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.
I'd like to bring attention to this ingenious comment by Stefanie Zobus. I'm adding bold on my favorite part -
It’s terribly easy to waste a day. It’s the evening, and I haven’t really done anything useful. I thought of planning the day when I got up, but in the end didn’t. I think books such as that one are really good in that they remind people their treacherous tendencies that take over when one doesn’t pay attention carefully enough. Old habits and all that. It would probably be a good idea to have something that forcefully reminds one of the whole business every day when one gets up, at least when one is still establishing new habits.
Something I thought about in that respect was that it would be useful to write some sort of ‘life manifest.’ Discussing how one wants ones’ life to be, what one wants to do in life, and very importantly: why – because when one doubts and falters, one could read that and be reminded of why one tries, and why one should keep going. You wrote something similar in that you had some post some time ago as to how many books you want to publish until then-and-then, and how much money you want to own at this or that point… which is a really good thing since it encourages and sets goals. There are so many methods and ways helping one to keep going… one just has to find and employ them. I’m afraid, the employing part is difficult. Reading a book like that brings one ‘back to earth’ I suppose, if one really cares. And if one doesn’t care, well, then things are pretty hopeless anyway.
Very smart stuff. I have some things that I live for, but I never thought to look at those when I was feeling demotivated. Great stuff. Stefanie just launched a site at http://stefaniezobus.wordpress.com/ - here's looking forward to good insights from her.
It seems that politicians these days can't rally to take action on even the smallest decisions, so it's easy to forget about the bold leaders of our past.
But I saw something awesome today in Michael Porath's Manifest Destiny project.
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson executed the Louisiana Purchase. We all learned about it in school. But what's incredible -- and what I didn't learn in school -- is that the size of the land purchased was unknown at the time it was bought.
So, think about that for a second the next time you hear politicians bickering over immaterial issues. Thomas Jefferson paid $15MM in 1803 for a body of land that he had no idea the size of. Now that takes brass cojones and it's a great reminder to follow your gut, because what he was really buying was the removal of French influence in the region, and he knew that alone justified the purchase price.