January 8

Today's quotation:

Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead. . . .  You can only see one thing clearly and that is your goal.  Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin.

Kathleen Norris

Today's Meditation:

Many people start things that they want to accomplish-- projects, novels, crafts, screenplays--but give up long before they finish what they started.  What makes them stop?  For many, it's a question of frustration, a question of reaching some sort of obstacle that they aren't able to get over.  Perhaps they're building a small boat of their own, and they've broken a particular piece four times already and they don't think they'll ever get past that point.  In my case, it has to do with sending tons of letters to agents and publishers trying to get representation for my novels, but receiving only rejections and having dealt with three agents who turned out to be scam artists.

As I write these words, I realize that no matter what has happened so far, I often let the difficulties determine my actions.  I might have received a lot of rejections, but Richard Bach received I think over 100 rejections before Jonathan Livingston Seagull finally was published.  I believe the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book was rejected 70 or more times before it finally was published.  I haven't contacted nearly that number of agents and publishers, which means that I still have some work to do, no?

Colonel Sanders tried to sell his recipes to over 1,000 restaurants before someone finally bought it.  He was rejected over 1,000 times, but he still kept going strong, often sleeping in the back of his car while he searched for someone who would have enough foresight to purchase what he had to sell.  His mind was on his goal, though, and there wasn't anything that could have kept him from accomplishing that goal.

If we acknowledge that there will be obstacles and setbacks in anything that we undertake, it will be easier for us to do what we need to do.  When the obstacles rear their heads, we'll be ready to deal with them.  Working our way through and around obstacles in order to fulfill our dreams helps us to develop methods of coping with life, helps us to develop our techniques of problem-solving.  When I read Kathleen's words and I think of the dedication and perseverance shown by Bach, Canfield & Hansen, and Harland Sanders, I know that I must stick to my dreams and keep working to reach them.  If I suddenly die in a few years and still haven't reached those dreams, at least I'll know that I continued to try to reach them instead of giving up.

Questions to consider:

Why is it important to work through obstacles if we're trying to accomplish what we see as an important goal?

How do you normally respond to setbacks?  What kinds of responses might be more effective for you?

Why is it so easy to give up after we've run into many obstacles?

Are we going to accomplish all of our goals?  When might we consider giving up a particular goal?

For further thought:

The gem cannot be polished
without friction, nor people
perfected without trials.

Chinese saying

  

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