I was reflecting on a memory I had of a time I fell short of a goal in college. I had been hopeful of landing an internship with a Congressman in Washington DC through an application process at the school. I struggled with various pieces of the application and procrastinated finishing it, all the while complaining that I wasn’t getting enough support. So my effort waned as did the potential quality and timeliness of my application. I didn’t get the internship.
As I remembered this not so pleasant experience in my life, I applied a “what I know and believe now versus what I wish I knew and believed then” mentality. Why is it that we often tend to focus on the wrong aspect of the challenge that is in front of us. Instead of accepting the fact that we could be putting forth more effort, we look for increased support from others. Support is great, but eventually we have to accept personal responsibility and put the work in for ourselves. After all, it’s our success we are trying to create, not someone else’s. Life is very unfair at times and without the ability of standing in the face of hardship, we will continue to fall short of who we can ultimately become.
We need to realize, accept, and use support for what it is, a starting point so we can improve and overcome obstacles on our own. Failing to do this and creating the expectation that support will get us over the finish line causes us to become too dependent and eventually incapable of standing alone. Support, when given properly, is slowly reduced so that the individual receiving it is just a little uncomfortable so they continue to put forth effort and grow. The ideas of only learning from mistakes and strength only comes from resistance are key.
A simple example is how you treat something you received for free as opposed to something you had to work hard to obtain. Another example is the lesson learned from failure. Four months later I found myself accepting an internship for a State Senator in Boston after having put together 32 application packets and mailing them (unsolicited) to multiple Senators and Representatives. I explain more about this idea of increasing effort in the face of decreased support with a more physically based example in the video. I’m sure you will realize I probably would have had more strength to get a few more pull ups in if I had just stopped complaining to my coach about not letting me run and jump. Have a listen. I’d love to hear your thoughts!