The burden of potential is only outweighed by the toll of the pilgrimage.
Frustration, fatigue, self-doubt — you name it — all can easily take hold of your mind and emotions when in the midst of the grind. And it’s in these moments where we want to quit, change course, or question our own abilities altogether.
What do we do in these circumstances? Is there proper compensation for all our hard work? Is there a remedy for unbridled desire?
When we embark on whichever endeavor we initially set out to conquer, we’re energized.
We see a vision and we recognize our own ability to set ourselves apart so, quite naturally, we’re motivated to dive into the deepest of pools, ready to swim any length to reach our destination.
What we don’t know, or what we often tend to forget, is to tread.
Treading in water by definition is maintaining an upright position in deep water by moving your feet with a walking movement and your hands with a downward circular motion — basically staying afloat.
The importance of treading water, especially when you’re swimming long distances, is to rest without drowning.
In terms of you and me, and the metaphorical swim towards our mark, this means doing everything but quitting. And sometimes that means doing what you can where you are until you see progress, even when your experience lulls along the way.
See, the difference between the people who see their deepest desires come to fruition and the people who die with regret (drowners) are the people who managed to find happiness while treading.
Like, you’re going to get tired of what you’re doing and it may appear that you’re not going anywhere but staying afloat is a part of the game. In fact, it means you’re still in it.
The second we get tired — when we’re done with the cynicism of our workplace, tired missing out of $1 beer night, and can no longer stand skipping out on our fast food favs — is when we’ll miss that promotion, come up short on that exam, or never lose that extra gut.
That’s why it’s important to work our window — or handle what’s in front of us to the utmost degree. To see it through. And this is how.
What’s In Front Of Us At The Time
We’ll never be happy if we continually look at what we do not have. And while it’s important to keep our objectives in focus, we must ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can with what is currently on our plate.
We really have no idea how much work it takes to level up — whatever leveling up looks like for us. It’s almost like digging for oil: you have to keep striking until you see substance.
If we abandon the hunt and grow tired of the dirt we’ll miss out on what may be right beneath us. Too often we’ll give up and go to a new spot to dig (switch jobs, careers, cities even) when everything we need is right under out noses.
If you’re a musician, you should be performing at every possible open mic every week. If you’re an entrepreneur then you should be working more than your sleeping, if your goal is to be a partner at your firm, you shouldn’t only outwork your competitors, but should be establishing relationships with the other partners.
Before complaining about where you aren’t, make sure you’re executing everything where you are.
Anything worth having is worth suffering for, but a lot of times we take pain and strife as signs that it’s “not for us” and we end up looking for an easier route.
The moment we accept the hardships of our journey and take responsibility for the difficulty that comes with chasing something of value is the moment we’ll find peace with every stage of the process.
A lot of us are exasperated after the first quarter of a four-quarter game. We have to think macro, not micro.
When we condition ourselves to think about the entire game, we won’t fret the halftime score.
The Lesson In The Placement
The biggest lie we can ever accept is that there is nothing more for us to learn where we are or that we’ve learned all there is know. This is never the case.
No matter the level of expertise, there will always more for us to grasp and as long as we’re where we are we should be inspired to continually look for ways to expand what we know.
A lot of times we think our only responsibility is to master our craft but what could be holding us up is how we deal with people or how well we can teach someone what we know or even in how our attitudes are.
Working your window is about doing everything in your power to advance, accepting that it is a slow grind, and all while constantly assessing where you can improve.
A lot of times it’s not us. We’re not doing anything wrong at all, in fact, we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s just a matter of consistency and challenging ourselves to grow where we are.
When we do these things we’ll find it a lot easier to tread water.