We love big moments. We live for the Grand Slam, the Hail Mary, and the overnight success. Of course, the big moments don’t spontaneously happen. Even the lottery winner had to walk down to the store to buy his ticket.
Why is change so hard? Why is progress so slow? Why do I have to grind it out to get anywhere?
We are all impatient to arrive. We are all desperate for gratification, validation, inspiration, admiration, and consolation. And we are desperate for it right now. When it doesn’t happen, we wonder, why? We pray for a miracle. We beg for forgiveness. We cry for the pain to go away. Then, we get angry when it doesn’t happen. We give up. We quit. We walk away. Or worse, we punt, kicking the ball downfield to let someone else deal with it.
The truly sad thing about any of the above is that we know better. When we quit, walk away, get angry, or punt, we also quietly hate ourselves for the retreat, the weakness, and the failure. All the while we ask, “why didn’t I just push through?”
In the meantime, we wait. We wait for something to change. We wait for the right time. We wait for a sign. We wait to be picked. We wait for a break. We wait for our ship to come in. We wait for someone else to do something.
When will we learn that it takes the getting there to actually get there? When do you feel satisfaction? With a job well done? When do you feel joy? When you’ve put in the work to accomplish something? Still, we fail to take the small steps. We avoid the work. We make excuses for the delays. We wait for someone else to give it to us. We all know better.
Want some perspective on your life? Spend a moment today calculating how many days you have left. Start with the years: 40? 30? 20? 10? Need some context for that number? Calculate how many days you’ve already lived. What do you want for the days that you have left? What will you give to have it?
There are no overnight successes. There are no shortcuts. There are only the paths before you and the directions you choose. Then, there are the steps you take. You might run down a couple of paths and walk on others. You might backtrack. You will likely find dead-ends. You will get tired. You will find disappointment. All along, you will be learning. All along, you will be moving. All along, you will be living.
Change. Progress. Forgiveness. Love. Joy. Hope. They too lie down those paths. But they are found along the way. They don’t come to you, you must rise to meet them. They don’t require grand slams, lottery tickets, or Hail Mary’s. They demand small steps, sustained, over time. More is found when we give more. Better lies up ahead.
Just. Keep. Walking.