Welcome to the YouTopian Journey. Each week I will be sharing unique wisdom as well as a more in-depth overview of the artwork that is featured on the Instagram @youtopianjourney. This week we discuss why we must embrace the difficulties of our task.
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“Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.”-Carl Jung
It is all around us.
People no longer willing to work.
Individuals lulling themselves to sleep with distraction.
The masses talking of grand dreams and desires but lacking the interest and ability to take action and make those dreams and desires a reality.
The avoidance of minor discomforts and growing pains that pave the way for greater pleasures.
The silencing of the inner call.
The fleeing from the true work.
Because everything is difficult. In fact, it seems more difficult now than ever before.
We live in a paradoxical society, one where the trivial can be instantaneously summoned while the matters of importance always seem out of reach. Thus, when the thought of going after what is difficult, what is downright impossible, occurs to us, many take no action. They cling to the safety of the herd.
This is a disease that there is no cure for.
This safety comes with a price, one that is costly but that so many are willing to pay.
The softening of the mind.
The avoidance of blood, sweat, and tears.
The fleeing from our dreams and aspirations.
And because we seek to avoid any pain and discomforts, we avoid the best parts of ourselves. We silence the inner powers and cripple the potentialities. We make ourselves sick, allowing the disease of doubt to stop us in our tracks. We destroy ourselves before we can act, and action is what we truly need to face the difficulties that await us!
“I am up and about when I am ill, and in the most appalling weather. I am on horseback when other men would be flat out on their beds, complaining. We are made for action, and activity is the sovereign remedy for all physical ills.”-Frederick The Great
Understand that life isn’t easy. It never has been and never will be. Yet this doesn’t stop the multitude from attempting to find an easy existence nor the many con artists, gurus, and predators who seek to prey on these desires.
You have no doubt heard their offers; their siren calls to beckon you toward their rocky shores.
A life of permanent vacation.
A laptop lifestyle.
Fire your boss.
Living the life of your dreams while working a few hours a week.
A life of ease! A life of happiness! A life full of sunshine!
All without difficulties.
Just one click, one book, one course, one seminar, and one retreat away.
This is the height of foolishness. It is nothing more than an infantile fantasy of leaving a life of difficulties to enter a life without any. This is a myth of the highest order.
Realize that a life without difficulties is impossible. It doesn’t exist. It is a promised land pipe dream of the mediocre. Yet countless people still dream of this notion, falling prey again and again to the offering of a fantasy and carefree world.
Something has happened to us. Something has transformed us from genuine heroes into the mindless masses. Something has removed our fortitude and replaced it with safe spaces. Something has creeped into our minds and removed our resilience. Something has substituted what we can become for what we currently are.
And what are we?
Shadows of what we could be.
"Every age but ours had its model, its ideal. All of these have been given up by our culture; the saint, the hero, the gentleman, the knight, the mystic. About all we have left is the well-adjusted man without problems, a very pale and doubtful substitute."-Abraham Maslow
We need difficulties to move forward. We need obstacles in our path. We need challenges that force us to think on our feet, to work harder, to force us to take chances. A comfortable life robs us of our genius. A comfortable life robs us of our ability to achieve more, strive for more, and become more.
When we are comfortable, our abilities are dulled. Without some great challenge before us, some difficult situation to navigate, some opponent to defeat, we wither. Our muscles atrophy. Our minds turn to mush. The inner citadel that we all possess, that fortifying mental fortress becomes weak. We are no longer capable of rising to the occasion. We become artificial automatons and driven drones.
This is no way to exist, let alone live!
“If the world were a paradise of luxury and ease, a land flowing with milk and honey, where every Jack obtained his Jill at once and without any difficulty, men would either die of boredom or hang themselves; or there would be wars, massacres, and murders; so that in the end mankind would inflict more suffering on itself than it has now to accept at the hands of Nature.”― Arthur Schopenhauer, Studies in Pessimism
CHALLENGES DRIVE US
“I found life easy, easiest, when it demanded the most difficult things of me.”- Friedrich Nietzsche
People are driven by different goals. Some want luxury. Others want a loving partner. Some want to travel the world while some just want a quiet place that they can call home.
Regardless of what your goals are, I can promise you that none of them will be easy. They will be difficult and challenging and these challenges are what drive us.
In other words, man needs challenges. It shows us what we are capable of.
Challenges test us. They give us an opportunity to show the world what we can do. More importantly, they provide us an opportunity to prove to ourselves what we are truly made of.
