There is an idea, embodied in a quote that I recently read, which to my mind, is one of the most important and vital master keys to: living a life of joyeous productivity and achievement unhindered by unnecessary bullshit or false constraint.
It is an idea which has been battle tested by every single person throughout the whole of history, who has ever accomplished anything of significance.
It is fully timeless. It is the internal foundation and impetus for all action. It has been, and continues to be, of the greatest value in my own life.
Would you like to know what it is?…
“Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that this may seem entirely underwhelming. I mean, how basic and common sensical can you get, right? But if you: stop and read it just a few more times. If you consider it, just a little bit. If you can begin to get to grips with the concepts that underlie these twelve short words; then you may realise that this is a potentially paradigm-shifting idea of awesome power, and epic magnitude.
Consider this question: If you want to do something, yet are not doing it, then what is the reason behind your inaction?
Maybe you’re really tired. Maybe you don’t have the time. Maybe you think you need more of something: (intelligence, talent, or resources). Maybe you think you need less of something: (responsibilities, pressures, or constraints). Whatever the given reason, when you cut to the heart of it, these are all ways of saying: you do not believe that present conditions are good enough for you to begin. They are all ways of saying:
‘Not. Ready. Yet.‘
These three words, combined, form the mental equivalent of a deadly poison. A highly contagious toxic meme. An idea which, if left unchecked, will burrow, like a parasite, deep into your frontal lobe. Over time, as inexorably and as surely as leprosy, these three little words will begin to deaden the very nerves within you until, finally, you are rendered mercifully numb to the fact that important and vital parts of you are being sloughed away and becoming lost to the void.
We all know that, on some level, there exists an endless array of ever-available reasons to: delay beginning, or stop doing anything. Look hard enough, turn over enough moldy, slime encrusted rocks, and you can always find a good excuse. Reality is such that, conditions are rarely, if ever, perfect or optimal. Which is why this is not a quote that speaks about a ‘perfect’ idea.
This quote is not shiny. It teeth are not laser-whitened. It’s skin is not fake-tanned. These are practical words. Real words. They come to you bloody, scuffed up, well used, and toughened by relentless testing and exposure in the murky trenches of life. They tell us: we achieve things in spite of conditions, not because of them. They tell us that: with a conscious shift of perspective, you can reframe your reality from something that impedes you, to something that empowers you. They tell us we can. And they tell us that it doesn’t matter that this isn’t a shiny idea, because: the truth will beat seven fucks out of shiny on any given day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.
Do not let yourself be fooled by it’s brevity. The idea contained within this quote is as sophisticated and powerful a piece of technology as you are ever likely to find anywhere on this planet. Forty two, innocuously innocent little letters, arranged into a pattern of twelve tiny words which, if embodied and acted upon, can literally change the experience and course of your entire life. It is the simple and elegant antidote to everything that holds us back as human beings. Not: ‘not ready’, but: ‘I have everything I need‘. Not: ‘conditions aren’t perfect’, but: ‘I can use this‘.
Not: ‘Wait’, but…
Did you like this?
If you enjoyed this you may also like: my love letter to the mountains of Scotland, my essay about how things can be more beautiful for having been broken, or my recent post on how to find beauty, even in the darkest of places.
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