Fred, the three-month-old Labrador puppy, was tugging at his guardian’s trousers. His guardian was sitting working on her laptop, ignoring him. “Ball”, Fred thought, “Let’s go play!” She continued to focus on an assignment she needed to hand in. She did not have time for Fred now. Fred whimpered and whined. She turned round to look at him. She then got up to the kitchen to give him a bit of food, hoping that would distract him. It did not work. Fred was not giving up.
When she passed him his favourite toys and treats including the ball, he merely laid the ball beside her foot and continue to whine and tug her trousers. When that did not work, he did something she had never seen him do before. He sat beside her and started to howl in melancholy! It sounded like someone had died. His guardian stared at him in disbelief and thought to herself, “Seriously?!” She could no longer work with such a racket. She relented and took Fred to go play ball.
Fred wanted to play ball so badly that he had ignored food and toy bribes. He even resorted to unexpected behaviour to achieve his goal. He was so committed to his goal and did not give up. Finally, he did what he had to do to get what he desired.
When you say you want something in life, how badly do you want it? Life has a great way to challenge your resolve. Have you ever given up at something you said you wanted to do or complete? You were plugging it away, making great progress, and really enjoying the process and the results you were receiving when suddenly, you just stopped making progress and stopped completely. Perhaps it was a new skill, like jewellery making. You had gotten the equipment, you had been inspired, and even invested in time and money for a course. You were doing very well, well beyond just knowing merely the basics of it. You were determined to be great at it. You may even have thought that you could make a living out of it. Then suddenly you stopped.
Perhaps, it was something you dreamed of, like travelling the world or writing a book. You did your research, you asked around and found others who had done it and relived their experiences and was determined to make your own. You were pumped. You even laid out a plan of how to do it and what to do at each stage. You may even have completed the first few steps but you stopped.
Maybe it is a new relationship you have always desired. Time and effort have been invested and you are determined to make this one work as you know you deserve it. The rapport is great and life is seemingly good. Future plans were made, laid down, and communicated to each other often. He or she was treating you well and you knew you have found the right partner. And suddenly it ended.
There was always some reasons (or excuses) for not sustaining the momentum or progress. Life got busy. Attention was spent elsewhere. Lack of resources (which usually means a lack of resourcefulness instead) and the challenges were getting greater. It was causing more pain than pleasure. What was fun at the beginning was no longer fun. Something else always happens to prevent you from doing what you wanted to do. You think to yourself, “Someday… when I have the time… or money…” or “When the feeling comes back to me again, I’ll do it” or “When such and such happens, it will be easier to succeed”. The list goes on. You know what I mean. It is either someone else’s or some life event’s fault or you found out that you did not really want it that badly in the beginning.
Life is constantly testing for your level of commitment. Every day, events, people and your life is checking how badly you want something. If you observe people who had succeeded in their field be it in sports, businesses, relationships or anything they excel in, you will find that they succeed not because they had a special talent (though that would play a small part) or had it easy. They succeeded despite everything life threw at them because they were committed. They wanted it so badly that they did not, actually could not take ‘no’ for an answer. If their original plan failed, they pivoted and made a new plan. They were rigid in their goals and flexible in their approaches. When they hit a wall, they did not stop. They found a way sideways, climbed over, dug under, or even just crashed through the wall. They did not give up nor did they give in. They simply had to succeed.
So, when you fail to succeed in what you wanted to do or to have, it usually meant that you did not really want it that bad to start off with. Imagine if you are struggling to breathe underwater and the only way to do so is to swim upwards to air. No matter what happened or how tired you felt, you would use every bit of energy and your focus would be clear, direct, and pristine to summon every ounce of soul and body to get to the top for a breath. Now, imagine using that sort of commitment every time you want to achieve in your life. Do you still doubt you will not succeed?
Be clear of what you want and commit yourself to it. You come with an unknown expiry date and the potential in you is immense. Fred has got what he wanted. How badly do you want yours? What are you waiting for?
‘If you are interested, you will do what is convenient. When you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.’