A Goal You Can Quit is the Hardest to Achieve

A man does not know the true measure of himself until he has been challenged. It is in the conscious decision to continue when the mind and body demand cessation, to persevere against adversity that shows whether or not a man is worth the skin he wears and the space he inhabits. Fruits of labor would not be so cherished if the work necessary to obtain them were simple or easy. A true challenge is what is necessary to bring one to the limit of his endurance and surpass it.

There are two types of challenges, which come from two separate sources: outside or inside. Outside challenges are jobs, education, or raising a family. These tests are the type that will not provide you with an opportunity to fail or quit without consequence. You must continue despite whatever obstacles arise.

The second type is infinitely more difficult. A challenge that comes from inside is one that you set for yourself, such as exercise, or writing, or something as simple as waking up early. These tasks seem simple but in truth are far more difficult precisely because you have set them for yourself. If you fail, there is no immediate consequence. There may be no consequence at all for getting an extra hour of sleep or skipping a day of writing, except for failure itself.

That hardest challenges in the world are not those that are steep or long, but those which surround you with the desire (and opportunity) to give up. When you are exhausted, ready to collapse, and a voice whispers in your ear “It’s ok to lie down and quit, no one will blame you,” it is a torture all its own. Nothing will hold you up except your own determination to carry on and succeed at what you told yourself you would do.

When the voice of despair slithers into my pulsing ear, it is all the more imperative that I look forward and see my goal. Thousands of reasons will fly through my mind as to why I could stop, why I should quit and have peace. Those thousands do not matter, not in the least. I only need one reason to continue: because I told myself I would.

2 Responses to “A Goal You Can Quit is the Hardest to Achieve”
  1. Karen says:

    You have learned an important lesson, doing what is right, what is good for you or others, feels good in and of its self. You will succeed in whatever you chose with that as the motivation.

  2. Chuck McEwen says:

    One of your very best articles. All of your post reveal a genuine talent for using the written word to convey ideas with clarity and power. But this article and your “Ode tro a Trampoline” demonstrate a maturity and an understanding of the human psyche that is rarely found in a 23 year old. Keep at it! Certainly there is a good job waiting somewhere to employ all you have to offer.

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