ADAM'S HARDSHIPS [VI]
Each boy needs endurance to become a man. You won’t achieve much without it. Even if you realize what your weaknesses are, even if you have the best mentors around you, you can’t improve yourself without effort or determination.
A real man tries to imitate a good athlete. The best athletes achieve extraordinary results not just because they are gifted, though it’s important as well, but because of long hours of sweat, of toilsome, titanic work. And we can notice the analogy in our life — good does not come instantly. There’s a need of tough, tedious effort and determination to achieve something. You may think of muscles, but it gets harder when you want to mould your character and your way of thinking. Why is this so difficult? Here’s a couple of reasons. One of them is the way we were brought up. In the past, people were taught to be responsible, hard-working, and diligent. Children went to school on foot, carrying their backpacks, and after coming back home they had to help in the house and outside. On the other hand, the society raised right now is weak and clumsy. Bent and world-weary grandmas accompany children to school, dragging their grandson’s bag that is reputedly to heavy for him. But what if the youth is too weak because they spend all their time in front of the computer, sitting with a crumpled back? I may name this generation the instant society. Young people believe that they can do everything just by clicking the left button of their mouse. But life is brutal, and sadly, many of these adults-to-be can’t handle the reality and take their own life.
The second reason is the laziness. Changes are difficult, effort, labor, and thinking is required. Exactly — thinking. And, well, thinking often hurts. We need to say it out loud, most of us overuse autopilot. We switch to this mode whenever we can. We follow common patterns, words, and behavior. You may have caught yourself when you were on your way back home from work. Suddenly you realized that you don’t remember all these crossed junctions, turns, and so on, but now you are in front of your house. Yes, you just made use of autopilot.
How then can we develop endurance?
First of all, you must be aware of what endurance is. It’s a trait that means relentless, persistent, steadfast, and patient stand in the face of obstacles, persecution, hardships, difficulties, and temptations. A man of endurance is firm when coping with difficulties, he never gives up. When he falls down, he raises up; when he meets the wind, he follows; he spots the goal and the reward beyond his pain.
We want to be that kind of men and people! We don’t want to feel sorry for ourselves, get bitter, or to simply give up. Therefore we need to do things that we know will be difficult. Only then we will cross them, we will progress.
To achieve that, we have to set ourselves some goals. First, we need to set a long-term goal. It’s the one that may require a long time, maybe many years, to accomplish. If we want to get rid of the feelings of low-esteem, to learn how to be assertive and firm, we need to give ourselves some time — it won’t come automatically. However, there’s a trap in a long-term goal. Quickly and often we may face the periods of stagnation, regress, and discouragement. That’s absolutely normal and we have to expect it. We may need to literally choke the force of bad habit, and deliberately switch from autopilot to manual. It will hurt, but now we are ready. What else is needed to persist? We need to set some short-term goals. These are the checkpoints. They are necessary, we will fail without them. They help us to control our progress. They motivate us, are something measurable and noticeable. They let us keep the smile on our face and warm us to the further toil.
TURN OFF THE AUTOPILOT AND LIVE CONSCIOUSLY
Heading to maturity is similar to learning a new language. What is interesting, due to our brain’s abilities, there is no difference if you learn a new language at the age of 5 or 90. The problems are the barriers we create in our minds — it’s all about our mindset. The adult is aware that learning is difficult, that he needs to make effort, and to work. The child is not aware of that; the process begins and lasts — comes automatically. But the brain of this child and the brain of this adult do basically the same work. The adult counts the time spent on learning, checks what he achieved so far. The child does not do that, though learning a language takes many years for it too! When it’s little, it only speaks a few words, then after years learns how to read and write — finally to interpret. Though we may say that the adult learns faster because he captures all these fields at once, but he judges the time in a different way, being aware of how much work is ahead of him and what mistakes he made.
We can clearly see that time is necessary to become a mature man. Don’t refrain from giving yourself plenty of time. Enjoy even even the smallest success. Remember that a sinful man has the right to fall. But what counts is not how many times you fall, but how many times you get up. And remember: Never give up!