“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” — Japanese Proverb
What’s the difference-maker between people who make meaningful progress and those who do not?
- Those who do NOT, give up; while thinking it shouldn’t be this hard.
- Those who do, give up and then get back up; realizing it’s supposed to be hard.
It’s easy to assume that it’s supposed to be easy. I mean, here we have a vision in our minds and hearts of what we’d like to create, and maybe it looks clear, clean, and effortless. However, the reality of moving in that direction seems messy and full of setbacks, delays, and utter failures.
Naturally, the disparity between the two, our vision and reality, leads us to the assumption that… “We are just not good enough to make it happen, and should probably just give up now.” Or some other form of inner dialog that diminishes our worth, value, and capability.
To be honest, I meet this type of inner dialog, in some form or flavor, every year, month, week, and day, and I have for what seems like my entire life.
What I do find interesting and curious, though, is that as I’ve grown over the years, I see that I’m less inclined to “give up.” Yet, I still have my moments where it looks like I’ve given up.
Discernment: Giving Up vs. Moving On
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” – Walter Elliot
There’s a very distinct difference between giving up and moving on; however, it’s not so easy to see when we are drowning in self-judgment. Beating ourselves up, with a barrage of thoughts that declare we’re dumb, stupid, and weak, clouds the vision and makes it impossible to see our situation objectively.
Maybe as a side note: This is a huge relationship manipulation tactic. If you want to control someone else, you cloud their vision by wanting them to feel fearful – guilty, wrong, or… dumb, etc. You want them to feel powerless. We can play this game with ourselves, by the way, since we are in a relationship with ourselves. The tendency to fearfully diminish what we are is a twisted way of feeling powerful; kind of like engaging in self-harm.
The difference between giving up and moving on, in my view (obviously), is the following.
- Abandoning a project or goal due to the difficulty of the journey. It involves feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, and uncertain about how to move forward.
Giving up is like saying… “This is too hard, and it makes me feel like a failure, so I’m not going to engage it anymore because I would rather not feel that way.”
Giving up is running away from our shadows, where we encounter our inner darkness, our inner self-hatred and retreat into a surface-level comfort where we are no longer challenged.
- Making adjustments to a project or goal due to repeated patterns of failure. Moving on is a learning opportunity where one is still focused on moving through difficulty rather than avoiding it.
Moving on is like saying… “Okay, so this clearly isn’t working. How do I need to adjust my expectations and where I’m putting my energy and resources, so I might allow for more solid progress?”
Moving forward is a deeper level of self-honesty and pragmatism that is lost in one’s “feelings” about what’s happening. There’s a beautiful objectivity here, one that both honors the reality of your experience and the reality of the experience you’d like to grow into.
See the Real Prize
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
It’s natural, but mistaken, to assume that the “real” prize is the fulfillment of every detail within the vision we might have – at any given moment of our lives. The mistake here is to not see that the vision is only a direction that sets the stage for us to “acquire” what it is we really want.
What do you really want? Well, I will, arrogantly or boldly, tell you:
- You want to grow as a human being.
- You want to see yourself, others, and life more clearly.
- You want to not be a slave to self-imposed limitations that restrict the beauty and brilliance of what you are.
The magic of this is that as you connect with what you really want, the real prize, it unequivocally has to have a positive and powerful influence on your experience of life – regardless of where you end up in this life.
And parallel with the magic is the disaster. If you do not connect with the real prize and grow, but somehow you reach your “vision” (the outside looks how you want), the lack of growth will result in an experience that is still full of the same limitations you were trying to run away from.
The Relationship Failure – Giving Up
The most brilliant example of this, of course, is in relationships. The insights shared about romantic relationships speak volumes to our relationship with building a vision. The principles remain the same.
Playfully, imagine a man who is running around from relationship to relationship, looking for some vision of a beautiful partner. If he doesn’t grow in his capacity to move beyond self-imposed limitations, then it doesn’t matter who he ends up with. He’s only going to keep encountering the unmet growth – which is what he really wanted to begin with.
This man (🙄 this isn’t my experience, for sure 🙈) was looking to the vision to resolve his problems rather than allowing the vision to set the stage for him to face his problems. If he encountered difficulties and wasn’t ready to face them, then he would “give” up on the vision and go find a new one; only to run into the same difficulty again and again, and again.
Comically, something else we do is have a vision for something, and the opportunity shows up at our doorstep. But… what also shows up is the opportunity to face our shadows.
In our adorable attempts to avoid our shadows, we take this “perfect opportunity” and find a way to destroy it, so we don’t have to face what is challenging. Most of us are masters at convincing ourselves with 10,000 reasons why it’s not the right time (Give Up). When deep down, we’ve been praying for such an opportunity to come along.
Moving On, in Relationships
The real prize in relationships is not capturing the vision we have of the relationship; it’s the growth we will experience in the relationship we have with ourselves.
A common playful disaster in clinging to the vision is we end up staying in relationships that don’t serve the primary opportunity for growth. In fact, we sacrifice growth, so we might capture our vision in the future.
This is also like staying in a job where you’re not growing, and the environment forces you to compromise your values because you want the vision of “job security.” That speaks to one’s “relationship” with their job.
Just as with romantic relationships, people often stay in abusive situations because they fear losing their vision of what it “might be.” Thinking the vision is the prize, rather than their opportunity to grow and… honor their own worth and value.
- Making adjustments to a project or goal due to repeated patterns of failure.
Regarding the relationship goal or project that shows itself as “not working,” we are invited to get honest with ourselves.
“Okay, so this clearly isn’t working. How do I need to adjust my expectations and where I’m putting my energy and resources, so I might allow for more solid progress?”
The answer to this will be different for everyone, depending on where they are on their journey of growth. However, what will be the same is the requirement for deeper self-honesty.
Possible Relationship Questions to consider:
- Am I staying in this relationship because I’m afraid of losing my vision, while also subjecting myself to someone who doesn’t support me in moving through challenges?
- Am I running away from my inner difficulty, even though there is a supportive environment to help me move through them?
- Am I being motivated by fear, or am I motivated by a love that honors myself the opportunities I have?
Choose the Hard Path
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
Choose the hard path, not the dumb path. Of course, I say that super playfully because… I still do quite a few dumb things regularly.
I’m inspired by that, though, to remind myself that I’m pretty dumb sometimes in my choices. And, those dumb things are usually the avoidance of the hard things; the hard things that I know would contribute to what I truly crave.
The best time to stop doing dumb things was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.
And then, again, tomorrow, after I did some more dumb things.
The question I find here, for myself, is:
- How honest can I be with myself about the difference between hard and dumb things?
Hear me clearly, though. I’m not saying to… judge yourself for the dumb things; I’m saying, “be honest with yourself about them.”
As I’ve said before:
- Life is hard in both directions; meaningful growth is hard, and avoiding growth makes for a hard life.
We must choose the “hard” we want; not seek an easy life by way of avoiding the hard things. Avoiding “hard” is dumb because we don’t grow, and growing is what we truly desire.
Curiously, as you get better at doing the hard things, then the hard things become easier, which contributes to an… “easier?” life. That’s definitely not the right words (easier life), but I think you get my point.
Want some help doing the hard things… and not giving up on what you know is deeply important? Well… that’s what the HeartBased Solopreneur Group Training is for; a small community of devoted hearts looking to make small, consistent, and meaningful steps toward building a successful solopreneur business.
Oh! Also!!! I’m preparing the launch of the HeartBased Deep Divers’ Support Group. This is a small group training and community project where I’ll be taking a focused group of people through a 3-month journey to…