“Once you get a momentum going, someone is guaranteed to stop you.”
Every morning I wake up and see what people are saying over on the LIFEWRITING page. Inevitably, there is something worthy of comment. Yesterday, the above quote was posted. And because it is a common belief, I thought I’d address it.
Recently during a coaching session, I was speaking to a client of high intelligence and capacity who is “stuck” in her life in some interesting ways. She wanted to establish a goal of constant improvement without ever failing. And argued with me about it until I realized: “ah. Block.” and that I was going to have to find a way around it.
Because brothers and sisters, there is simply no way, no way at ALL to move from one level of your life to another without hitting obstacles. That would be like growing stronger without pushing muscles to exhaustion, or even working out at all. If all you do is walk, you’ll never learn to run. And when you learn to run, your muscles get sore. Them’s the rules.
When you open yourself to love, absent some kind of totally freak luck, you’ll get your heart broken. When you go into business, you’ll go broke. When you try to write, you’ll be rejected.
Them’s the rules. And every person you see who is more successful than you, especially those at the top of their fields, dealt with this again and again and again. The highest baseball batting average IN HISTORY was Ty Cobb, with a .366. That basically means that two out of three at-bats he failed. And that’s as good as it gets.
Get used to it. The statement above: “Once you get a momentum going, someone is guaranteed to stop you.” is a perspective that can turn into an excuse to fail. Let’s take a look at what the writer probably really meant: “Once you get a momentum going, someone OF SOMETHING is guaranteed to TRY stop you.” Now, that is excellent. That is reality. Get used to it.
Try this: “along the path of accomplishment, the Hero’s Journey says that you will 100% absolutely run into obstacles that will knock you down and empty you out. Your task is to have the faith–in yourself, your mentors and allies, or a higher power–to get back up and keep trying. If you don’t, you are 100% certain to fail.”
THAT statement is even closer to the truth. Where does the opposition come from? The outside world. Your “friends”. Remember–you chose each other because of similar values and pace of life. If you try to change, you are literally pulling away from them, and they may well interpret that as “making them wrong”, “guilt tripping them”, “acting as if you are better.” It is very rare to have a friend who cheers you on as you outpace them. That is a REAL friend, and something precious.
Enemies will of course try to sabotage you, but so will those who love you, either from fear of losing you, fear that you are saying that THEY must or should change, or fear that you are making a mistake. My own mother tore up my stories, for fear I’d fail in creative life as my father did.
Every try to save money, and have folks suddenly encourage you to spend? Try to lose weight and have friends drop by with cheesecake? Try to finish your novel and have everyone inviting you to parties? Try to create a committed relationship and suddenly have old flames pop out of the woodwork and invite you over for an intimate evening?
100% predictable. Get used to it.
And of course, the greatest barrier is your own heart. If your new life, your goal, doesn’t really match your current self-image, you will find a way to sabotage yourself, screw it up. You’ll miss meetings, get surly with associates, break your new lifestyle, deliberately misinterpret things people say, become behaviorally or conceptually inflexible…oh, there are an infinite number of possibilities.
The Ancient Child’s “Daily Ritual” is designed to implant goals, increase faith that we can and SHOULD pursue and achieve them, take daily small steps and to be grateful for our lives and opportunities. If you are just on the “road of trials” motoring on, you might be able to perform it with no sweat. But if you are running against a major challenge, especially something that will change your life? You will NOT be able to do it every day. You will distract yourself, let the voices in your head discourage you, suddenly get busy, wake up late, manufacture crisis to create little fires to put out…it is amazing.
Here’s what’s worse. If the issue stopping you isn’t practical but deeply emotional? A conflict of core values or spiritual beliefs? Friends, you will experience a MIRACLE. “A meteor will hit your dog” is the way we used to put it. Something will come out of NOWHERE, gobsmack you with lethal force, spin you into depression. And it won’t be your fault. It will have NOTHING to do with you…
Except…what if it does? It is crazy, but what if there IS some kind of causal connection, even if you cannot see it? So perverse, so precise, that it seems like magic. If you aren’t ready for success, if success would “kill” your ego, it is as if you can warp reality to pull in something that seems to prove that, hey…I can’t do this. I shouldn’t do this. They were right. Why bother? Diets fail. The publishing industry is full of soulless monsters. There are no good men/women any more.
Might as well roll over and go back to sleep. Shhhhh….back to sleep…shhhhh…
And you slip back into your nightmare of “just surviving” and that’s the end of your dreams. Until enough pain builds up, and you decide to try again. Start again.
And if you lie to yourself, don’t accept that every time you try to change you WILL fall off the horse, and get your resources available before you ever mount in the first #$%% place…you will cycle back and forth between over-optimism and pain until you collect enough injuries that you can’t climb back up anymore, at which point you say: “well, I tried” and give up.
Trying isn’t enough. Effort isn’t enough. Falling off isn’t a moral failing. Everyone feels afraid. But somehow, every single person who succeeds manages to leverage their efforts, find effective strategies or new allies, learns to take a fall with less damage, and makes peace with their fear.
Every one of them. Or they fail.
Don’t kid yourself: the world WILL try to stop you. Before you even try, come up with at least THREE different things you will do to help you survive that fall, bounce up and try again. The choice is yours. Not guilt, blame, or shame. RESPONSIBILITY for your own life, happiness, health, and success and stability.
The choice is up to you.
- How have you reacted badly to failure in the past?
- How have you reacted positively to failure in the past?
- What is your pattern of self-limiting belief under stress?
- What could you change it to that would empower you?
- What three people have succeeded at what you are trying to do, and what challenges did they face? How did they deal with them
Answering these questions can save your life…and your dreams.