A few years ago, my family borrowed an incubator and went through the process of hatching chicken eggs. It was a cool learning experience for my children and an insight I use to this day in my work. It takes about 21 days to hatch the eggs. The birds begin to chirp and the eggs move around a bit just before the chicks start to hatch. Quite fascinating really. It takes hours for them to finally get out of their shell and break free. It is an epic struggle.
My kids were really fun to watch as they enjoyed the experience. They wanted to help the chicks hatch. In fact, one of the chicks had part of the shell stuck to its back which was really hampering its movement. My kids lovingly wanted to pull off the last pieces and help the chicks, but I wouldn’t let them. I told them… It is the struggle that makes the chick strong enough to survive in this world.
IT IS THE STRUGGLE THAT MAKES YOU STRONG!
Strong people accomplish great things. How do you become strong?
Manage your mind
You see people striking out in anger and frustration. Road Rage, Yelling at a cashier for something they have no ability to change. Completely ticked off at a restaurant for making an error. People are out of control. Many people are moving through life with anxiety, anger, and fear. They are avoiding pain and struggle. This encourages selfish and poor decisions.
I recently heard of a woman that left her husband and daughter to go live with a porn star. That’s a good move?!? Most people follow the whims of their heart although they are really just avoiding struggle.
Sometimes we give too much heed to our emotions that say, “that is scary …I am afraid … what if???” Sometimes controlling this can be as simple as saying, I can do this. I am strong enough. I can do hard things. Teach this to your children.
Dali Lama said: “Happiness is a trained mind.”
Start with one thing in your life that is burdening you. Choose to face it and conquer your fears. Make a decision based on what you know will be best, not easiest. You will be stronger because of it. Now repeat as necessary.
2. Commit your heart
There might be some things you cannot control.
God, give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed,
The courage to change what can be changed,
and the wisdom to know one from the other.
Andy Andrews said in The Travelers Gift, “Most people fail at whatever they attempt because of an undecided heart. Should I? Should I not? Go forward? Go back? Success requires the emotional balance of a committed heart. When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape.“
Find a way to accomplish what you want and don’t give up. Don’t listen to those that don’t believe in you. Move forward and find a way.
3. Go uphill first
The path of least resistance does not make things easier. You know as well as I do that there is cause and effect in everything we do. If you try and take the easy path, there will be consequences for your choices. Often the payment comes in dealing with the aftermath of a decision. You are going to face the pain and struggle at one point, so why not now, on your terms?
When I mountain bike, of course, I want everything to be downhill. I always remind myself that I have to go up in order to come down. I earn my downhill by going up first. Life is the same way. If you start with the downhill, you will have to go back up to go home. Earn your downhill. Do the hard things first.
4. What’s Next
Only the mediocre are always at their best. (Jean Giraudoux)
I had a sales manager one time that would always ask, what’s next? He knew that I needed to move forward and set my sights on what was next. Even if you have just failed at something, it is important to set your sights on what’s next. Move forward. Be better.
Be your best and keep moving forward. Where will you be three weeks from now? You will have struggled if you work hard and put yourself out there. You will have fought to get out of your shell. The struggle will make you stronger.
5. Stick with it
Whenever there is a goal worth accomplishing, you will reach a point of frustration or stumbling block in your efforts. If you can conquer that frustration you can push past the roadblocks that are in front of even the most gifted and successful of humankind.
I had a manager who once told me that he didn’t care what the work was, he just wanted to do whatever would work best. He said, “I am going to be doing something anyway, so I might as well do the hard things.” He was very successful.
You have standards for yourself. Wherever you set your standard is where you are comfortable. Not your hopes and dreams but your comfort level. It is not just about the effort it’s about higher standards. Where are you comfortable right now? Are you comfortable with your relationships, your income, or your accomplishments at work? When becoming a high achiever makes you feel comfortable and not glorious, you will perform highly. You will have to perform high and feel good about yourself.
Michael Jordan said that the reason he has been so successful is that he had higher standards for himself than anyone else.
To win life battles and to teach others to win as well, it really takes practice. Just like a professional athlete has to train, we do too. Train your brain. Don’t seek escape, Go uphill first, Be your best and move forward, and stick with it. #keystosuccess.