My earliest recollection of summoning all my strength for a single feat dates back to when I was eight years old. After a regular evening with friends that involved a lot of sports and a little more of discovering ourselves, I was faced with a situation that told me not only about myself, but about human tenacity. I had just entered the compound of my house when the front tyre of my bicycle slipped on the garden hose that was strewn across the road. The handle twisted into my ribs, I lost control of the bicycle and found myself lying face down on the road.
Like any other eight year old, my first instinct was to cry out in pain and wail as loud as I could. Only this time, I didn’t. As I fell and realized what had happened to me, my eyes scanned the immediate environment and sent a signal to my brain that there were no onlookers. There was no help available. I was badly hurt, my insides ached and I had trouble standing up, but I didn’t cry. There was no point.
Gasping for air and struggling to fight the vertigo, I began trudging my way to the house gripping my sides. I noticed a large blood clot on my finger that had turned a strange hue of purple. It made me panic slightly, but also made me realize the urgency with which I needed to find someone. As a child, one of the most fearful situations is one in which a child feels physically unsafe. With every step my insides hurt more and the desperation of finding someone rocketed. After a numbing minute or so that I remember vividly, I entered the house and heard voices. It immediately calmed me. My heart rate began going back to normal and I lay on the bed, exhausted. I finally felt safe.
A situation is only as urgent as you make it. Only as challenging as you want it to be, and only as intimidating as you let it be. There are countless stories that document human struggle, that talk about people conjuring superhuman strength in times of dire need. Something I’ve noticed over the past few years about people is that they tend to give up a little too easily nowadays. The principal reason being the availability of options and alternatives to everything. But you know what the problem with alternatives is? They’re not as good as what you were aiming for in the first place.
Don’t shy away from struggle, and don’t shy away from hardship. If there’s anything in the world that is of substance to life, and is truly meaningful and has purpose, it is overcoming the hurdles that lie between what you have and what you want. It’ll give you a sense of accomplishment, a sense of achievement and most of all, it’ll build belief in yourself. A few years down the line when you’re faced with a really grave situation and you feel like you’ve dug yourself into the bottom of an endless pit, it’s those moments of achievement that you’ll look back on to fight your way out. No matter how many motivating words you may hear, it all comes down to what you can find within yourself that’ll influence how hard you’re able to fight.
Believe me when I say this, you’re going to get old really fast. Before you know it, you won’t be fighting for what you want, but you’ll be fighting for keeping what you already have. Lives fall apart because people don’t have the will or the energy to fight for what they already have, because they never really wanted it in the first place, it’s just something that they got or picked up along the way. While you’re young, you have to use all this energy and gusto to fight for what you want as much as you can. Fight today, you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Someone very wise once said that it’s the inches in life that matter. Every inch in your life that you fight for, that you claw at. All these inches eventually add up, day by day, inch by inch, and eventually make the difference between winning and losing. Between having what you get, and having what you want. When you’re down and out, when you’re at the bottom of that pit, it’s the inches that’ll matter. Ask anyone, all their failures and their regrets are about a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. A little bit. An inch.
Your days are now. Your time is now.
Don’t stop fighting. It’s what will make your final ride into the sunset a moment of real glory.