This past weekend, my husband bought a new Cross pen. As far as pens go, it was at the lower end of price but still, it’s a beautiful pen. A sleek, red barrel with a shiny silver clip and point. I admired it and then mentioned how my latest “trade show pen” was starting to sputter. He gifted me with my own pen, featured above.
The Cowboy and I both dabble in calligraphy, although he’s more committed. Years ago I gave him a handcrafted wooden box for his supplies. On Saturday, he hauled it out and proceeded to work on his alphabet while experimenting with various versions of his own creation.
He’s skilled with his lettering and improves the more he puts time into it. Calligraphy is a beautiful art but it takes time to acquire the skill and even more to perfect it.
And taking time to get really good at something seems to be the last thing most people want to do.
The hidden cost of success
We just witnessed the 2014 Winter Olympics where athletes from all over the world competed for the coveted gold medal. What we didn’t see was the thousands of hours that went into getting good enough to compete in the Olympics.
We didn’t see the times when the athlete had to wake up at 3 AM or practice for hours on end. We didn’t see how they had to forego hanging out with friends late on a Friday night because they had an early morning appointment with the gym the next day.
We didn’t see the mistakes, the falls, the missteps. We didn’t see the doubts, frustrations or weariness.
What we did see, was incredible acts of strength, endurance and grace.
So the question is… what are you doing in the hidden hours of early morning?
How are you meeting each day and investing that time so that tomorrow you’ll be better?
What sacrifices have you made for your art?
Why are you doing what you do? And is what you’re doing leading you toward success?
Learn what you need to say “yes” to
I have no idea where you are right now mentally, emotionally or physically. You may be in a great place, having taken stock of your dream and committing to seeing it become a reality. You may have already realized it’s going to take a lot of work but you’re up for the challenge.
Or you could be in a place where you’ve already invested a lot of time and energy and still aren’t where you want to be and you’re not sure if you’ll ever get there.
Remember: commitment is a daily decision. You may have started out with your dream to do something and committed to it but yet didn’t realize that every day you have to say “yes” to what needs to be done and “no” to what doesn’t.
You say “yes” to whatever gets you toward your dream.
You learn to say “no” to whatever will hinder you.
It’s complicated. But the winners will tell you that it always has been this way and always will be.
You want the gold? You want perfect letters in your calligraphy?
You practice. And practice. And practice. You do it until you feel you can’t do it anymore, then you rest and then do it again.
The gold isn’t given to those who give a half-hearted effort, who only decide to produce or create when they feel like it.
The gold is for those who pushed through the not-wanting-to-do-it moments so they can relish the time when it all came together in one beautiful masterpiece of strength, execution and speed.
Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident, sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice.
So decide now because destiny waits for no man. And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you you’re not ready for it, listen instead for that lone voice in dissent… the one that says you are ready, you are prepared, it’s all up to you now.