Vaughan Granier points out that “great testing does not ‘build’ character. It REVEALS the character that is already there.”
All of us reach a place, at some point in our lives, where we are emotionally tired, drained, and questioning the wisdom of continuing with the thing that has made us feel like this.
For some it is a job, for others it is a relationship. It could be a business venture, or a sporting challenge. A qualification, a hobby, a weight-loss or get-fit goal, a saving plan, you name it. We set ourselves a challenge, and then at some point of the journey, we get tired—really tired—and we question the journey.
If you feel like that, then this one is for you.
If there is one thing I want to offer you as a suggestion it’s this one statement. Please think about it, chew on it and get some perspective.
“Don’t solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution”
Yes, this thing is hard. Harder than you imagined. Harder than you thought you could imagine. Every part of you is tired, and lonely and needing a rest. Your muscles, maybe, but your heart and soul definitely. So tired it consumes you.
I don’t have a universal solution, or a magic phrase that will cause the sun to break through the clouds, and the rain to stop and the colors to brighten. I don’t have that. But I do have this for you. The strength to see it through is within you. Deep inside, where the fires of testing are reaching right now, is the seed of greatness that only those fires can unlock.
Great testing does not “build” character. It REVEALS the character that is already there. Like sand blowing in the desert, the wind reveals what is underneath. What was hidden, even what was unknown, but has always been there. Character is built through repeated testing. But that is not what today is about.
Testing offers us a choice. We always, always, ALWAYS have a choice. From the comfort of a happy life and no immediate pressure to do anything, the arrival of a test, of a firey challenge, pulls us out of our comfort zone, away from what we know, to uncharted territory.
Now, a decision is required. Where are we headed, and why? How deep do we dig, how hard do we push?
What determines our commitment – Vision, or Circumstance? Passion, or Pain? Our Legacy, or our Lethargy? We choose. Every single time, we choose. It doesn’t matter how loud the circumstances are, how hot the fire is, or how the pain is screaming at us, we still get to choose.
This is not about the challenge itself, or the heat of the fire. It is not about the steepness of the hill, the length of the race, or the pain of broken promises. It’s not about who was right and who was wrong. It’s about something much more simple, yet much more profound. It’s about what’s inside you. Who YOU are, and what YOU want to be when this is over.
You started this because you thought it was worth it. From the place of your calm clear planning, you looked at this challenge, this task, this opportunity, and you said YES! Go back to that place. Remember the joy and the passion of a new challenge. Remember the excitement and the fire in your belly of the adventure you were starting.
The only question you need to ask is “What has changed?” If the only thing that has changed is the burning in your legs and in your lungs, and the pain of effort, then it’s time to dig in and hold on. There is a way through. In fact, as someone famously once sang “The only way out, is through”.
For you to be you, and for you to look at yourself in the mirror with pride, this one, has to be overcome.
You have to get up, one more time.
Face the challenge, one more time.
Breathe deep and brace yourself, one more time.
There are a million witnesses, all waiting to hear the story of you overcoming. Its why we scan the papers every morning. Its why we buy a round and look at the faces of our friends, and ask how the week was. We are waiting for the chorus of “we did it!” from the overcomers.
The ones who can remind us of the capacity we each have for overcoming insurmountable odds by sheer will and drive. We all need role models. We ARE all role models.
Let’s finish strong, and be each others next role model. Let our success and the life we live because of it, tell a story we can all repeat in our own lives. We need each other, to set the pace, raise the bar, and be worth emulating. So that each of us – when the time comes to reveal our substance, to reveal our character, to become an example – can set the pace for someone else, raise the bar for someone else, and be worth emulating.
We are worth it. I am worth it. YOU are worth it.
And the ones who are inspired by our achievements to excel in their own world, they are worth it too.
This post originally appeared at Notes From the Road