Success is not final, failure is not final: it is the courage to go on that counts. Winston Churchill
It sounds so easy, you work hard and build your life, you go to school and establish a career, you meet your partner, buy your home and create a family. Right? Easy-peasy. But then what, if you do all these things, is the rest of life just coasting? What do you do over all those years? Yes, you raise your kids, but that’s twenty years and then they’re off.
It turns out that those early tasks are your training ground. You are making habits that will serve you for your lifetime, habits of working to goals and making them happen.
It sounds so easy but things happen. Companies get sold or they change their plans and let people go – not because the people weren’t good but because they were no longer part of the plan. Sometimes we discover that we don’t even like our chosen career. Or, marriages can fall apart. Illness can happen.
Suddenly what seemed like a good life, one easily thought of as a successful life, can turn around. It can feel as if you’re veering of the road but you are not. The thing that is so interesting about life is that it is not a straight line to nirvana. There will likely be bumps but never, no never, think of them as failure. It’s simply a time to reassess, roll up your sleeves and get to it. It takes courage and it takes willingness to turn it around.
Another favorite quote comes from Amor Towles’ novel A Gentleman in Moscow, “If one does not master one’s circumstances, then she is bound to be mastered by them.” When things go bump, it’s time to break out the courage and get on with it.
On the other hand, life doesn’t always take off at the beginning. That’s terrible because it isn’t building your confidence in your success. Still, it is not a lifelong sentence, frustration is not forever. Remember to seek out a few people you admire and with them, develop a plan. Check in with them on your progress, make yourself accountable to the plan. It’s mastering your circumstance and finding your success, your everyday success.