order to go forward, to get used to the new altitude.
Especially in times of conflict or struggle, whether it’s interpersonal or internal, sometimes we need to retreat and strengthen ourselves, before we head back up and out again. We may also need to re-assess the situation.
It is times like these that persistence is needed. The stamina and drive to keep going, even when things don’t seem to be working out and in fact, seem to going backwards. Before her successful summit of Everest with her team Peh Gee said, “I don’t dream of climbing Everest, I plan to.”
In order to achieve great things, you need to be able to persist and keep going.
Maybe not persistence to keep moving toward the same goal, but persistence to keep moving forward while you re-assess your goals and listen closer and deeper for the subtle nudges from your inner spirit, that take you in the direction that you need to do to get back on to the right course in your life.
So stay the course. Persist.
And you will find that things start to work out for you in your life.