We all want to be the best possible version of ourselves. We take pride in our successes and try not to dwell too much on our failures. We are continuously learning, growing and changing. We make small changes to our character and attitudes all the time. We learn understanding, compassion, grace or generosity from others. Similarly we can learn intolerance, ignorance, hurt and deceit from the behaviours or reactions of others.
We all try to be a little bit better, stronger or warmer. Yet everyday we experience failures to some degree. From time to time we can come across what seem to be insurmountable walls, obstacles that seem too big for us to overcome.
We look at others, how they scale their walls with ease and wonder is it something we’re doing wrong? Are we weak? Are we destined to sit behind that wall forever and never see the other side? I believe the key to being your best version of yourself is not to be the person to scale the wall first time, every time. The key is to pick yourself up and keep on trying, every single time. I think we learn more and grow more as a result of facing up to these challenges than we actually do from the final act of overcoming them.
There are some truly insurmountable walls that in truth we’ll never beat, but to be perfectly honest most of the walls we meet are those we build ourselves. We decide in advance we can’t do something, or we quit after the first half-hearted attempt. Our strength lies not in our ability to scale these walls but in our ability to keep on trying.
Can you imagine never facing up to the wall? Never trying to get to the other side? Sitting down behind it and shaking with cowardice. Or worse, convincing yourself that you never really wanted to scale that wall anyway, all the while accepting your lot and never achieving your possibilities.
I try to work hard at not lying to myself. I stumble at my walls regularly, as I’m sure we all do but I will usually pick myself up pretty quickly. I pride myself in my resilience, my ability to dust myself off and try again. I’m not particularly special, I’m no better than anyone else but I will keep trying and keep a tight hold of the strength of will that allows me to do it. Some call it stubbornness, I like to call it determination.
When we stop trying; we stop learning, we stop growing, we abandon our dreams and we cease to be valuable to our loved ones.
After all, a diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.