Photo: Pascal Debrunner
Do you ever go to bed feeling like you’ve wasted your day?
When you’re chasing a big meaningful goal, such as writing a book or growing a business, you’ll have seasons where your progress seems microscopic.
Days like these can feel pointless. They drain you of your enthusiasm and tempt you to trade for an easier dream — or to give up entirely.
Don’t do that.
The secret to reaching distant destinations is simple. You must find joy and meaning in the path.
Here’s an illustration to help you see the value of doing hard things
The 2003 movie Holes included a short story about a boy who wished to marry a young woman. The story was set hundreds of years ago; and in order to marry the girl, the young man would need to present a gift to her father.
The youth learned another suitor planned to offer the girl’s father a cow in exchange for her hand, so the boy hurried to his grandfather’s farm and asked him for his fattest pig. Instead, his grandfather gave him a small piglet. And some advice…
“Every morning,” the old man said, “carry this pig up into the mountains where he can graze on the roots and the onions that grow so plentifully up there.”
Reluctantly, the young man obeyed.
Every day he would carry the pig up the mountain. The pig would eat, and as grandfather had predicted, each day it grew a bit fatter.
But the pig wasn’t the only one changing. As the animal gained weight, every day the boy grew a little bit stronger from carrying it. By the end of the summer, the boy had grown into a strong man, and he was the proud owner of a fat pig.
You are much like the boy in this story. The pig is your book, your business, your cause. And as you continue to do the hard work of trying, failing, learning and trying again, the results will improve.
But if you pay attention, you may notice your work isn’t the only thing improving. You will also be growing — both in your craft and in your strength as a person.
Completing difficult tasks is how we build confidence, mastery, perseverance, and humility. This is the beauty of the path.
We all want to be handed a fat pig, but growth and transformation happen on the mountainside.
So keep going. Never panic.
Every day is an opportunity to grow, and growth is not a waste of your time.
Want to go deeper?
Become a finisher with my short book QuitterProof: The 5 Beliefs of Highly Successful People.
Kyle Young is helping creative people achieve big goals that matter.