Thursday, June 27, 2013

Punching Fortitude's Enemy in the Face

(Warning: You have to eat dinner before you get to dessert. Read on. It's sweeter at the end. ;-p)

You could taste it. You wanted it. The wetness was on your tongue, and the thought made your skin tickle. You got so excited when you heard yourself speak it. Telling everyone, your voice elevated in pitch with each sentence you spoke, until you skipped words that fell from your mouth. 

Until...a year went by, and it hadn't happened yet. You could feel it slipping away, and your enthusiasm waned. Yet, you held on to the dream, but then, you glanced at your watch. You got busy with the kids. Then suddenly, you remembered, you looked back, and it was gone. 

What happened?

There are a million reasons, but you can't remember which one was the one that made everything fall apart. You felt so tired. You felt discouraged. You didn't know if you could really do it. Your mom never believed in you. Your enemies keep laughing and your friends kind of wince. 

You just gave up. That's it. You couldn't do it. Or could you?

When were you going to finish? 
What made you quit?
What prevented your success?
What made you give up?
Who was it that didn't believe in you?
Why did you get discouraged? 
How far did you make it before you couldn't go any further?

Fortitude, my friend, is "the marshall of thought, the armor of will, and the fort of reason," according to Sir Francis Bacon, Sr. I think I might agree.

You first tried it out, the notion of this success, this feat, when your imagination got out of hand. You realized you didn't have the strength, the energy, the skill, the courage...and even if you did, you definitely didn't have the time! 

Or did you?

Let me tell you a little story.  

(If you decide you'd like a few more,  just for encouragement, I'll put up a separate blog soon with examples of times I could've given up, times I almost did, what it took, and what the consequences are of times I either gave up or paused for way too long. Blog: Too many times to recount)

You were only 7 months old. You watched as your parents walked across the room, sounds spilling from their mouths, and you yearned. You yearned to walk around freely, and you yearned to speak these partial ideas that seemed to have converged into a glob of something you hold onto. You don't know how, and you can't ask.

You begin to innovate. You try to walk, and it seems you can't sit up. So, you first start smaller. You start with...crawling. Crawling should get you there! You realize since you learned before that you can roll over, you think maybe you could learn to crawl; since you've learned something so small before, you know you're capable of learning. Not to mention, these parents you have seem to be willing to demonstrate and encourage you. But even if they don't encourage you, you'll seek out those who will, and you're going to encourage yourself! You can do this; look, you have proof! You can roll over!
So, you learn to crawl, and once you've done that, you move on; you grab onto your mom's finger and she pulls you up. You hold on, and you lift your teeter. To the left, to the right,  and you fall. You fall, and it scares you. You feel the rush go through your veins, and your leg shakes. She saw it; she saw you fall. It's a good thing you have no sense of embarrassment yet, for if you did, you surely would die from humiliation at the hands of this failure! Oh, my! How strong these fleeting thoughts are! How exaggerated a response they illicit! What comes forth is negativity reeling it's head, but not now. Now when you're this young. No, no, thank goodness. Right now, it's a giggle that explodes from your throat, and you pop up again, ready to learn from your mistake. You think to move slowly, to balance, and then you lift your foot in front much slower. It lands forward. You're only one step forward, but you know it's further, and now you know how to make one step. You go for another. You fall. You fall HARD this time! It hurts. You cry. You feel discouraged. Over time, you make several steps, you fail several times. You laugh; you cry; you fail; you succeed. Then, suddenly you're walking around, your spitting out sounds, and you're onto learning to speak. Because as you know, you learned how to roll over; you learned to crawl. You learned to walk, and if you don't give up until you succeed, you will learn to speak!!!!! 

