When he arrived this morning, I told him about my week. Shaking his head is dismay, he said, "Irwin, a frog cannot take shortcuts to anyplace worth going." And, as usual, he's so right. Life requires a certain amount of work and to think we can just blindly skip over the unpleasant parts is a fool's folly. "Great things, my boy, take effort to achieve. There are no shortcuts in life." He assured me that if we want to make our dreams come true; to achieve our goals, to master a foreign language or learn to play an instrument, to get fit...whatever we desire to do, we have to commit to putting in the work, not just today, but for as long as it takes to make it reality. He reminded me, too, that positive thinking, having hope, and not having an attachment to a specific outcome (knowing that whatever happens is what we need at this time) will help to move us closer to success. But looking for shortcuts will never work; it takes tenacity and perseverance to achieve our goals. That's why so many of us are constantly seeking that ultimate diet where we can eat whatever we want and sit in front of the TV all day and still lose weigh. And why gyms have more members than attendees. Excellence and success may often look like an overnight phenomenon to outsiders, but those who've achieved excellence and success know otherwise. Just ask any Olympian gold medalist about their training schedule. They're grueling! Or a formally overweight human who has lost 100 pounds and now runs a half marathon. They know what it took to get where they are. And it didn't happen overnight.
It's a little scary to think that 34% of humans (and a higher percentage of frogs) wouldn't even consider walking 20 minutes to get from point A to point B...it takes too much time and effort. Yet that is what might be required in order to help facilitate a small weight loss.
After we finished our morning meal and my lesson for this week was nearly over, Dharma left me with a few points to ponder:
1. Success is a mindset. Not a point in time.
2. Success is a way of life. Once you achieve your goal, there's always work to be done to maintain it.
3. Taking shortcuts is you admitting failure right up front. You're admitting that you don't want to do the work required or put in the time and energy. Who wouldn't want success and excellence if it was easy? But it's not.
4. Taking shortcuts is the wrong reaction to fear. Yes. Fear. Fear of success is much bigger and more common than you think.
5. Taking shortcuts doesn't mean you'll end up where you want to be. Ever been working on something, like maybe cooking or baking, where you substituted an ingredient and your end result turned out even better? Life is like that. Sometimes, things don't turn out the way we planned. But the good news is we find something even better. Happy accidents is what I call them.
6. And Don't be afraid to dream even bigger dreams. Achieving your goal or your dream doesn't mean the end. Life is always presenting us with new challenges and new opportunities. It's up to us to decide whether or not we're up to them.
There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going. But if you put one flipper, or foot, in front of the other you will, eventually, get to where you want to go.
Life is a maze. We often have to to take many "wrong turns" before finding our way to the finish line. But the feeling of success is worth all the trouble and time it took to get there.