Do I contradict myself? Well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. – Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
When we hear stories of great achievements, we hear of the mountaineer with the inner fire to reach the peak. We hear of the accident survivor with the will to rebuild a shattered life. We hear of the leaders, the great ones, the superhumans whose unstoppable strength, steel spines and singular focus allow them to conquer nearly impossible tasks. The way it’s told, great achievements only come to those who are completely confident, perpetually driven, and never unsure of their direction.
Yet most of us aren’t always sure of our paths. We don’t move only in straight lines. We’re human beings. We have quirks, flaws and failings. We have busy lives and responsibilities which don’t stop just because we have big dreams to reach. We’re complicated. We’re not always sure of where we are or where we’re going, and sometimes it just feels better to sit there and watch TV.
Does this mean that great achievements belong only to those who devote their lives to one goal? Are the only people who succeed those who never fail? Are the only paths to our dreams straight lines which never waver?
The answer to these questions, of course, is no. We don’t succeed by suppressing our quirks, imperfections or our humanity, we succeed by embracing them!
As humans, each of us engages in a daily process of adaptation and creativity. We’re built to take the problems we face, analyze them, and find solutions. With few natural advantages humans have survived not because we were purpose-built for one task or situation, but because we’re complex and multidimensional enough to recreate ourselves for any environment.
It just so happens that chameleon-like adaptability is exactly what it takes to achieve a worthwhile dream. Few people who’ve reached a life goal will tell you they finished on the exact road they started on (and if they do, the goal probably wasn’t so big). The paths to our dreams wind, switch and double back. Each of us will encounter problems we never expected and obstacles which aren’t in the guidebook. Sometimes success means breaking through whatever stands in your way, but just as often it takes backing away, going around or making a new path.
At last your dreams aren’t out of reach if you aren’t always stoic, made of titanium or entirely sure of yourself.
Failure is allowed as long as we learn and move forward. Self-doubt is natural as long as we work to overcome it. Not knowing where we’ll end up or how long it will take us to get there isn’t a sign of weakness but the mark of any good adventure.
Great achievers aren’t perfect and they aren’t born superhuman.
The most successful among us are and will always be those who take their strengths, weaknesses and innate humanity and make the very most of them.
Zuhair Sharif a digital marketer, writer, blogger and entrepreneur. He likes to write and develop educational and inspirational material to help bring value to other's lives.
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