Extraordinary things are not done by extraordinary people; they are done by ordinary people with an extraordinary ability to persevere despite the odds and obstacles. People are extraordinary to the degree that they believe that their dreams are of value and that they can have a genuine impact on the world. The difference between the extraordinary and everyone else is that they didn’t give up and, often times, the only difference is that they were willing to try what seemed impossible at first glance.
You already have all the tools and talent you need. I have heard many people who desire to create drawings and paintings make the self-defeating statement, “I probably just don’t have the talent it takes to be an artist.” People who want to be more fit say, “I just have a hard time losing weight” and wanna-be guitar players “just don’t have time to practice.” Those who play guitar have simply practiced guitar; painters made paintings even when it was frustrating and the results were poor, and those who are fit have discovered the fact that actually every human has a hard time losing weight… the question is do you really want a healthier body or not.
Life isn’t about being talented or naturally able, it’s about acquiring the skills we need through patience, learning and practice to fulfill the dreams that are in our hearts; to do what we were put on the earth to do. If you’ve had trouble seeing your dreams, desires, ambitions or passions realized, here are a few principles I think could help.
LEARN FROM OTHERS
Any area of your life you are struggling in, there are others who have had victory. We are all here to be a gift to one another. Where one is weak another is strong. Seek people who are already living out the reality that you are desiring. Build relationship with them. Listen to them. Practice what they tell you do. If we are willing to learn from others the path to seeing growth in our personal lives is more quick and sure-footed.
PRACTICE; DON’T JUST PREACH
I meet people everywhere who can tell me how they should be eating in order to be healthy, they just don’t do it. They know how to exercise but don’t make time. This isn’t just about fitness but applies to every area of people’s lives. Make sure to put into practice whatever it is you already know before looking for answers elsewhere. If you’re trying to lose 20 lbs. and know that you should cut out fast food and go for a good walk every morning, then do that before trying to implement the latest fitness trend. Generally, people aren’t unsuccessful because they don’t know enough but because they do not implement what they have already learned.
DEFINE STEPS/ GOALS
If you are wanting to be a painter, don’t take the first three paintings you make to your favorite, high-profile gallery in the country to try to get represented. It will be humiliating! Buy some books on painting from artists you admire, take workshops, paint every day, enter some local group art shows, etc… even these steps listed could keep you busy for years! Too often we see only the end goal and when we don’t achieve it immediately we become discouraged and give up. Other times the end goal is so big and intimidating that the first step isn’t ever taken out of fear. Keep an eye on your long term goal but break the journey into manageable steps. Also (and most importantly), enjoy wherever you’re at in the journey because life is about living and loving today, not fantasizing about tomorrow.
EXAMINE YOUR WEAKNESSES
Being honest with ourselves will get us a long way. Acknowledging that we are struggling is the first step to moving past the trial. As we become more comfortable with our weaknesses and are willing to address them, we start to view them as opportunities for growth, not insecurity.
Encourage new ways of thinking in your daily life. If you often think, “I can’t do this” start training yourself to think, “I can!” If you feel incapable, start focusing on areas of your life where you are successful and things you are good at. You will realize pretty quickly that you are actually very capable and even gifted in different areas! In climbing, if you start up a cliff face thinking, “This is too hard” then it probably is (or will be). The way you think governs the way you live and expands or limits your potential. Take every thought captive. Examine what’s going through your mind to see if it’s furthering or hindering who/ what you are needing your life to be.
Every person, on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level has room to progress, discover new levels of wholeness, and see their lives become more vibrant, fulfilling and joyful. You have access to the tools you need. Find people to mentor you, practice what you have already learned, set reasonable goals, be aware of your weaknesses and train yourself to think differently. I write things like this because I really believe in people. I see greatness in people all around me who I know are not seeing it in themselves. People who want more from life but don’t know where to start. The place to start is here, the time is now, and you are capable of anything you set your heart on.