Start where you stand and never mind the past,
The past won’t help you in beginning new,
If you have left it all behind at last
Why, that’s enough, you’re done with it, you’re through;
This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don’t give the vanished days a backward look,
Start where you stand.
The world won’t care about your old defeats
If you can start anew and win success,
The future is your time, and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;
Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.
Old failures will not halt, old triumphs aid,
To-day’s the thing, to-morrow soon will be;
Get in the fight and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history;
What has been, has been; yesterday is dead
And by it you are neither blessed nor banned,
Take courage, man, be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.
Your homework today is to draw a line under the past. It’s done; it’s over. Turn your focus forward and pick up right where you are—right here, right now.
Take the next step. Break it down into as small as you need the pieces to be able to comfortably complete them. Then do them!
Also, as you review your week, note the successes and accomplishments you did have this week. Small, humble accomplishments are just fine—don’t think they don’t matter. They do so applaud yourself for achieving them.
I came across this essay and poem in a Project Gutenberg ebook entitled It Can Be Done by Joseph Morris.
BE THE BEST OF WHATEVER YOU ARE
We all dream of great deeds and high positions, away from the pettiness and humdrum of ordinary life. Yet success is not occupying a lofty place or doing conspicuous work; it is being the best that is in you. Rattling around in too big a job is much worse than filling a small one to overflowing. Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead. Make the most of what you have and are. Perhaps your trivial, immediate task is your one sure way of proving your mettle. Do the thing near at hand, and great things will come to your hand to be done. ~Joseph Morris
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley–but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass–
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail–
Be the best of whatever you are!
Your homework today is to be the very best version of yourself and do the very best you can with every project and task that comes your way.
I was talking with a good friend of mine telling him about the projects I’m working on. As I was telling him about my “perfect world” dreams for the projects but then said that I needed to be realistic, he stopped me in my tracks with telling me that realistic does not mean pessimistic.
I’d never considered that possibility!
When I thought more about it, I realized I had been equating the word ‘realistic’ with meaning that I’d have to tone down my dreams because they were too big or beyond my capabilities or something I wasn’t “allowed” to have.
But none of this is true!
What I my friend was implying was that a better way to think about what realistic means is that it’s telling us to break dreams into steps and to break those into little parts and small pieces.
What a concept!! 😀
Your homework today is to get realistic about your most cherished dreams—the ones on the back burner because you think they’re out of your reach, for whatever reason.
Put those dreams on the front burner and turn up the heat!
Break the dreams into steps—list the things you’ll need to do in order to reach those dreams. Then break those steps into small pieces and little parts. Break those into tinier and tinier bits until you get to the smidgens and specks that are just the right size for you. Then do those smidgens and specks!
As I mourn and come to terms with Dad’s recent passing, I’ve thought about my parents’ own journey through grief when their parents passed. I was young (teenage and young adult aged) when my grandparents passed so my parents would not have shared their grief and sadness with me. Even so, I don’t recall noticing them getting stuck in their sorrow.
I think there are several reasons for this: Their formative years were during World War II and many families were impacted during this time, they lived in multi-generational homes or nearby to aging grandparents, they were one of the last generations to grow up without antibiotics and other life-saving medical procedures that we take for granted today, and there were stronger social, cultural, and religious structures for the mourning period. Because of all of this, death was much more a part of living and, therefore, in some ways, easier to accept.
As a result, Dad was—and Mom still is—a forward-looking person. They didn’t dwell on or cling to the past. While there were times when they talked about their good old days, it was with fondness and warm, happy memories rather than with a sense of longing and emptiness and trying to recapture or recreate those days. They were firmly planted in the here and now with their eyes looking forward to the adventure that was ahead of them.
Your homework today is to noticing whether you’re looking forward to the Good Stuff that awaits you or if you’re reaching back to the past, perhaps in an unconscious effort to press the reset button.
You can’t go back. And, nothing you can do in the present will change anything about the past. All you can do is draw a line under the past and turn, facing forward. Stay focused on the moment and then the next one and then the one after that. If you take care of each present moment then the future will take care of itself.
Keep your focus forward and know, as was said in last Wednesday’s post (click here to be taken to Good Stuff’s Coming!), that all sorts of interesting, exciting, and fulfilling things await you in each moment—and on the path ahead.
Don’t take “No” for a final answer, especially if you’re the one saying it to yourself.
Your homework today is to stop saying No to yourself!
If it’s because you’re overwhelmed or intimidated, then break steps down into small parts, little pieces, and tiny bits. Break these down until you get to smidgens and specks that are just the right size for you.
If you’re saying No because you can’t seem to come up with the answers you need, then look at the situation from different angles. Also, perhaps thinking of the opposite of it you may see a finger hold you can use to boost yourself.
If you’re saying No because you’ve tried everything—breaking things down into the smallest pieces possible and you’ve looked at things from all sorts of angles—but you still can’t move forward, then perhaps you may need to take a step back from it. You may need to take a break.
This is not the same thing as saying No!
Perhaps you need to give surrounding events a chance to come together or to shift in a way that enables you to move forward with your project.
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” ~ Walter Elliott
Perseverance is the most important trait and skill you can have on your quest to achieve your dreams.
Perseverance has nothing to do with how smart you are, where you grew up, who your parents are, how old you are, your body shape or size or color. Perseverance has nothing to do with the school you went to, who you know, or where you live, or whether or not you’ve been successful in the past.
Perseverance has everything to do with taking the next step. Perseverance is breaking tough, scary steps into smaller and smaller parts until you get to smidgens and specks that are just right for you, then doing those specks, smidgens, and little bits.
Perseverance means not taking no as a final answer, not taking as fact other people’s estimations of you, your abilities, and your likelihood of success. Perseverance is listening to what they have to say—in case there is something that you think is of value and of help—and taking the next step anyway.
Your homework is to review your week. Are there areas where you can beef up your perseverance? As today’s quote advises, think about perseverance in terms of small increments of forward movement taken one after the other after the other.
Also, as you’re reviewing, note the times this week that you did persevere. This is fantastic—good for you! Applaud yourself for this because the more you acknowledge and congratulate yourself for this, the more comfortable you’ll be with persevering and the more likely you’ll keep persevering.