Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. Abraham Maslow
Perseverance is what we need to develop if we are to succeed at anything. It is so easy to want to quit when the going gets hard. As I walked my dog this morning I wondered how many people have uttered, “I want a divorce.” Wishing they could take it back. How many of them have been able to take it back?
How many of us gave up interests, jobs, relationships we wish we’d pursued. How many of us looking back now realize life isn’t easy, and thinking it should be made us give up on pursuits and people.
Not every relationship should be continued, nor should we stay with every job or career. How do we know when we should stay and when we should go, when we should hold, and when we should fold? This is where discernment comes in. Sometimes we can’t get better while we stay where we are, and we can’t achieve greatness where we are by leaving.
Vince Lombardi said, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” Is clinging to an impossible dream wise? Haven’t many lives been wasted this way, or have they been well lived even if they didn’t attain what they wanted in the end? Isn’t the journey what is important?
Seth Godin says we should differentiate between two kinds of challenges. We all experience moments of doubt, when throwing in the towel is attractive. We need to discern are we in a dip or a cul de sac. This sounds like a good analogy, a dip would indicate going higher once we get through this tough part. A cul de sac would be going round and round but getting nowhere.
We need to ask ourselves hard questions when we are faced with hard decisions like ending marriages and businesses. Quitting a job seems like part of how we climb up the ladder so unless we are getting out of a field getting a new job may propel us toward our goals.
Do we need to ask ourselves some hard questions? What do we want out of life? Do we just want easier, is quitting likely to get us that? We may feel we are married to the most difficult person on the planet, but it is unlikely to be true. Time is the secret to long marriages, and getting through the dips is how they become long. Is making them happy our day to day challenge?
We need to calculate the cost of reaching our goal. If we continue on the road we are on, we are not on other roads. Would we rather be on other roads? Would success on this road not be as fulfilling as the journey on another road?
What is “that thing” that if we could fulfill our dreams it would be the one thing we have to do. How can we incorporate it into our lives? If we love to sing, but becoming a recording artist doesn’t seem in the cards, or isn’t even our dream, how can we make singing part of our life?
We could join a church choir, or a community choir, or both? Could we join a local band? We can sing lullabies to our children, and serenade our spouse. We could create a family ensemble even if we only sing at home. Could we put our songs on YouTube?
The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy. Abraham Maslow
We sometimes think it is only worthwhile doing something if it makes money. I laugh when people ask me if I make money from my blog. Not yet, but it isn’t only worth it if I get money. It might even be less worth it if a price was put on it. When we do things for the love of doing them, while we do other things that keep body and soul together we may have the best of both worlds.
Life should not be only about work, and money. If we create balance in our life with pursuits that pay us with money and pursuits that feed our soul. We may end up with the best lives.
Maybe we don’t need a goal for our singing if we can just find time to sing. Do we need a goal if we find time to write, paint, quilt, garden, walk, jog, mountain climb, swim, make wood carvings, etc?
Money is important, but only for what it can do for us. More money may be a little like getting more pets. The first pet filled an empty hole in our life. We keep trying to fill other empty holes with more pets or more money but it doesn’t work that way. We need to find what is missing in our life to fill the empty spaces.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
These are biological requirements for survival, food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep.
These are protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.
Love and belonging
These are social and belonging needs, friendship, intimacy, trust, acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love, and being part of a group.
Esteem for oneself, dignity, achievement, mastery, independence, respect, reputation, status, prestige.
We desire to realize our personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences. It is our desire to become all that we are capable of becoming.
The more of these needs we can meet in our life, the happier and more fulfilled we will be according to Maslow.
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. Abraham Maslow
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