That's the story of how you learn to succeed. It's called fortitude. It's called not giving up. It's courage, coupled with new-found commitment, and it runs with strength. Let me tell you, time will not allow what you won't covet. Covet the idea of succeeding at your dreams. Covet the idea of loving others as much as you love yourself. Also, love yourself, and pursue the things that matter, that you really want! If you want something badly enough, none of those reasons will be good enough to fail. Fail, once; fail twice, but in the end SUCCEED! No matter how many times you fall, get up. Now, one thing to be mindful of, is setting reasonable goals that are within your limitations (health or genetic factors should be considered when setting goals, but then again - look at examples who have overcome even these!).

Points to consider (in my humble opinion), that I've come to regard as fact as I have stumbled, fallen, gotten back up, and made it over my hurdles:

Fortitude takes energy.

Energy requires....the expenditure of energy! You spend energy to GET energy! If you do not have a workout routine (however small it may be) - get one now! Start small! Start consistently. No time? Time is made. It's allocated, and it's designated. Make some time. Time moves; you just have to move it to the places you want. Even if you only have a little to move; move it. Move it from the back to the front. Consolidate the pieces into one small chunk, and then use it! Put it together, in 20-30 minutes to start. If you need to, use it with someone else. Use it up. Then you will have energy. Do NOT give up until you have received it, both time and energy. The feeling of blood flowing, of initiative, of drive.

Now that you have manufactured energy, fortitude also takes strength.

Guess what, strength comes from falling and getting back up. You will probably do plenty of that while you are building energy. Strength also comes from muscle memory. Guess what muscles? The muscles you had when you were little. Remember that story? When you were 7 months old. Yeah, that's right, those muscles. Start using them: stand up, fall down, stand up, fall down. Succeed, have a set back, mini fail, succeed, succeed, mini it again. Reflect. Learn. Do it again. Ask questions. Get a mentor! Listen to those who are wiser in whatever thing you are learning! Don't go learn it all on your own! It's quicker to glean knowledge from the knowledgeable, not necessarily your beloved friends, but maybe some of them. Lastly, build those muscles by using them in foreign ways, in new ways, and condition them. Work them out until you must increase their stretch, after it gets easy. Encounter something new, and get better at it. You don't have to become a pro; just get better. Are you stronger? Are you feeling it? Make up you MIND to not give up, and to get past the hurdles, and take the recoveries as a blessing.

Now that you're strong, you must know what comes next. Fortitude takes the mind. It takes will; desire; drive. It takes into account reason. Lastly, fortitude takes forethought, and insight; reflection. 

For these, set your mind on your prize. Consider others in your journey. 

(I know, the world tells you to pursue what YOU want; don't take survivors. Take what you want at any cost. Don't let others hold you back. Disregard others in your quest to GET. However, I tell you, happy people are people that accomplish their goals WHILE helping others to accomplish their goals as well! Successful & Happy people understand the power in helping or mentoring others, and they understand the meaning of connectedness; of giving of oneself to a greater cause. More on this later...Blog: Giving is Getting, and Less is  More).

Once you've set your mind on it, and you can taste it, consider it. Is it reasonable? Can you start with this goal by itself, or do you need to construct a tiered approach? Can you start smaller, break it down into pieces that have timeframes? Can you reasonably reach this peak without hurting your body, breaking down resolve, or hurting others? (At times, goals have to be broken into manageable portions to accommodate the needs or commitments of family members or responsibilities. Set goals within reason that also taken into account your bigger goal, if you have a family for instance, of loving and nourishing them.)

If it is reasonable, or once you have formed segments that are reasonable one at a time, do you have the desire? Do you still want it? Can you recruit positive people who can want it for you too, that can encourage you? Consider what individual(s) you can proposition to mentor you, teach you, consult with you on your ideas, approach, progress. Learn from them! Develop the mind, the background, the knowledge. Then, when you experience successes and failures along the way, reflect on each. Take what you can, and apply them to your approach. Refine it. Resolve  to continue. With this mindset and this reason, you need will.

Will is what you hold onto. It propels you forward. It picks you up. 

It says to you, "You will." You say back, "I will."

And you do.

Good luck! 

Now go. Punch weakness in the face. 

...Because weakness died when fortitude was built. 
You did that.
Now do this.