If you played Super Mario Brothers (the very first SMB)...
If you were mostly in the know of popular culture in the 80s and 90s (you know, 20-30 years ago...)
Then you are probably familiar with this:
You remember? I remember. Before I was familiar with the full layout of the game, and was prepared for Toad's repeated message at the end of each level, I responded to the first level's exclamation with a sense of excitement and laughter.
"Aw man! Well, the game just started, so of course I haven't found the princess yet... here we go to Level 2!"
"Okay... to Level 3!"
|Groundhog Day, anyone?|
"Gotta figure... Level 4."
|Groundhog Day, anyone?|
..... Level 5 (sigh) ..... Level 6 (double sigh) ..... Level 7 (triple sigh) .....
For a kid, or an adult, playing a video game, this, in no way, would ever be considered a nuisance. Right? "Another level to play? Awesome!" The experience of getting to continue on the journey - having fun, making discoveries, failing some, succeeding eventually, and pushing forward - would be entirely embraced.
So... why do we make our goal/outcome journey process more difficult? How often do we huff and haw about delays, give up prematurely when we don't reach our anticipated finish line, allow our frustration to build rather than enjoy the ride?
This is the journey of many. This is why the word "failure" is used so often and so improperly. This is why New Year's Resolutions get dropped after a couple months and only a few attempts. Maybe we ought to put ourselves in the place of our inner Nintendo gamer - or Mario himSelf! What if Mario gave up after Toad delivered the news the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or Nth time? I mean, come on, he's a plumber, probably losing some decent jobs while attempting to save the Princess, getting zoinked by Goombas, having fire spit at him by flowers and Koopas, and falling in tons of (bottomless?) holes. Super Mario Brothers would be a lot different if the option to retire, to stop, to give up - after another empty castle was discovered - was available.
|Dr. Oz... Dr. Phil... Watch out. Dr. Toad is coming your way.|
Instead, what happens when we embrace our journey? The ups, the downs, the failures, and successes? Not only are we able to achieve, our resolve grows stronger, our foresight gets sharper, our valued and valuable connections expand, our skin gets tougher. We earn our way to a stronger, wiser, more prepared Self. And this Self is ready for the next challenge, the next goal, the next Quest.
Here are some bulletpoints to take to heart the next time you set a goal or are struggling with your current journey:
- Start with your Purpose. This will be give the greatest meaning to any pursuit you'll endeavor. Without it, it'll be too easy to waver or falter as you work toward your goal. What do you ultimately want? Why do you want this?
- Tune into the feelings you want to experience when you achieve your goal now. Don't wait to feel sexy, stronger, richer, etc. Start incorporating those feelings into your daily life however you can each and every day as you pursue your greater vision/goal. Like attracts like, and your goal will surely be attracted to those active feelings.
- Live every day in the present and allow each present day add up to your optimal future. Nothing destroys momentum more than dwelling on past "failures" and "regrets" or looking too far ahead in the future and letting it get us down ("But it's soooooo far away!").
- In addition to the above, Plan Ahead. Create a plan, an outline; chart a course, design a blueprint. Allow each day that you live in the present to be for a greater something and not just aimless wandering.
- Understand that the path is not always straight, it's not always clear, there are twists and turns and bumps along the way. When you get those guiding light paths toward a goal, accept them, embrace them, be eternally grateful for them - don't think that they are the norm though. Be ready and flexible to run into some "obstacles," to go off on tangents and then return, and more of the like. This doesn't mean you're off-course; this is the course - it's a Labyrinth in which you just have to keep moving.
- If you're following the above and you're consistently taking action, you're always getting closer. Some outcomes arrive quickly and others take much longer. Don't give up or relinquish your passion because you're not quite there yet. More often then not, you're close. Possibly even just a couple of millimeters away. (Check out my previous post about the slight adjustment or the extra step you may need - and you're there! You'll see the Success diagram for a better understanding of your journey here too.)
- The little successes are still successes. How about that?! You get to wrack up a boatful of successes along the way. That should only fuel you further. Completing Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are all worthy accomplishments. And without them, you can't make it to Level 8. (Unless you know those shortcut pipes... search them out in life and use them to your advantage if you can.)
- Infuse your pursuit/actions with accountability. If you can hold yourSelf accountable, excellent - do so. Setting deadlines, offering rewards, whatever works best for how you operate. Often, finding an accountability partner/buddy helps more. We all have a much easier time letting ourselves down... but letting someone else who we trust and care about down also?!?! Not gonna happen. (There are websites out there to help you with this too. Check out stickK.com - I haven't tried it, but I'm sure it could be valuable to you if you need it.)
- Take care of yourSelf during the process - and celebrate once you reach your goal! We work too hard. We do. Which is completely different from putting in hard work. Think big, play big, move forward, but don't exhaust yourSelf completely. Leave time to breathe, make sure you have some YouTime (or contact The YouTime Coach for assistance with that). Eat healthfully, get quality rest/sleep, schedule chunks of time for play and/or with others. The You that functions at your peak ability will be the You that reaches your goal the quickest and with what seems like the least amount of effort (in the sense that everything will flow to you more naturally while you put in your hard work). Once you get there, celebrate! You deserve it.
So, when we do reach out goal and achieve our desired (or destined) outcome, we wish we could get this:
|Obviously, Princess means Mario has grown on the inside. (He sure doesn't look "grown" physically.)|
But, of course, this is what we get:
|"May I take a quick nap before I jump into the next Quest?"|
Seriously, after proving yourSelf wildly successful in braving the immense venture of your first Quest, why not accept another one? (Hint: they will keep coming to you regardless.)
Enjoy your Quests, and good luck finding your Princesses.
All the best and yummiest to you.