Baby Steps Toward Greatness

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.” – Vince Lombardi

Every journey requires a first step. Sometimes it’s small, simply a toe-dip into cold water. Other times, we make leaps, throwing caution to the wind and taking several chances. Either way, that first step is by far the greatest one.

The problem most people have with picking a goal and sticking to it is taking that first step. What people tend to overlook is that you can’t get anywhere without it. Not to your car, the kitchen, the gym, your bedroom, whatever. The initial step is everything. But people don’t seem to really want to reach their goals these days. They like the idea of possibly achieving something in life, but they don’t really ache for it. They aren’t completely committed to taking that step, and that’s why they don’t move forward in the direction they were aiming for.

Picture yourself alone in your apartment, sitting on the couch, watching your favorite game. Suddenly, you realize you’ve forgotten to grab a beer, and are now faced with a dilemma. Seeing as you have nobody in the house to do your work for you, you can either watch your game while sipping a delicious mocha porter that you just got off your ass to get, or you could continue to sit there wishing you had the energy to get back up from your comfortable position to get yourself one.

Something tells me, if you really are serious about drinking your beer with your game (as you should be), you’ll find it within yourself to get up off the couch to pop open a bottle of icy, hoppy goodness.

Oh baby!

Oh baby!

So if you can find it in yourself to get up off the couch to grab a beer, what’s holding you back from getting out of your comfort zone and making a move towards greatness? When it comes down to it, both moves need some desire on your part, so in order to be as successful as you want to be, you have to want it badly enough to get up and go after it.

The second biggest problem people have with reaching their goals is continuing past the first step. Sometimes we dip our toe into the water and immediately retract it, screaming and flailing our arms, saying it’s too cold and there was no way in hell we were getting in. But usually the initial shock of the cold only lasts a minute or so before we adjust to the temperature, and before you know if you’re swimming in a warm, refreshing pool, and soaking up all the sunshine. But you’d never know unless you grit your teeth and got in all the way.

The first step is also the most challenging, however. It can be a big commitment. But if something is worth having, it’s not going to be that easy to get. You have to work for it, and I think most people have just gotten lazy. We were born and raised in a lazy society. People hardly work off of their own sweat and tears anymore. Half of us practically had life handed to us on a silver platter. We have every single opportunity in the world to make something of ourselves, but all we can do is complain and ask to be spoon-fed. While there are hundreds of thousands of people wishing they had access to even half the resources we do, we still continue to hold weekly meetings with the pity party and talk about how we’ll never get to where we want to be.

Get off the fucking breast milk and be independent. Realize that yes, life is hard, and yes, life sucks a lot of the time. But you can’t learn to fly if you keep clipping your own wings and refusing to face life. You’re too old to be in the safe nest you grew up in. You’ve got to build your own. No one is going to create your ideal life for you. Only you can. But you’ve got to take that first step, and you’ve got to follow it up with another one. And another one after that. It may take you a lifetime, but eventually you will reach the finish line. It all depends on how much you are giving into the fatigue.

To a professional athlete, pain and fatigue are just side effects of being the best. And as long as they continue to fight these things, they will continue to come out on top. It’s how they got there in the first place, and how they stay there. Nobody wins the gold by sitting on their ass eating potato chips. We spend too much of our time saying, “I wish I could” instead of, “I’m going to give it a try”. You want to be a pro gymnast? Train for it. You want to start your own business? Invest. You want to own a house? Work for it. Not all of us are lucky enough to have our life handed to us, and even then it seems the people that are aren’t really happy. They’re missing something. And I feel that what they’re missing is the pride and satisfaction that comes from knowing that you worked to your fullest extent and paid off every debt in life with real blood, sweat, and tears. Nothing can take that kind of satisfaction away.

You don’t always have to cannonball into the deep end, but you’ve got to get your feet wet before you learn how to swim.

This I Know For Sure…

I don’t know who you are, but I know that you struggle.

I know there is pain behind your eyes that won’t seem to ease. I know there are times you feel completely inadequate, and like nothing you do seems to matter. I know that when you think in the grand scheme of things, sometimes everything feels completely pointless. One step forward in your life is another step closer to the grave. Every breath you take is getting closer to your last. Every second you live is just biding time.

But you have a heart. That beats continually, and has been beating for years. You have an amazing body, regardless of the shape or size. There are people who love you, even though you may not know or see it. There are those who would take a bullet for you, and those who are just wishing they could see you smile.

Your laugh lights up another person’s world.

If you could take one moment to stop and look around you, and take everything in, you would be amazed. There is so much to love, and so much to wonder about. There is so much to look forward to.

The great mystery of life is what time is your time to go. You never can tell. There is no forewarning, and no indication. It could be today, tomorrow, an hour from now. And every minute you waste on feeling hopeless is a minute that you can never get back.

You deserve to know how amazing you are. You owe it to your body and your mind to stay healthy, and appreciate what you’ve been given. You may be one person in a sea of others, but you are remarkable in your own way. I don’t have to know you to know you deserve a chance at a good life. That you deserve happiness.

You and I have more in common than you would think. You and the rest of the world have more in common than you think. We all have struggles. Some struggles greater than others, but we all suffer in different ways. We all have our ups and downs. We have all cried ourselves to sleep at night. We have all looked in the mirror and seen something that we didn’t want to see. We have all had our hearts broken. We have all been beat down, degraded, insulted, and walked upon.

And each and every one of us deserves a shot at happiness. Your life is worth more than you make it out to be. The life you live now is the only one you’ve got, so remember every day how great it is to be you. To have a roof over your head, a place to sleep, food to eat, and time that can and should be spent doing what you love. Never underestimate your potential, because you never know its extent until you test your boundaries. You have it in you to hang on, and to keep fighting for the life that you have.  Above all, please never give up hope.

I don’t know who you are, but I know that you are beautiful.

(R.I.P.)