Breakthroughs: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Applying knowledge and experience into attaining a new personal height in terms of achievement doesn’t happen overnight. Often I’ve heard people look at other successful people and believe they’ve received all the acclaim and good fortune due to luck, chance or knowing someone who knows someone- discounting a person’s determination, patience and hard work ethic. When I see the light switch turn in a person’s life, it’s usually through years of slow and steady progress until a final breakthrough occurs.

I didn’t marry my wife until I turned 30. A breakthrough in terms of finding a life long partner who was willing to share life with me occurred when I discovered how to be happy and satisfied with myself. You can’t chase love. You can’t speed along the process. I spent a lot of my time with girlfriends trying to change aspects of my personality and my wishes- only to learn that while change in one’s own life is a constant, you can’t chase change and have a worthwhile, whole relationship. You’ll always wonder what your true self is all about- and that’s why I didn’t meet the right person until my wife.

We accept each other- for better or worse, in happy times and tough times, when ill and well. Are there aspects of each other’s personality that can be bothersome or the other may want to modify? Certainly- but the bottom line is, you can’t change anyone unless they themselves are willing to change. She’s given me more confidence to speak my mind, to go after my dreams, to realize I am a good parent even when my children tell me otherwise. I’ve helped her develop patience and enjoy solitude. We are coming up on 10 years knowing each other- 8 plus years in marriage- and I sense more breakthroughs in the years ahead.

I’m grateful my children can sleep over other people’s houses without worrying if they will be able to return to our home. I’ve watched my oldest daughter take head on her struggles with illiteracy and move to almost grade level in the 6 years she’s lived with us. My youngest daughter is developing a sense of empathy- an aspect of life that therapists and social workers wondered if that ever would come into her world due to her bitterness, anger and defiant personality. We knew going into adoption that you can’t put a band aid on the past, we needed to open up the wounds and work through them, carefully handling every obstacle or issue at their pace. I look forward to the days when they have successful relationships, move into the fields of work they desire, and prove that they are loving, caring humans full of self-esteem, individuality and breakthroughs.

For years I wanted my writing to make a bigger impact on others. I let fear of failure override just taking action and putting my thoughts on display. I realize now the only way to get better at writing is to continually write. I’ve done that for 20 years when it comes to interviews and music reviews- so if I want to write books, pumping the brain every day and putting it on paper (or in this blog) is the best practice one can get. Some entries will be better than others. Perfection doesn’t exist in any realm- especially the written word. I’ve learned to let the thoughts flow, then when I feel like something is complete you can go into edit mode.

Who knows what will happen in my life when it comes to family, career, writing, bowling, music, adoption, speaking, teaching, and so forth. What I do know is I keep striving to achieve more, or to refine what I desire, for growth and for overall well-being. I want you to look at your own breakthroughs and think about an area or two where you would like to achieve more. Set up a weekly action plan and write down three steps today that you can take to move in that direction closer to your breakthrough (thanks Brian Tracy for this tip).

People may look at the superstars for greatness- but don’t forget the people who took years slaving away at odd jobs to achieve their ultimate dreams. Read the biographies of people like Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Susan B. Anthony, Oprah Winfrey and others to see the challenges and obstacles they went through before making an impact on the world.

You may wish to sprint all the time to get more out of life. For me, I don’t mind slow and steady movement to win this race.

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