To know goodness needs just a taste. Greatness, on the other hand, requires a mastery and a willing soul.
Consider the katana, a Samurai’s sword. It is a confluence of strength, finesse, and deadly artistry. In the right hands, the katana will cut through bone as easily as a razor blade on paper. But what keeps this millennium-old weapon so treasured?
The answer lies in the purest of steel in the hands of highly skilled smelters, smiths, sword blade polishers, and carpenters. To create one katana takes 15 men nearly six months. It is a tedious, patient and meticulous process.
A reflection of my year feels like watching an action movie in slow motion. I had a handful breakthroughs towards the end. But the wait and work were excruciating! The number of times I nearly threw in the towel were countless.
Life is like swordplay. Grip it, hold it tightly, then make your move.” ~Louis Edward Rosas
My saving grace were the goals I set at the beginning of the year. They kept me focused, inspired (not always though) and hopeful. The grind was slow and painful.
There were many frustrations. One major area of pain was growth of my business. Creating the content for an online course was more daunting than I had anticipated. Technical issues didn’t help either. I had just finished creating 20% of my online course. The following day, a server error had wiped it out!
This is just one of the many challenges I faced. Looking back, I am grateful they happened. Just like the katana, real growth takes time, patience and resilience.
From these frustrations, I draw comfort in the following lessons.
1. Patience in conflict
I am a ‘Type-A’ person and a recovering perfectionist. Throw in conflict and we have a potentially explosive mix. I had my share of conflict this year.
The first was in my mind. Had I made the right move to start a business? What would happen to my family if everything didn’t work out? In addition, I was also mentoring a number of people. I constantly worried if I was in the right frame of mind to guide anyone in life!
My second conflict was that my business was not growing according to my plan. This put a damper on me for a couple of months. I had made projections that looked great on paper. But my bank account confirmed the complete opposite.
Patient work was becoming an oxymoron. But my gut feeling was that everything would work out. That patience cashed out in my second lesson… provision.
2. Provision in uncertainty
Opportunities came in at the right time. This was a big lesson in having faith. This faith wasn’t only in my ability, but also my belief in my Maker.
There were many times things came down to the wire. But we never lacked in food, clothing or shelter. Two years since I quit my day job, we stand strong and soldier into a promising future.
Times of uncertainty have helped me to grow in resilience, creativity and innovation. They have provided me with the passion to serve my clients meaningfully. Uncertainty removed the veil of a comfort zone. I could step out in confidence and boldness.
This lesson became a bedrock when my world suddenly turned upside-down.
3. Peace in pain
Nothing could have prepared me for my Dad’s passing away in August. That experience let me shaken to the core. Its swiftness was brutal. Three months later, a grandfather I hadn’t seen in a long time met his Maker.
The turmoil in my heart was agonizing. But these two lives lost gave birth to an inner peace in my mind. They helped to clarify the direction of my life and action I needed to take.
For starters, I wasn’t getting younger. My fitness and health was suffering from years of neglect. I picked up my mountain bike and hit the road. Over the last four months, I have covered 874 km. My body is getting back to shape.
To remain even-keeled, I am learning to seek lessons rather than only concentrate on solutions. Every cloud has a silver lining.
One thousand days of discipline; ten thousand days of lessons for mastery.” ~Miyamoto Musashi
Q: What did you learn this last year? Have your say by clicking here.