“Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”
My initiation to the workplace—indeed my first two or three years—was horrendous.
I had one of those old-fashioned apprenticeships—where the apprentice was the butt of very many cruel pranks. I endured it for the better part of three years before the ‘gods of favour’ smiled upon me in my fourth year.
As I look back now I’m both surprised I didn’t buckle ultimately under it, and not surprised that I did. I was quickly swallowed up in the trade of substance use and abuse—typical actually for many those of my age, stage and time; especially where I grew up. It seemed at the time everyone was doing roughly the same thing.
As I cast my mind back now I often wonder, however, how I came to be resilient through this tough period as a teenager to see me through to now; there was my sound upbringing—perhaps it was my parents to some degree; perhaps a couple of friends played a key role back then and since too. Certainly God was there with me, before I even knew him as my Saviour.
Tumults, skirmishes, hassles and road blocks come for a reason.
Then there was without doubt my biggest life test; when I was informed my first marriage was over. That came as quite a shock I can tell you. There was no one more ‘married’ than I was—divorce was never an option for me... well, until I was left with no other option.
As we track back through the life events that have come to define us we can readily see the Churchill quote resplendent with truth—soaked and lavished abundantly in it.
Our failures do not define us; our responses to those failures do.
We’re loath to give up. We know we must continue with our efforts—beyond the stinking thinking and the parched drought. It reminds me of the Robin Hood (2010) quote on the ‘Loxley Sword,’
“Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”
The only consistent way through all our problems is a continual and unstinting focus.
We may feel that we’re in a sadistic and pointless Groundhog Day event that is our lives, but we can’t afford to stop there for too long. And sure, a day or two’s sojourn in the demise of our self pity—everyone’s had them... but these are still not what defines us.
We’re defined by the longer term efforts that we consistently produce—those by which we’re characterised by—for our little stumbling and errors of choice are forgiven for the most part, such is the grace of God known in life.
Effort, today, is all we’re left with. It’s distilled down to that as we look forward to our next few hours of breathing life on this spinning planet we call home.