We all desire success in some way, shape, or form. However, we rarely implement the actions needed to achieve what we hope for. We want to be financially stable, but we don’t make time to balance our checkbooks. We want to possess higher intellect, but don’t open a book or do any independent research. We want to make more money, yet still only put in the minimum hours and effort at our place of work. We want to be physically fit, then don’t dedicate time to go the gym or go for a run. In all of these situations our mind is in the right place, our mind can envision us performing the task, then our body does not execute the steps that our mind seemingly sees as easy.
Our desire fills us, it pushes and pulls on our mind, but our body never comes through on its promise to fulfill the mind’s desire. After the mind realizes that the body is not responding, it thinks harder; it tries a different strategy of dreaming bigger. Now the larger, more impressive, more desirable hopes and dreams engross us. We become excited, and we truly want to reach our goals. But alas, our body often falls back into its old habits and never attains what our mind desires. Finally, in a panic, our mind changes directions. It begins to set smaller goals, hoping to somehow get in touch with the body, and convince it to do something. While this final effort sometimes generates a breakthrough, it can just as frequently result in the same failure as the others. With the body still unresponsive, with our physical being unable to meet the demands of our physiological one, we lock up. We enter a form of psychosis.
At this point our entire being goes through a phase of unresponsiveness. The body has nothing pushing it, and therefore no reason to strive for more; the mind has no faith that any of its goals will be fulfilled, and therefore has no reason to desire anything. We fall into a path, a path that many of us are unaware we are even on. A path of simplicity, a path of little or no accomplishment.
As children, we are often praised. Praise, from both adults and our peers, pushes us to be more successful. But as we closeout our childhood the commendations become less frequent. As we enter adulthood, they become scarce. Our accomplishments and the recognition from our peers pull us out of the simplistic path. But when that recognition ceases, it is much harder to get out of that rutted, frequently used, well beaten path.
I remember working on the farm with my paternal grandfather when I told him I woke up at 5:00 every morning, and went to bed at 8:00 at night. He told me that Benjamin Franklin was once quoted saying, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I still remember this event explicitly and I can recall my thought process immediately following. I found that, aside from the ideal of waking up early, this quote could be adopted to many situations. Deter from the path most people take, and we will find more success than most people find.
Prosperity is not found on that conventional path. While we all can find our own small successes with one foot on that pathway, we will not be able to achieve greatness until we abandon the common path and go our own way. The percentage of people who take the standard path is exceedingly high, while the quantity of people who find their own way is exceptionally low. The amount of success attained varies inversely with the amount of people on that given path.
Why does a basketball player stay in the gym for an extra two hours after practice, when she knows her teammates are at home resting? Why does an author continue submitting his work to new publishers when he has previously been turned down? Why does a paramedic take an extra 24 hour shift after she just finished her last one, even though she knows she could be at home with her family? Why does an entrepreneur dedicate an hour to playing with his children, when he knows he’ll be up later finishing paperwork?
We all have the ability to make decisions that set us apart from everyone else. We all have the ability to implement these actions. But in order to truly find our success we must do both simultaneously. We must knowingly step off the path of monotony and take our own path if we truly desire to be triumphant.
-Austin B. Berenda