The past couple of days have been rough on an emotional level. On Tuesday I was just hit hard with an old companion – Defeatism. That is what I have long labelled my depression. That is the mask it wears. Self-crushing doubt and worthlessness. That no matter what I do it is all worthless and wasted effort. That I have already failed and even if I gain some measure of success I certainly do not deserve it.
It has been some time since I actually had my old friend knocking on my door so loudly. In recent times it has been a quiet thing which I could acknowledge, sit down with, and ultimately move forward happily without ignoring or bottling any emotions. Basic Jedi meditation and reflection was more than enough to confront my defeatism and walk away with a smile. But Tuesday I was done. That soul-crushing feeling that any effort, getting out of bed, getting food, typing on a computer, getting a cup of tea or coffee, all of it was pointless and the last thing I wanted to do. I was done. Done with the struggle, done with life, simply done. I wanted to end my romantic relationship – too much effort. I wanted to quit my job. I wanted to throw away my computer and video game systems. Quit everything and just be done with it all. Fortunately all of that would have required effort. Also fortunately I have been doing this Jedi thing for some time and have long recognized my Defeatist self.
Yesterday didn’t help as my cell phone decided to die on me. And to get a new phone is going to cost me around 400$. I had to cancel a trip with my girlfriend. A recurring medical issue was acting up. Yesterday seemed to be a day to justify how I was feeling on Tuesday. To show me – nope, not just an emotional low, there is a reason for this feeling see? You haven’t achieved your goals. You are spinning your wheels. You are digging a hole deeper and deeper in pursuit of goals you don’t know will materialize. And this is what you have to show for it.
Nothing has changed today. Today I get my new phone. Yay spending money I don’t have! w00t!! Well that isn’t entirely true. There is a change. there is something different. I took the time not to fight how I was feeling, but to embrace it. To examine it and acknowledge the truth of it. It is absolutely true I am not where I want to be and I am not earning the paycheck I had hoped. Yet I have made the decision. This is my year. Why? Blind faith? Unrealistic optimism? A little bit, but more because I have made big strides. I have achieved a lot of steps necessary to achieve the success I want. I am not there yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t made progress. I have put in the work. I have sacrificed a lot. And I have seen the results of that effort. Not where I want or what I want, but that doesn’t mean it is worthless or wasted. Just means the road is further than I desire. But it always is.
We want instant results. We want the lottery win. We want the overnight success. But that is the exception, not the rule. Many fail in pursuit of their dreams and goals. But a lot of those people fail because they quit. They give up. The sacrifices become too much. There is a line everyone has in which they will call it quits. This is why they say genius and success require madness. Because it is a touch of insanity that pushes people beyond that line. It is that absolute refusal to throw in the towel until the goal has been achieved. And by that time it isn’t about money or success – it is about completing and accomplishing the goal/dream you set out too. Even if no one sees it but yourself – you are willing to cross that finish line no matter the cost. And that is what is different today. I am not done yet. And my old friend Defeatism can kiss my … because I haven’t finished yet. I still feel unmotivated today. I feel weak and wrecked. But I gave my friend his say. I listened. I acknowledged. I embraced. And now I am I saying – who cares? So I am not there yet. So what? Doesn’t mean I won’t be. I never thought I would have been interviewed. Never thought I’d have a literary agent. Progress has been made and it is going to be continued to be made. It has taken me twenty years just to be at the beginning. And if it takes me fifty years to see the end, so be it. I am willing to make that choice.
I will not allow fear (of failure or success) and self-pity to stop me. I have and will continue to make the choice to strive for my dreams. I will work for it and I will suffer those bad days. And I will happily look back at them. When I am standing at the end I will thank those days. Because they are valuable teachers. Reminding me of my limits and that I have the strength and power to go beyond them.
HAHA! So I originally just wanted to post the Power of the Jedi lesson on Infallibility. Seems I had something else I wanted to shout from my virtual rooftop. I am not done! Time to put in the work. See you at the top my loyal follower and thanks for taking the time. Failure is a lesson, not the end.
Jedi must understand that failure should never be the end. The Jedi Path places a heavy load on the Jedi, requiring almost superhuman traits for them to accomplish all it demands. In large and small ways, all Jedi eventually fail the challenges posed by the Path. They might act in anger or succumb to temptation. They might work against the balance of the Force, even with the best intentions. They will fall from the high ideals they hold.
True failure of a Jedi is not in stumbling or failing to live up to the ideals of the Order. The true failure occurs if, once having fallen, the Jedi fails to rise again. Jedi strive to live up to the Jedi Code and the teachings of their Masters. When (not if, but when) a Jedi fails to attain those goals, the only choices are to let the failure dominate her life, or to rise from the ashes of that defeat and strive to make peace with himself through the Force. That is the Way of the Jedi. – Power of the Jedi Sourcebook