Life doesn’t stop for anybody. People will continue to make plans. Plans to change their lives. Plans that define their futures. Plans to start new careers. Plans to launch new projects.
The list goes on. But sometimes our best plans and intentions don’t work and we find ourselves back at square one.
Instead of quitting when things don’t work out, leverage your fears, learn from them and start over.
Give yourself permission to start over when things are not working — it’s a natural way you can evolve into a smarter and better version of yourself.
Starting over is a powerful practice. It’s a more effective way to achieve your goal than constantly fixating on what’s not working.
Things may not always go as planned — they never do, but life goes on.
You have to make new plans and take action to keep moving. The ability to adapt despite the uncertainties is one of the most important skills you can master in a rapidly changing world.
The great law of nature is that it never stops. There is no end. Just when you think you’ve successfully navigated one obstacle, another emerges. But that’s what keeps life interesting.
Life just keeps moving. Plans change. Life happens. You get older. It doesn’t slow down just because you need more time to figure out what to do next. It just keeps moving irrespective of what you think or do.
Life doesn’t stop, and neither should you!
To stay relevant as you move forward in life, you have to be willing to embrace change and keep living. What got you where you are today won’t get you where you want to go tomorrow.
Transitions will happen in life with or without your consent. In fact, lean into it. Embrace it. Try to view change as a vital part of your personal growth.
Everything meaningful in life is a maze
Don’t expect to be amazing at writing, launching or learning something new in just a few steps. It’s not a smooth journey. It takes time and a lot of practice. The popular experts you know have practiced for months, even years to get to where they are. They keep showing up and do the real work.
If you approach life as a sprint or marathon, you will run out of energy. Peak performances are not achieved in a single practice.
Don’t think you can put in a pile of effort and rapidly reach your intended finish line. Appreciate the process and work your way to the top.
Life is a process of breaking through every obstacle thrown at you. Each time you cross an impediment, you’ll learn something. Each time, you’ll develop strength, wisdom, and perspective.
Until all that is left is you: the best version of you.
Ryan Holiday encourages us to persist in times of obstacles. In “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph”, he says:
“It’s okay to be discouraged. It’s not okay to quit. To know you want to quit but to plant your feet and keep inching closer until you take the impenetrable fortress you’ve decided to lay siege to in your own life — that’s persistence.”
The journey of life can be wonderful, terrible, exciting, frightening, enlightening, confusing, or a beautiful maze.
As the Haitian proverb puts it — Behind mountains are more mountains.
The bitter truth is, the more you accomplish, the more things will stand in your way. There are always more obstacles, bigger challenges. You’re always fighting uphill. Get used to it and train accordingly.
When J.K. Rowling said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life,” she hit the nail on the head.
Whatever the obstacle is, tough times happen for everyone. Understand that each battle is only one of many and that you can use it to make the next one easier. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for the changes that will come down the road.
Even when you mentally prepare for change, you will still feel the fear, but embrace the change anyway. Fear rarely reflect the actual change. Be easy on yourself and live.
Life has no strict signs, there’s just a maze of infinite options
You have to figure out your own route. What works for you. You don’t have to follow everyone on the same path. And don’t stay stuck in the wrong place.
Oliver Emberton says, “There are only two ways to advance your life: move forward when you can, or step back and try something else when you can’t. The greatest mistake to make is standing still.”
You need to build endurance. You need to become in tune with your body, knowing when it needs fuel, rest, and when it needs to be pushed if you are going to build up the endurance you need to finish strong.
And you have to be able to discern when you are getting too comfortable. Strive to step outside your safe zone.
Everything remarkable happens beyond the safe zone. By pushing yourself into new areas you will have a chance to authentically define who you are, and break free of the limitations of what others think you should be.
In the words of Marla Tabaka, “Your comfort zone keeps you in a very predictable space”.
A maze is full of choices, challenges and questions. And it’s subject to many external influences, both good and bad. Keep a curious mind. Follow your curiosity, enjoy the adventure and find what works for you and stick to it.
Whichever way you go, whether fast or slow, keep moving. You may feel like you are stuck in the maze with no way out and no purpose in life.
But there is always a way out. Find it. Live your life to the full with no regrets and strive to become the best version of yourself.
Become a master of starting over if things don’t work out the way you expect. Become a disciple of change or adaptation. With every new beginning, you’re becoming more of the person you were meant to be.
This article originally appeared in Medium.