What Is Your Struggle?
Determination is the essence of greatness. No feat worth doing is accomplished without the desire to accomplish it. That feat could be as small as rising at 6am to work out or as large as curing cancer. All who strive will possess the resolve to do so, even in the face of adversity. Adversity can take on many forms, living or inanimate. For the person trying to wake up early, their struggle could be against the clock. For the person trying to become a great athlete, critics and words will try to bring them down. The person trying to cure cancer is matched up against pure evil, scientifically and otherwise. What makes each of these people go on? The answer can be derived through examining some of the great people in our world who overcame and conquered their foes. One of those people might even be you. Let me explain…
Relentless in the Face of Fear
The tale of Michael Jordan failing to make the varsity basketball team in high school is one of many over-referenced sports stories of perseverance, and doesn’t quite get to the heart of our featured quote by Michael J. Fox. The reigning 2013-14 NBA MVP’s story does, however. Kevin Durant’s childhood was full of hardship. He moved countless times from apartment to apartment with his mom and brother, most nights with fear of where dinner would come from. He spoke of the many negative voices telling him he didn’t belong during every step of his life. That negativity, both human and intangible, is what spurred Durant to broaden his dream from becoming a recreational league basketball coach to becoming an NBA superstar. He never surrendered his dignity to forces against him.
The Burden of Average
While being hungry and having nothing can sometimes seem like the greatest obstacle, relativity reveals another type of tribulation. In 2009, Brian Acton was a software engineer struggling to make the transition from having a job to having a career. He was constantly exposed to others in his industry who were enjoying success, while he lived in the proverbial dregs of the tech world, like a rabbit with a carrot just out of reach. His personal endeavors were turned down by social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook. Instead of treating those failures as a sign he wasn’t meant for anything more and surrendering to the malaise, Acton persisted and branched out on his own. Four years later, he was selling WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 Billion in cash and stock.
Resist and Persist
What is common among both of these examples? Tenacity, perseverance, determination? Yes. But what’s even more specific is that no matter the scenario, each person had to be told they couldn’t do something. I think every person in the world can understand and relate to that feeling. How many times have you been told you couldn’t do something? What’s more, how many times have you internally felt you couldn’t do something, simply writing it off as an impossibility? You may not have the 7-foot frame of Kevin Durant or the engineering chops of Brian Acton — I know I don’t. What you do have, however, is your own unique perspective and talent. The only way to turn that into something more is to be louder than the noise, bigger than the barriers, and stronger than the weight of negativity that will imminently fall on you. Remember, if someone or something is telling you that you can’t achieve your goal, you’re probably on the right track.