I listened to "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino on audiobook a couple months ago. I just started going through it again.
I picked up something I'd missed last time.
He was talking about being grateful for a bunch of things. For love, happiness, opportunity, friendship, family, things like that. But he also said remember to be grateful for the darkness, because it shows you the stars. For sadness, because it makes happiness stand out more.
I read "Choosing the Mountain" over at letterstoafriend, and that one was directly addressed to me, which is very flattering and cool. Phaedrus writes:
I can relate to a lot of what you're writing. I've been facing similar trials over the last few years, falling from what almost seemed like a charmed life, to some real lows of feeling downright friendless, purposeless, and helpless. Unable to be satisfied with what I had, but unable or unwilling to reach for more. I won't lie, it almost broke me. The need to find validation in relationships, friendships that don't inspire your soul, the temptation to trade in your dreams for the more "realistic" ones pre-compiled for you by society... these feelings are the antithesis of my identity, but in the spirit of honesty, yes... after watching several years trickle by, waiting for my Manifest Destiny to manifest itself... yes, I started to wonder how much I was destined, and how much I was delusional.
Bold added by me.
I think this is good, this is important. Look at the exact phrasing there - "how much I was destined" - and that's just it, isn't it? We're not destined. It's only through hard work that we get there.
When things are going smoothly and well, it's easy to cruise. To get off-track. You need some challenge, some strife, some suffering or a kick in the ass now and then to make you really start thinking and planning, really start working and building, doing the things that really matter.
People tend to cruise, to believe in destiny when things are going well. When the sun sets and it's dark and cold, and you don't have shelter - that's when you think, "Okay, this sucks, I need to do something about it." At the same time, maybe you look up for the first time, and see the stars and moon. I think it's in the low times that people decide to do more, and ask themselves whether it's really possible?
No one's coming to save you. No one's coming to give anything to you. No one's going to give you permission.
And I think it's easy to forget that when things are going well. When the sun sets and it's dark and cold, it sucks. It makes you question. But it also shows the stars overhead.