“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people.” -Randy Pausch The Last Lecture
When Randy Pausch gave his lecture “Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams” he knew his time was short. He knew this really would be his last lecture. He also knew he had to share all of his fatherly advice for his children now because he wouldn’t be there in the future to give it to them when they turned 12, 16, 18 and so on.
A brick wall. You run up against them more often than you would like is a fair assumption.
Sometimes, your hands are thrown up into the air and you turn on your heel and resolve to find contentment in what you have achieved so far. But why is that brick wall really there? Did you ever ask yourself that question?
Some people use it as an excuse, an opportunity to blame someone else for getting in their way, but truthfully, they were the ones who decided to not fight through the brick wall, to stop and let the brick wall be their excuse.
I, along with all of you, have faced a brick wall or two, and I can say honestly, I have let a few stop me. But when I look back on those, I realize the quote is absolutely correct. I clearly didn’t want whatever it was obstructing me from with my whole heart. Sure it would have been nice, but I wasn’t willing to put in the effort. Examples: becoming a strong 800 meter runner in college – had the talent, didn’t have the heart, so I stuck with the shorter races.
The evidence is very clear now, as I am willing to fight for something that means too much to let go of. For example, in my day job last year when the recession was just beginning to wreck havoc, my job was threatened, in fact, I was told by too many senior staff members good luck (in other words, bye bye). That only fired me up more. So I planned for the worst case scenario, and decided to go out and find a job as a back up plan, and I got one. My boss found out and made it very clear to the potential new employer and myself that he wasn’t letting me go. The happy dance I did lasted for days.
The moment a brick wall arises, the most frustrating part is that you can’t see past it. You don’t know what your next viable option is. You don’t know a strategy yet to conquer it, and that is infuriating especially for those of us (this would definitely include me) who like to know now how it will all work out even if you aren’t there quite yet. But if you’re willing to take a deep breath, ask questions, scour your resources, you will find a way to tackle it. And that scouring, that digging and persevering is what separates you from the “other people” that immediately threw their hands up and gave in at the sight of the brick wall. You’ve already made the toughest decision when you remained focused even when you at first couldn’t see a solution.
The solution will come, take a deep breath, give yourself some slack and time and start to scaling that brick wall with the information you discovered when you decided to hunker down and not give up. Continue with this tactic, and you will be celebrating the arrival at your destination in due time.