When I was quite a bit younger, my mom used to bake cakes every Christmas. If I were to look back to some of the best parts of my youth so far, the fresh smell of baked cake in the morning would definitely feature prominently. And as you can imagine, the anticipation of said delicacies could drive us into one heck of a tizzy.
What I remember about those times, however, was not so much the joy of biting into freshly baked cake as the stomachaches I’d get whenever my impatient self would eat a little too much cake batter before the cake was even baked.
You see, it wasn’t just the cake that smelled heavenly when fresh – the divine scent of vanilla essence in the cake batter was to me what I’m sure ‘hunny‘ was to Pooh the Bear! My mom had to keep one eye out, at times buttressed by some nuclear level threats, in order to ensure that some batter was even left for baking.
I never really understood why she was so ‘cruel’ especially in light of the Obvious Abundance of that sweet batter – even in the light of the stomachache that was sure to follow. It took me years to appreciate her efforts and understand her reasoning – DESPITE the stomachaches.
Taking a minute to muse upon this story of my childhood years down the line, I unerringly stumbled upon a Lesson I’d like to share with you.
We all want good things for ourselves and loved ones. We go to impressive lengths to secure our future – as we should – but there’s always the constant temptation to totally skip the Waiting part, the Stressful part, the Uncertain part – the Process – whenever the opportunity may present itself, though this is pretty unlikely to happen. That’s bad enough, but what of the instances where we do manage to start something productive only to bail out somewhere along the road??
I won’t lie to you – sometimes it takes all you have in you (and a little bit of what you don’t, but choose to fake anyway) to resist the urge to take the shortcut, or the path of least resistance. Just give up.
Now, if you’re perfectly content to live a life of the least achievement, choosing to write your name in the sands of time instead of carving it into rock, I advise that you stop reading right here and go find a suitable Telenovela to occupy your time. (I hear Simply Maria is the new ish that’s giving Kumkum Baghya a run for its money)
If however you are interested in making a difference in your generation and those to come, I’ve got a little bit of advice for you today: learn how to persevere.
To the youth of today especially, I’ve come to realise that there’s a constant battle between our longing for tomorrow and our living for today. We want what we want so much, and so soon, that we’re at times perfectly willing to quit halfway through an endeavour just because it looks a little bit more dangerous than they initially thought it’d be. In the worst cases, reminiscent of the Children of Israel halfway through the Wilderness, they even choose to go back to the wrong practices that initially ensnared them because the cost of forging ahead seems too expensive as time goes on.
Luke 9:62 put it quite succinctly for the Christian:
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.“
For the secular point of view, Benjamin Franklin couldn’t have put it better when he declared, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
Whatever advantages you may think you’ll gain by taking the easy way out instead of sticking through it all will be forever tainted by that niggling voice you’ll never be able to fully ignore chronicling your failure; if it’s a person you’re trying to stand up to, they’ll probably never take you or your attempts to squeeze out from underneath their thumb seriously again, and people – both the obvious supporters and the shadowing ‘fans’ you have in the background will randomly share feelings of disappointment, pity, and maybe even frustration bordering on anger because you gave up too soon.
One would wonder why at all other people would think they have the right to be upset with you when you drop the ball before reaching the finish line, right? They do, because of 1 salient reason – we live in a Society where everyone is affected by the choices, successes, and failures of everyone else. The CEO’s reluctance to take decisions supporting measures to trim down expenses, affects the budget earmarked for corporate responsibility programmes, which cuts down the number of needy students to be sponsored from 10 to 4, so in the final analysis a CEO’s fear of cutting down on unnecessary spending because he wants to keep employees and shareholders happy, just so he doesn’t risk losing certain comforts himself causes the education of 6 children to come to a grinding halt. Just like dat.
So. Because it’s never okay to complain without proffering a solution, here’s my suggestion:
Count. The. Cost. And pay it gladly.
Allow me to take a leaf out of the Good News here,
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? – Luke 14:28
Sit down and reason clearly through how much it will take out of you to succeed, and decide if it’s really worth it before you even start. If you decide against it, then so be it. However, if you decide to go ahead with it, acknowledge to yourself all it will take and decide to pay for it every single day till you’ve achieved your goal. Never allow yourself to lose sight of that goal for which you sweat, cry and bleed for while it’s in the making. Do you really want that certificate? Then stop whining about all the learning, exams and fees you’re subject to in order to pass. Do you really want to be the best in your field of choice? Then don’t let the donkey jobs, extra shifts and required humility you have to practise every day wear you down. Do you really want that relationship to work? Then let forgiveness, understanding and friendship be your watchwords always, even when they’re driving you nuts – don’t give up.
Take a second, and a third look – if need be – before you decide to quit any worthy endeavour just because it gets tough. In fact, make sure you think it through well well before you start because more often than you realise, you also carry the hopes and dreams of those not as fortunate as you to even be in the position to change their own circumstance. Your failure to make it just because you gave up somewhere on the way is the only really Unacceptable failure.
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