My boots leave holes beneath the snow
They reach up to my knees
A trodden path I keep in tow
Should I ever choose to leave
Colossal trees seem to rise
To heights that have no end
Their sodden oak feels so dry
Immune to moisture’s bend
Thickening fog makes me pause
And squint to find my bearing
I am distraught to be lost
The voice within is staring
The step behind calls my name
And beckons me to look back
The step in front has not been made
And is silent without a hand
This forest is enclosing me in
So much safer if I left it
But just as I chose to begin
I walk on to find the exit


It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s that you won’t do it.

Solving a problem requires persistence, not innate ability. If you simply choose to spend more time, the solution to a problem will eventually surface. If you give up before you have had the chance to see progress, not only will you miss out on the solution, but you will mistakenly be under the impression you are incapable of discovering it. Do not let helplessness in the face of difficulty cause you to give up.

Mastering something requires practice, not predisposition. There is no difficulty in the act of practicing, the process itself is very straightforward: simple repetition. The only hurdle in the way is your own dread of committing so much time to it. If mastery is your ultimate goal, there is no problem left to solve, only a choice to make. This does not mean you should narrowly focus on one goal without reevaluating if it has the same priority for you as it did before. It is legitimate to shift focus to something you truly desire instead of continuing to go down a path you will eventually regret.

There is a misconception that you need to be born with a penchant for learning in order to be successful. Genius is not an abnormal capacity to learn, it is an abnormal hunger to learn. The only thing standing in your way of achieving something is yourself. If you concede before you even start that you are not capable of doing it, you’ve already lost.

There are some very specific things that require an innate physical or artistic talent, things that simply cannot be trained. If that born talent is there, the only obstacle left is your own desire to work harder than anyone else. If that talent is not there, which for most of us is the case, that leaves everything else in this world to choose from. All you have to do is pick. When it comes to actually receiving an opportunity to be formally trained for such a skill, or compensated, or join a team of like minded individuals, we may not always be recognized. But that isn’t the reason you should be doing it in the first place. The commitment to practice and work harder than anyone else is exclusively within your control. There are simply too many learning resources at your disposal for there to be any excuse that something cannot be learned, practiced, and mastered on your own.

Every challenge should be met with the certainty that not only can it be overcome, but it will be overcome. It may require tackling it one step at a time, it may require shifting priorities in other areas. Capitulation at any point is not an indication that the challenge has become insurmountable, but that you’ve chosen to give up.


Situational Questions

  • If you have chosen to change the direction of your goals, are you doing it on your own terms? Or is it in reaction to a setback that has made it feel too difficult? Are you falling back to a more comfortable state?
  • When confronted with a problem, do you get angry with yourself because a solution is not immediately apparent? Have you considered stepping away, letting it simmer in the back of your mind as you attack other tasks, and then coming back to it? Have you tried getting input from people you trust?


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