THE MARAUDERS OF DREAMS
If I could see myself and hear my own thoughts that night, I'd slap the bejeezus out of me. While lying in bed looking lazily at the ceiling, a gang of evil stepped out from the shadows in the dark corner of my mind.
"Why do I have to keep on doing this?"
"I'm so tired. I can just have it easy and stop doing this anymore."
"Nobody cares. Everyone's busy posting food pictures on Instagram anyway."
Working in an office by the day and living the writer's dream at night is no steamroll. Sometimes the scales are perfectly balanced but sometimes it's not and the expected harmony is thrown in disarray. When disarray happens, the second guessing begins. But this is life. This is the way it is. Nobody guaranteed a smooth road. Nobody is exempted from struggles.
If I caved in to the gang of evil, that would be a betrayal to my dreams. Luckily, the gang of evil was put to place by a battalion of good thoughts:
"I do this because this is my life's purpose."
"We all get tired sometimes and easy doesn't amount to much in the end. Easy is overrated."
"There are already people who care. Food pictures on Instagram have lost all their shine anyway."
And with that I propped myself up, placed my tools on my lap, and typed my fingers away for the passion.
If you're going to pursue your dream, it will not be easy. If you're going to transform your life, it will not be easy. And when you're in pursuit of something you want so bad, the struggle appears to be magnified. The pain is more painful. The hurt hurts more. The temptation to give up becomes stronger because continuing on the chosen path takes more power. But you must remember that nothing great comes easy. Tests and challenges are requirements before attaining something to be really proud of. Don't hate your struggles. It's an integral part of the roadmap to achieving your dreams. Without it, your journey is a fluke.
Here are five reminders (the battalion of good thoughts) for you to remember when you're going through some struggles. They will help you carry on.
1. YOU ARE CRAFTING YOUR STORY
How do you define a boring book or movie? It's one that doesn't have a plot or any challenge for the protagonists in it right, where the protagonist had it easy with nothing to overcome at all? Now imagine your life as the story of a book or a movie and think about your readers or viewers. Do you want to bore them to tears? Or would you rather have them put the book down or walk away from the big screen stating that they've just read the greatest book or saw the greatest film in their life? If you want to leave a great impression on your reader or viewer, it's time you look at your life that way - a great book or a great movie that is never without a struggle for you (the protagonist) in it.
Without struggles, your life will have no plot at all. A life where one can cruise by without acquiring the slightest of bruises or cuts teaches nothing and has no value at all. Consider what kind of story you want to craft your life into. Is it going to be a blockbuster or the next flash in the pan?
2. LIFE IS A WHEEL
Yes, it's a tired cliche that has probably lost its appeal. But it is a tired cliche that does not need to be reworded or rewrapped with buzz words because it is one of life's simple truths - life is indeed a wheel!
As the wheel turns, sometimes you're on top, sometimes you're at the bottom. You will never stay in one spot for too long. Is it something to grieve about? Of course not. When you're on top, life lets you experience the great things it has to offer. When you're at the bottom, life reminds you that you should cherish and appreciate your moments on top because your occupancy there is not permanent.
The paradox of life is that we only really learn the value of being on top when we hit the bottom and we learn appreciation of our time at the bottom when we reach the top.
While you're at the bottom of the wheel, remember that you do not have to stay there forever.
3. STRUGGLES PROVIDE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Are struggles hard? Yes. Can struggles be painful? Yes too. But you know what, they don't have to be hard and painful. You can turn them into the beautiful kind of hard and painful.
Struggles provide us with learning experience. They always teach us something: something bad we do that needs to be changed, something old we do that needs to be retired, or something new to do that needs to be incorporated in our lives. Think of your struggles as a special classroom session with a kick-ass teacher. Your lessons are unique and specifically catered to you and you alone. Nobody else will get the very same lesson.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether you will let your struggles remain ugly and painful or turn them into the beautiful kind of ugly and painful. As a student of life, how you learn your lessons determine whether you grow or not.
4. NEVER COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
We become easy preys of envy and jealous when we're at the bottom of the wheel and we find ourselves comparing our situation to those of others. Our insecurities surface. We feel pissed. We cry foul. Worst, we claim injustice.
No. Just no.
Never compare yourself with someone else especially when you're struggling. First, there is nothing to be gained in comparison. Your situation is entirely different from others. Second, you may be comparing your behind-the-scenes reel to somebody else's time in the spotlight. It's unfair to yourself. Before others earned their spotlight, they went through struggles and challenges behind the scenes too.
Nobody serves dough and bread on the same plate.
5. KEEP YOUR EYES ON YOUR OWN ROAD
After warding off the temptation to compare your situation against others, it's time to keep your eyes on your own road. Don't get distracted. Stay focused.
When you free yourself from distractions, procrastination, and non-essentials, you gain better awareness and understanding of your situation and problems that help you create solutions. You need to direct your energy into the important matter ahead because whether you admit it or not, you do not have an infinite amount of it.
A painter doesn't look over at the easel of another painter and strokes his brush there.
At several points in your life you'll be faced with struggles. You can't run away from it. It's inevitable. You can close your eyes and pretend it doesn't exist but that doesn't make it go away. The only way to get over your struggles is to get through it.
When you're struggling, remember this:
Your struggles. Your story. Your wheel. Your learning. Your behind-the-scened. Your road.
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