Self-improvement. Goal achievement. How to succeed.
You’ve read up on all those topics, learned about S.M.A.R.T. goals, and even have a vision map going. You know that moving toward your goals and dreams is a process and that reaching them won’t happen overnight.
But you’re still far from where you think you should be, after all the actions you’ve taken.
Or, the actions are more difficult than you bargained for, and you’re tempted to give up. Life isn’t too bad now, so why bust your rear trying to seek a more fulfilling life?
The reason is that if you’re not fulfilled, you’re probably not doing what God has called you to do.
Even if you don’t believe in a God who has an interest in your life, you can probably agree that giving up on a goal or dream that burns inside you won’t lead to anything good in the future.
Believe me – I understand how it feels to struggle toward an important goal, or reach for a dream with a constant barrage of doubts going through your mind. So I want to encourage you that you can succeed in life – in a huge way – if you cling to two key principles of living the life of your dreams.
Principle #1: Cultivate
When we moved into our earth-sheltered house four years ago, our front yard was nothing but bare dirt. When things started growing the next spring, one of the plants was this purple, thorny weed. I’m talking serious thorns, not rosebush-sized thorns. It’s like there was a kind of venom in the thorns, because when you pricked yourself on one the pain would last for several minutes. It was almost like being stung by a bee or wasp, without the itchiness.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of those nasty things started popping up all over the front yard. Not wanting to encourage future growth, I pulled every last one I could find out by the roots (wearing gloves, of course!). Several days a week for a while, I would go out and pull them up for ten minutes or so.
The next year, they were almost non-existent. But other unpleasant weeds popped up in their place. None were nearly as nasty as the purple weed, but they weren’t easy to mow down, and some were just plain unsightly.
So we did more pulling up of weeds that spring and summer. We wanted the native grass to come in and take over.
At the same time, native wildflowers began to emerge here and there. Nothing like a flower garden that you don’t have to plant, so we left those alone so that they would reseed and spread through the yard (we wouldn’t mow patches of wildflowers).
Now, half of our front yard consists of mostly grass and an increasing amount of clover (which I think I started by tossing out some spoiled sprouted red clover a couple of years ago). The other half is part grass, and a larger part wildflower. Sure, there’s the occasional ragweed plant that needs to be obliterated, and our fight this year is with prickly lettuce.
All in all, though, our efforts to encourage the good and eliminate the bad have paid off.
If you want to succeed in life, whatever your definition of success, you must do the same. You have to cultivate your mind, your physical health, and your environment. What negative mindsets do you need to get rid of? What talents need honing? Which relationships and/or habits are pulling you away from your goals and dreams, and which are supporting you on your journey?
Key number one to living the life you want: cultivate.
Which takes – drum roll, please – time.
Principle #2: Patience.
In this modern, fast-food, instant information culture, people have become brainwashed by the idea that they can get whatever they want at the click of a button. They’ve completely forgotten the old adage, “Good things come to those who wait.”
Cultivating your life, like cultivating a bare front yard, takes time. More time than most people want to spend. Four years into our residence here, and our yard still isn’t in its ideal shape.
But if you lose patience with the daily tedium, if you lose patience with working through struggles, if you just plain give up because you think achieving your goals is taking too long, you’re never going to get to where you want to go.
It takes ten years, sometimes more, to be an overnight success.
Stephen King, Justin Timberlake, Barak Obama…they all got to where they are today because they didn’t give up. They had patience with the process.
Patience is being able to enjoy the journey while you do what you can to reach your destination. It’s also trusting, having faith that your hard work will eventually pay off.
Patience is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity for anyone who is serious about living their dreams.
A visual demonstration
I want to wrap up this article with a video I made about the two key principles to success. It’s what our front yard looks like at as of early June, 2019.
Let it inspire you to renewed revelation on how to succeed in life.