First I’d like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love connected to my last piece. It’s been a lot like walking through the dark without a flashlight or a destination. The overwhelming response has secured that I’m not alone and don’t have to be if I don’t want to be.
We’re on the brink of 2013. What does that mean? A whole bunch of useless resolutions no one followed through on will be laid to rest and a new host drawn up. Only 8% of the population achieves their New Years resolutions. Eight percent?! How inspiring, right?
So what’s the problem? Why do we fall short so frequently when we set our goals for the year? Ask anyone and you’ll be cited a multitude of reasons. Didn’t focus enough on short-term goals, bit off more than we could chew, had a tragedy… whatever. Everyone has a good reason. Some of them even sound valid. The truth, though, is that impending tidal wave feeling you get when you’re alone at night– lying in bed thinking about the things you didn’t do today.
That’s right. You didn’t give enough. You’ve been measured and found wanting.
I was at the gym with a friend of mine last night. He’s five years younger than me, smokes a pack of cigarettes less than me and is in all around better physical shape. After trying his “best” he failed at reaching a ten minute mile. He was all red and panting like a pervert caught in the bushes, swearing to me he ‘just couldn’t do it.’ I hate running with a passion. It gives me shin splints, I have to hold back the vomit after a quarter-mile and I feel like the guy that farted during the moment of silence with each flat-footed step. But I cranked my treadmill up to 8 and ran full blast. Nine minute mile.
Because I’m an asshole. Yeah, sure. That’s PART of it.
Here, laugh at me.
More importantly, though, I wanted to prove something to him and myself. What the mind can conceive the body can achieve. You CAN do it. You can stop sucking. Right now, in this moment, you can make the decision that “I will no longer suck.” But you have to work for it and it’s a daily decision to be awesome.
I don’t do this myself all the time. I don’t even resolve to most of the time. Realistically, in this everyone wins society we’ve created, it’s not necessary to hit a home run every time you swing the bat. I’ve hit those home runs, though, and I know what they take. Sometimes I look at the ball coming at me and decide it’s just too much work. Ain’t worth it.
The problem with having hit a few home runs is that you know how great it feels. You know the energy that brings that irresistible smile over your face from having your name called out to a crowd of your respected peers to be recognized as having performed above the status quo. The sense of electricity that comes from being a part of something new and exciting– something not everyone experiences. Your hairs standing up when people stand and cheer for you because you accomplished what even you doubted you could. Once you’ve experienced it you cannot forget it.
So what will you do?
Hang on to your job, being thankful just for having one? Sure. That’s great. Be mediocre, you get more than one shot at this life, right? Wrong. There is no reset button or autosave feature here, ladies and gents. This is it– the big game.
I’m a gambler. Love it– love rolling the dice and splitting aces. Problem is you get burnt one time and it’s easy to become gun-shy. Every roll’s a loser as I sulk and curse the damned smiling dealer in his stupid bow tie.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
The weight isn’t going to fall off overnight, you may not quit smoking the first shot, and they may not call you back. But why not try. Instead of taking this attitude toward life when you’ve only begun to see the sun over the horizon. It will be hard. Your mind will tell you that it isn’t worth it. Five pounds into that twenty, when you look in the mirror and see the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, don’t listen. You don’t feel good about how you look? So what. Friends partying every night and having fun while you’re eating bologna to save for that vacation? Screw them.
Don’t be scared to swing and miss.
The margin for error is much wider than we expect. There have been one-hundred and eighty-two batters with a batting average above 300 in the history of baseball. However, there’s only been twenty-one with more than 5,000 at bats to retire with a higher batting average than number of strikeouts.
You don’t have to be in the twenty-one to make it to the Hall of Fame.
So this year, swing for the fences. When opportunity throws you a fastball bring everything you’ve got. You’ll strike out. A lot. You won’t, however, be wondering what would’ve or why you didn’t come the next big apocalypse scare.
You can do it. If you don’t believe you can, believe that I believe.