I spoke with a thunder cat today–millennial for you old people–who told me a story of how he’d decided to give up on a pursuit because it proved to be “just too hard to accomplish”. I tried to talk him into giving his dream one more chance, citing his youthful age, the technological wonders of today’s culture and the promise of a fulfilled future once his dream was realized. After all, at 22 years old, adulting was surely just beginning.
Nope. He wasn’t buying my particular brand of encouragement. Maybe I should have packaged it in skinny jeans and served it over a trap beat. At least then he might have given it a serious listen. I left the young man, discouraged at his lack of self confidence, his apathetic attitude and (most of all) his lack of stamina.
I remember my grandfather telling me, he fought hard for civil rights so that one day his grandchildren and great grandchildren would have the equal freedom to pursue whatever they desired. He said we’d have to work hard for the goal, but the opportunity would be there for the taking. All we would need is focus and sheer will.
Sheer will’s got me up at 12:13AM tapping away at my computer. Sheer will keeps me glued to my piano and drum machines on a regular basis. Sheer will keeps me grinding on the job, making it possible to complete every task I’m assigned. It’s an unstoppable tenacity, that keeps the feet moving forward.
Funny side note: today I pulled up on my job, hopped out of the truck and was greeted by Jerry–the site foreman.
“There he is,” Jerry says, to no one in particular. “I need to shake your hand.”
Jerry starts walking my way, pulling a worn leather glove from his arthritic right hand. We meet with genuine smiles and as strong a handshake as the old man can muster.
“What’d I do,” I ask.
“That’s just it. I can’t explain it. I knew there was something about you, from the first moment I met you on Tuesday. In all of my years working projects for *AJAX Company, I’ve never seen a problem get resolved as fast as you getting involved. I mean never! You’ve got something special, son. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s there. I see it.”
I smile and say, “It’s Jesus, Jerry. All honor is given to Him. I can’t do anything without Him.”
Jerry’s face went blank for a split second, before he flashed an embarrassed smile. “Well, I don’t know much about that…but you’ve got something!”
Sheer will, says “Go another route, but make it to the destination”. When you’re ready to give up, sheer will says, “Try one more time”. It pushes you further, when you have nothing left.
Why do I continue to do what I do? Simple. I don’t know how to stop. Even when I want to quit, I can’t turn it off.
Finish that book you started.
Go back to school and finish.
Complete the song you started writing some time ago.
Try one more time to learn that new skill.
Fight against that cancer until you have nothing left to fight with. I believe in you.
Whatever it is, don’t give up.
* AJAX Company is, in fact, a fictional name to protect the identity of the actual company *