There are signs all around us telling us ‘Don’t‘, ‘No‘, or ‘Stop‘. Most of the time, we obey those signals. As we approach an intersection, when the light flashes ‘Do Not Walk’, most of us stop or proceed with caution. When we’re driving down a road and reach a signpost that reads ‘Do Not Enter’, most of us turn around or find an alternate route.
These rules for the road have a purpose: to minimize chaos and improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.
But what about in life? We are bombarded with instinctive signs (or people) telling us not to proceed as we planned. Some of us disregard them with trepidation. Others of us find another way.
On life’s journey, there aren’t any distinctive ‘road maps’ and ‘signposts’ to guide us, alerting us when we’re approaching metaphorical minefields, sinkholes or unfinished bridges.
Most of us end up falling into the sinkhole or slipping off the cliff before realizing we’ve entered dangerous terrain.
But does the lack of road maps for life’s challenging landscape prevent us from setting out on our journey? Do too many obstacles which force us onto paths that wind until we’re back where we started (like a perpetual maze) make us quit trying?
What drives us to keep going despite the obstacles, challenges, disappointments, and pitfalls?
For me, it is an unrelenting determination to win. I found that I am driven by the desire to win. Winning, for me, doesn’t necessarily mean being a champion or even number one (although, that is my ultimate goal). Winning typically means that there is some sort of competition between individuals or teams. In my instance, my competitor is myself — my previous self.
Let me explain.
Once upon a time, I used to jog three miles on a regular basis without even breaking a sweat — nothing to it. But that was a lifetime ago. Now, walking up a flight of stairs presents a mental and physical challenge. So, the day that I walked up a flight of stairs without pain or shortness of breath, I had won! I considered myself a winner. I won because Michele Today accomplished something that Michele Yesterday could not. That’s what I mean by winning.
So quitting, to me, feels like giving up on myself. It is as if I’ve given up on my hopes and dreams. Therefore, quitting isn’t an option for me, although I consider it weekly — sometimes daily. But I don’t quit. I take a break to rejuvenate and re-energize. I take a hiatus to gain new perspective or to map a better path. I press the pause button to re-calibrate. But I don’t quit. I can’t quit. It’s like a betrayal of my truest self.
After being banged up and bruised and broken so many times, what do you do when you feel like quitting? What do you do when you get sick and tired of being battered by certain facets of life?