Do What You Can!
Last night I had dinner with a woman whose 9-year-old niece has a best-seller on Amazon!
As I listened in polite amazement I was thinking back over the past 20 years
of my own life and wondering where did I go wrong?
How many TV shows did I watch instead of sitting down to write?
How many dishes did I wash instead of sitting down to write?
How many papers did I grade instead of sitting down to write?
How many days did I spend doubting instead of sitting and writing?
What did this little girl figure out in her few short years that I haven’t yet in my long life?
And here I am at the end of another year with an unfinished manuscript on my night stand. What is wrong with me if a 9-year-old can write a best-seller and I can’t even finish a manuscript?
It’s easy to get discouraged, isn’t it?
I work with students all the time who start out strong, then get lost somewhere
along the way. The first few weeks of the semester they’re smiling and engaged. They tell me they made straight A’s in high school and plan to be doctors, lawyers or computer engineers. They sit in the front row and turn in their assignments on time, but then just before the mid-term their attendance gets a little sketchy. They become less engaged in class discussions and start turning in late work! By the time the semester skids to a close the A student is clinging to a C and bargaining for bonus points. While their appearance on the first day was clean-cut, by the last day they’re wearing tattered sweats and sunglasses to hide the dark circles–too many sleepless nights—maybe spent studying not partying—it just depends if the A student is still striving or if she’s given up.
I get it. There are a thousand and one reasons why that thing you were hoping to accomplish didn’t pan out—it turned out to be harder than you thought, required a bit more time and effort than you anticipated. Now you have to regroup and decide whether you want to invest that much of yourself to get it.
How bad do you want it?
Sometimes unforeseen circumstances derail you, take you off course and the thing you’re going for gets pushed farther from your reach. Now you have to wait. But the same question applies:
How bad do you want it?
If the goal that we’re after is worth having, there shouldn’t be anything strong enough to keep us from attaining it. Here we are at the end of another year, but this is not the time to wallow. This is the time to do what you can.
If you’re a college student, recognize that this is not high school. There are different expectations, different study habits, different responsibilities. You may have to re-group and try again, but do what you can.
If you’re an adult pursuing a dream, recognize that failure is not the end. There are many pathways to success and myriad ways to accomplish your goals. Fear less. Trust more, but do what you can.
It’s amazing that a 9-year-old could write a bestselling book, but you know how she did it? By following directions for a class assignment. She began by simply doing what she could and she did her best. I believe if I just did what I could there’d be room enough for her talent and mine on Amazon’s best seller list.
I won’t stop pushing. What about you?