I’ve never questioned whether or not my life’s work was right, the seed was planted too firmly so long ago that it just seemed to be innate. And I’ve cultivated that seed, year in, and year out, since I was old enough to pick up a pencil. I’ve been willing to do the work, to focus, to learn, to study, to remain for the duration. But maybe that’s not enough.
Sometimes it’s the doubt of others that can blindside you. And maybe that’s what you needed. If you’re not careful, their doubt can cripple you, turn you inside out, and turn you into something so quickly averse to that seed you’ve been cultivating. But maybe that's just it. Maybe you've been cultivating a seed just for the sake of it. It can blindside you exactly because you never doubted yourself, you never questioned what you were doing, you were just doing it.
What’s missing here?
The Olympic athlete is never asked “Why don’t you get a 9-5 job?” Everyone around him recognizes his talents, his commitment, his discipline, his training. His vision is easy to be a part of. It’s understood he is going to the Olympics.
So, instead of asking "what the hell is he doing?" They say: "We should get him there."
What were honest concerns from someone I listen to for wisdom, soon became a disconcerting voice which circulated in my head for two days. And I noticed something.
I noticed doubt everywhere. After that conversation, it was in everything. In quotes I’d see, in my own interpretation of what I was doing, in my self esteem. It’s really contagious.
On one side, it can be damaging: “What if everything I have been doing for 2-3 years was the wrong choice? What if they are right?” People often do see things you do not, and indeed, it is important to listen to them. And it's important to learn from them.
On the other, helpful side, I noticed an empowering change growing in my perspective from this conversation. For so long, I have taken pride in resilience. Fall down 7 times. Get up 8. Take the hits and keep going. I took pride when friends said: “You’re the toughest guy I know, you always bounce back.”
Fail forward, fail until you succeed, failure makes success, failing is a part of success. You must fail to succeed. Fail and then fail some more. All businesses fail, a baseball batter fails more than he hits.
Fail. Fail. Fail. It builds character.
But what about success?
“Taking the hits is the price you must pay for stepping into the ring.” - This is what people like to say when you’re down on your luck.
Listen too long, and that also becomes what you believe.
“Even when you fall face first, you are still moving forward.”
How about this instead:
“I’m not going to fall.”
It was helpful to hear someone else’s reasonable doubts, because although it was hitting me deeply, somewhere from the depths also came the response. A new one.
That’s what I am doing everyday. I am not on the defense, I am not allowing others to shape my destiny – I am not taking a job I can easily lose, I am not taking the hits, I am not taking it in stride. I am not taking anything.
I am giving everything.
People dismiss faith too often. But faith is just trust, and trust means seeing the outcome as real. Let’s say there’s no heaven, but you had faith there was. If you lived your whole life believing and behaving as if you’ll go there, then you did go there – did you not?
Did you not live a life of service and goodness? You made it real.
If a man is in the middle of walking a tightrope, and the crowd says “That guy is going to fall,” they are wrong only until he falls. Doubt is not correct just because the crowd cannot see themselves on the tightrope.
As long as he is walking the tightrope, he is walking the tightrope. He is not falling. The crowd should let him get to the other side and enjoy the comforts of the ground. Or better yet, they should help him get to the other side. Usually, they will.
Keep your focus on where you want to be, and don’t ever question the miracle of your own capacity.
That’s the price they pay for not getting in the ring.
The Journey Continues
Tyler Gooden walks the tightope every day with TheFCStartMovie.com