If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind - Seneca
By simply observing the life of Demosthenes, you would see a man who had profound clarity in what his goal in life was. He exhibited some of the most important qualities of a purposeful life like compassion, determination and persistence with chilling accuracy. Having suffered the loss of his parents at an early age, being robbed of his rightful inheritance that would pay for his education and overcoming a crippling speech impediment, no one could have imagined that this fragile, incapacitated little boy would one day be the heroic voice of Greece. It was his zoom-like focus, the ability to crush obstacles and attention to details that propelled him to turn his disadvantage into advantage, his mess into a message and his distractions into action.
In order to overcome his afflictions and become a powerful orator, Demosthenes took extreme measures to ensure that he would not fail. He most notably filled his mouth with small pebbles to force proper annunciation. He also shaved half of his head so he would be too embarrassed to be seen in public. This action forced himself to stay secluded from society in order to practice so he would stay on the path to success. These extreme scenarios presuppose more fundamental concepts like having a purpose, being intentional and not being side-tracked by everyday idiosyncrasies. Once his sights were set, there was pull-power that kept him on track.
If you don't have something worth working towards --something worth getting up in the morning for, then every day seems like treading water in a sea of mindless chores that don't add up to some ultimate purpose.
What is something that you have a burning desire to accomplish? Maybe it's acquiring a certain level of social status. Maybe it's seeking financial freedom or career independence. Perhaps it is an entrepreneurial endeavor you are seeking or maybe an attempt at deepening and strengthening a relationship. Maybe you are seeking freedom from addictions. Whatever the outcome, is it strong enough to pull you through the hard times? Are you able to be disciplined long enough to stay on track and not give in to temptations or nuance distractions? If you don't have something worth working towards --something worth getting up in the morning for, then every day seems like treading water in a sea of mindless chores that don't add up to some ultimate purpose.
"He who has a strong enough why, can bear any how." -Nietzsche
When you go all in to accomplish a goal and live out a dream, obstacles are inevitable. In fact, the harder it is to achieve, the greater it feels when you get the victory. As you grind through the challenge, never forget your reason why; for it is the why that you are even doing it in the first place. And as Nietzsche puts it, "He who has a strong enough why, can bear any how." With this in mind, as distractions and obstacles arise, you will be more likely to stay the course because your why is more powerful than the temporal affair you are dealing with at the present moment. Don't give into temptations or easy distractions. Everything that comes into your life on daily basis can be passed through a filter of 3 simple questions:
- Is this going to sacrifice any part of my integrity?
- Will this advance my disposition?
- Will this impede my action to achieving my goal?
If a behavior, relationship or decision can't pass through each layer of the filter with extreme certainty, then discard it and be thankful your journey wasn't interrupted. This will take discipline. It may also mean filtering out people in your life who are not congruent with you and your purpose. Sometimes in order to get to the destination, you have to navigate through treacherous waters. Truthfully, the deadly waters will always be there. It's those who have a clearly defined harbor to go to, that not only survive long enough to see a way out, but spend less time in the storm. Barely surviving is not why you were created. You were meant for so much more.