Imagine a driver is setting off on a journey. She is in a spacious vehicle, perhaps a bus, so she decides to pick up a few passengers on the way. She is travelling from one city to another and her passengers, who she is picking up free of charge, are grateful for the lift. Some of them just want to leave their current locations while others believe such a lovely young woman must be headed to a lovely place and would like to see it too. Then there are those who are heading in the same direction and would like to be dropped off at specific destinations along the way.
As she drives they praise her driving skills, her determination, the route she has chosen. Some appreciate her music selection while others criticise it or make recommendations based on their personal preferences. Generally though, there is a peace that presides over the vehicle. A few passengers drop off along the way, others say they will go the distance, and some join midway. At some point the young lady runs out of gas. The passengers roll up their sleeves and help push the bus for a little while, but when night falls and they are tired of pushing and have not found any gas her passengers scatter. In the end the young lady is left all alone on the journey, with some of her passengers even leaving their luggage behind.
The journey towards attaining one’s goals can be similar. There will be those who tag along for the ride out of interest, boredom, belief in the driver or simply because you look like you’re going somewhere good. However as the journey progresses you realise the most important person who has to remain on board is you. Having a support system to motivate you and believe in you is amazing, but if you do not believe in yourself, eventually when your steam runs out you will simply stop moving. Like the car that ran out of petrol, well-meaning passengers may push it a few miles at most, but if the driver does not top up the gas and regain control of the car it will never reach its intended destination.
Achieving things takes energy, discipline, hard work, self control and perseverance. These cannot be achieved if you do not believe you are capable of achieving what you have set out to in the first place. There are times when you will need to dig deeper, but if there is no depth to your conviction you will come up with less than the required amount of motivation to continue in the pursuit of your passion. You may have calculated how long it will take you, the route you will take and the resources you need but sometimes it is not so. Obstacles occur, surprises are encountered or you might simply have underestimated just how much energy it will take to reach the goal.
The beginning of the journey was a road trip. There were interested and energetic passengers along for the ride and that can be contagious and exciting. When you launch the business, start the blog, receive the admission letter or commence work there will be cheerleaders in the stands. However you cannot rely on these people to be responsible for keeping you motivated. They have their own commitments, their own goals and their own energy levels to maintain. The responsibility to continue to put mind to task is all yours and the truth is if you do not stay believing that you can do it – you never will.
People do not accidentally possess willpower and acquire a fighting spirit. It is not something that comes naturally to some and is in short supply for others. When you’re laying on the couch instead of getting up to train, study, apply, job hunt, draw, paint, practice, don’t think you are on the couch because you’re waiting for a wave of inspiration. You are your wave of inspiration. When you feel like your tank is on ‘E’ you might have to step out of the vehicle to find more fuel, or push it till it can be filled up again. Sometimes you might have to do this alone. You have to do something or nothing will get done. After all, we all have lazy spells, we all have times where the greater impulse is to take the less strenuous path – but overriding those impulses is what keeps us driving towards our goals.
Eventually our young friend ended up spending the night in a nearby hotel. She found a filling station and bought a gallon of fuel. Then she drove the bus to the petrol station and filled up her tank. I wish I could assure you that was the last challenge she met along the way – it was not. Someone vandalised the bus and broke one of the windows. Two days later she had a flat tire. She received threatening calls from someone who had forgotten their luggage in the bus and wanted her to turn around and return their belongings rather than meet her at her next stop. And the story goes on and on…
Eventually she arrived at the city she set out for. There she started a new job and experienced a lot of other firsts which changed the course of her life for the better. Had she relied on the motivation of others or their staying power she would have given up, but she took ownership of her own goals and overcame the obstacles that stood in her way.
It’s 2018 – we owe it to ourselves to do the same! Don’t give up on your journey because of a rough patch of road, keep driving, keep striving, keep thriving.