It’s easy to know what you want. What we all want. Happiness, ease, financial abundance, material security, enjoying healthy, caring relationships, family, belonging, recognition, joy, peace, love. There’s no question what we want, regardless of the specifics.
A better question is, “What are you willing to struggle for?”
If you want an amazing body you must suffer the gym visits, deny yourself foods that don’t promote a healthy body, diligently and persistently devote time and attention to building and nurturing the body. We all want the results, but how many of us will suffer the process?
You must love the process of what you want as much as you love the end result. All of us want the mountain top experience, but do we really understand what it will take to get there? Are we really willing to endure the physical, emotional and psychological pain? Are we ready to struggle with ourselves and outside forces to endure long enough to realize progress?
We love to want what we want - to fantasize. But, the reality of what we want is found in the process of it. The manifestation of the ideal is not guaranteed, so we prefer to keep the dream and discard the risk. We fear that if we commit to the dream and embrace the process, that our goal will not be realized, or only realized in part, and perhaps in a way that doesn’t measure up to the fantasy.
So the questions then become, “Why do I want what I want?” and “I am prepared to suffer for it?”
Now suffering and sacrifice have gotten a bad rap in our age of instant gratification. Patience is only as long as our five second attention spans, but in ages gone by, it was a virtue. No longer. Those before us understood how important suffering and sacrifice were to the greater good. Now, we live in a culture of instant fame and self-promotion. Are we even able to endure long enough for the dreams that we hold dear?
Here’s are some facts about a well-known author J.R.R. Tolkien. He began writing what would become known as The Lord of the Rings at the age of 45 and finished 12 years later at the age of 57. How many of us would have suffered that process to produce that work?
Not only did it take 12 years to finish the story, Tolkien had to wait until he was 63 years old before it was published. That’s waiting six years from finishing a book to seeing it published. Did he know it would take him 12 years to finish what he started? Was he only thinking of the goal when he was writing it, or was he in love with the process of writing it? I’m inclined to believe the later.
So if you have a dream, if there is something that you are wanting, consider the road you will walk to get there. Knowing that there are no guarantees of the end result, will you do it anyway? Will you do it because you love the journey towards the dream?
Your life is what you do every day. Choose the dream that is worth living.