My run tonight was wet, dark and extremely windy. I didn´t want to go, to be honest. The deal, however, is that I have a goal, and if I am going to reach my goal I must show up to my dates. My goal is a race I plan to run in December, and the only way I will be able to cross that finish line is by faithfully doing my duty in the weeks leading up to it. Unfortunately for me, most of my training will happen during the darkest, wettest, nastiest month of the year. Which is now. Not only that, but my routes all include uphills, and the one I ran tonight was the worst. It sucked.
At the same time as it sucked, it didn’t. This is the paradox of running in the dark, wet, windy and cold November nights. In a morbid kind of a way, it also feels good. It feels good that my legs move, that my face gets showered with playful raindrops, that my jacket keeps me dry against all odds, that there is a symphony playing all around and there is just me, the dark, the rain and the wind. Even the pain of conquering the hill was a good feeling. I was alive.
The analogy is too obvious, but I will share it anyway. I thought about my other goals while running. They are many. Some are grandiose, like changing the world. Others are more puny, like organising the messy drawer in the kitchen. But I was reminded that none of my goals will be accomplished unless I make an effort. I was also reminded that when one has a goal, there will be obstacles. One makes a choice every time one is faced with one. You can jump over the obstacle, or you can choose to turn and go home to the cozy and warm living room.
I read the most inspiring article today on brainpickings.org Seems like van Gogh and I have a lot of similar thoughts. Just that van Gogh was able to express them so much better than me. In the book: Ever Yours: Essential Letters, he too writes about goals and of success.
This is what he says to his brother, Theo:
For the great doesn´t happen through impulse alone, and it is a succession of little things brought together.
Could it be said much better? No goal will be accomplished by good intentions, nor by excuses, such as bad weather. I don´t know everybody´s goals in life, nor do I know all the obstacles people face. But I DO know this: Impulse is not going to create great, unless there are actions following. Van Gogh continues to tell his brother:
The great isn´t something accidental, it must be willed.
Then van Gogh graciously continues:
Even if one loses here and there, and even if one sometimes feels a sort of decline, the point is nevertheless to revive and have courage, even though things don´t turn out as one first thought.
I don´t know the goals people have. I am just barely able to state my own. But, like I am telling myself, I will tell others: Create goals, then reach the goals by stringing many little actions together. Do not let the rain, the wind or the dark stop you from taking step towards fulfilling your goals. If you get there, you can be assured it wasn´t by accident. It was willed, and you fought for it. What feeling could be better?