“You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
I write and think about death a lot. I do it so I can live a better life in the now. I use death to remind myself that Resistance is the nasty force inside that is keeping me from realizing the life I want. By visualizing my death, I'm trying to destroy Resistance and prevent it from ruining my chance at being the best I can be.
If you’ve been following my work for any period of time, you know how often I refer to death. I think about it, and usually write about it, on a daily basis.
Well, guess what? Life is still freaking hard!
I still hesitate. I still take the easier route at times. I still miss opportunities. I still yearn and desire and want. I am far from perfect and have a million things I want to improve on.
But I am getting better.
I recently made a big move to another state. I'm putting myself out there. I’m meeting people and developing new relationships. I’m saying “yes” when I'd regularly say “no." I'm going out instead of staying home to work.
And I feel the progress.
Situations are coming more naturally, and easier. I'm getting better in the areas I want to get better. This motivates me to do more, which I will and am.
But it’s still freaking hard.
This is why I'm constantly reminding myself that hard is par for the course. That it's the price. That if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn't be worth it.
So I press on. I happily press on. But it’s still hard.
What's the secret to success? The key is to keep pressing on, inch by inch, day by day.
Start with the next step. Say “Yes” in place of your typical “No.” Then count each time you do that as a win. Then do it again tomorrow.
As days go by, the process gets easier. What used to be hard becomes easier. You becomes less resistant. Eventually there’s no resistance at all and you just do what you do. This is the progress of the person, and you've been been doing it your entire life.
As a kid, your first day or school is terrifying, which tends to be the worst at a new school or in graduating from elementary to middle and middle to high. But by the time you hit JR and SR year of high school, it’s no big thing. But man, being a freshman in highschool, that was a big thing.
The first day of a new job is the usually the same thing. So is your first kiss. And so on. The first of anything is usually filled with anxiety and unknown. But the 100th time? Well, by then you're a pro. You know what’s going to happen. You might even enjoy the process and look forward to any unknowns yet to come.
Your entire life has been a series of 1st times, 2nd times and for most things, 100th times.
How did you do all this? You pressed on inch by inch, day by day, time by time, and you got better as you did.
You've been doing it your whole life. It’s nothing new. But still, there are situations in your life where you are stuck; where you are not applying the inch by inch, step by step principle of progress. Being aware of this is the first step to overcoming the obstacles in your way.
Your life is a house forever under construction. Never miss an opportunity to build it. Never miss a day, a time, an opportunity. Keep improving yourself step by step, inch by inch.
Keep building. Keep pressing on.