“The more hardship, the better.”-Yamatomo Tsunetomo
But our society does not want challenges. Many do not want a challenging life but a simple life. The multitude complain. They fill social media with empty words while hoping and praying for an easier life.
There is no easier life.
There is only what we have before us.
Lack resources? Rely on resourcefulness.
Lack education? The internet is at your fingertips.
Lack connections? Reach out to people via different networks and humbly ask for help, you may be surprised at the responses.
Lack drive? Subscribe to not only this newsletter, but podcasts, webinars, live streams, and get motivated.
There is always a way to move forward, no matter how difficult things may appear to be. There is always a path to the top of the mountain, provided one has the desire to make the climb.
Understand that without challenges, we remain weak. We do not seek to accomplish anything. The result? Nothing.
We fail to act so we achieve nothing.
We fail to dare so we say nothing.
We fail to live up to our potential, so we remain nothing.
This is nothing new. In fact, this knowledge was known thousands of years ago.
“What would have become of Hercules do you think if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar - and no savage criminals to rid the world of? What would he have done in the absence of such challenges? Obviously he would have just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep. So by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort he never would have developed into the mighty Hercules. And even if he had, what good would it have done him? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crises or conditions to stir into him action?”-Epictetus
You must understand that while we are all unique, we suffer from the same doubts, fears, and anxieties. It does not matter where our homeland is or what our culture represents, man is a creature of circumstance and a victim to his feelings. Whether you hail from central Steppe or the stoop, we all experience challenges. And we must embrace these challenges!
One of the hidden aspects of a challenge is that it cloaks the many opportunities within. People think the window of opportunity is one that leads to paradise. They fail to realize that this window overlooks a quagmire that leads through the dark woods. So many do not crawl through. Instead, they hope to wait for better circumstances and sunny weather, which is not only unpredictable but foolish.
The challenges you face contain the opportunities that you are seeking. You must accept them and face them head on. You must not give into fear nor hope for a better day. Both these challenges and opportunities have a finite time frame. Time and tide wait for no one, especially one who seeks the easy path through life.
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”-Seneca
WHAT CAN WE DO?
“Life is indeed difficult, partly because of the real difficulties we must overcome in order to survive, and partly because of our own innate desire to always do better, to overcome new challenges, to self-actualize. Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor.”-Albert Ellis
In the face of overwhelming difficulties, in a world that is rapidly changing, in a society that cares for ease and safety, you may be wondering what you can do?
Yes, you who are reading these very words.
What can you do to improve yourself and improve the world around you?
Embrace the challenges and the difficulties.
It comes down to you.
It begins with a decisive action to move forward in spite of the pain. It follows with the pursuit of your goals. It continues past the suffering and discomfort. It ends with the acknowledgement that yes, life is difficult and yes, the challenges are never ending and yes, I am still here.
You are still here.
Despite everything that is trying to stop you.
Despite the influencers and gurus and experts who beckon you with the easy way out.
Despite the difficulties of your academics, your career, your coworkers, managers and bosses.
Despite the daydreams and fantasies of the lottery and fame and buried treasure.
Despite the sheer mental strain on you that the modern world inflicts on each and every one of us.
You are still here.
You have accomplished so much already.
You are light years ahead of everyone who hasn’t even made the attempt.
And you have a long way to go but are equipped to handle the journey.
As long as you never stop moving and never flee from what is ahead of you.
As long as you keep shining, burning so bright that you blind the naysayers, shining so proudly that you inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. ”― R. Buckminster Fuller
CRAMP YOUR CRANIUM
I truly believe that the best advantage one can have in this world is to be armed with knowledge. I love The Ask by Ellen Donnelly. Ellen coaches early stage founders to get out of their heads and take action in their business. Her weekly newsletter combines practical tips and thought-provoking questions for people ready to take the next step. We had a great interview where she described me as high energy, hilarious and full of pearls of wisdom for anyone embarking down the road of entrepreneurship.
You can subscribe and check out the interview here. If you are an entrepreneur, it is a must read!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
“Luctor et Emergo”-I struggle and overcome.
I had another great episode of Founder Fortitude this past week. We discussed the myths of fundraising as well as other key concepts that founders need to know in order to be successful. It is now on Youtube and you can watch it by clicking here.
CAN YOU HELP ME?
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I’m Shaun Gold and if you are reading this, you are already on your journey. Catch you next week.