It was another day in the office and Jeff was sitting in his desk chair, staring at the lifeless, gray walls which defined“his” space. Jeff hated his job and was generally frustrated with life because he was a slacker and he knew it.
There was the time that he wanted to run a marathon. He bought a new pair of running shoes and a running book, but only showed up to run for a couple of weeks before quitting.
There was the time he wanted to build his own website. He read all about it for months and researched everything. He even put up his own site, but after a couple of weeks, he quit when nobody visited the site.
There was a similar pattern. Jeff would get excited about something and get off to a quick start, but when he didn’t see results, he quickly became discouraged and gave up. After giving up, he would fall back into old habits and life was the same for Jeff day in and day out, year in and year out. And now here he was, bored and frustrated.
It was on this day that Jeff was sent back in time.
He couldn’t tell what had happened, but out of nowhere he found himself in the middle of an ancient construction site. He looked all around trying to get his bearings when he saw it: the Roman Colosseum being built before his very eyes. He thought to himself, “What the hell is going on here?”
Jeff explored the construction site in amazement and came across a man who appeared to be a stonecutter. He was about Jeff’s size with a large hammer, standing next to an even larger rock. As Jeff passed the man, with one great blow, the stonecutter split the giant rock in two.
Jeff thought to himself, “Wow, what a man! I can’t believe he cut that rock with one hit!”
Jeff continued on his journey through the construction site, occasionally thinking about the stonecutter, wishing that he were strong enough to cut rock like the stonecutter had done, with one fell swoop.
Later in the day, by what seemed like fate, Jeff ended up crossing paths with the stonecutter from earlier. This time the man was resting along the side of the road, visibly exhausted. Jeff had to know the stonecutter’s secret.
So he asked the stonecutter, “How did you do that earlier?”
Confused, the stonecutter replied, “Do what?”
Jeff said, “Cut that giant rock.”
The stonecutter replied, “Well, my father was a stonecutter and from a very young age, I began to follow in his footsteps. I showed up every day for years and cut stone after stone. I started very small and worked at it day by day.”
Jeff was still amazed, “When were you finally able to cut giant rocks with one swing of the hammer?”
The stonecutter smiled, “No man can cut a giant rock with one swing.”
“But I saw you do it!” Jeff accused.
“No, what you saw was the final swing. Before that I was hitting that rock for hours. I put all of my strength into each swing even though I knew it might take all day.”
Jeff woke up from his dream.
“Hey dude, what are doing? Are you seriously sleeping right now?” His friend Dave laughed at him.
“Quiet man, my boss is going to here you. I just had a dream. It felt so real.”
He vividly remembered the details of the dream, it really did seem real. So he told the story to Dave, but Dave wasn’t impressed. “That was anti-climactic. It would have been cooler if that dude cut the rock with one swing.”
When he thought about it, Jeff felt the same way. They both wanted to believe in magic.
Here’s the Lesson…
The moral of the story is this: most people want to believe in overnight success and instant results. What they fail to realize is that there is no such thing. We often focus on the successes and victories that we see in others, but fail to recognize the hard work that led up to it. This may be you, it was Jeff, and at one point, it was me.
What you need to know is everything worthwhile takes time. If you want to see incredible results and make incredible happen, you need persistence and desire. Your ability to cultivate desire and take persistent action is what will make you successful, not your natural talents. It’s all about consistent daily action.
Never forget that what you do on a daily basis determines your habits, and you habits determine who you are, what you accomplish, and the legacy you leave. People will measure you by what you do.
So, if you want to be a writer, develop the habit of writing everyday. If you want to have a nice body, develop the habits of eating well and working out. If you want to work on a project that’s bigger than yourself, work on that project every single day.
A Challenge to You
Pick a goal or end state that is important to you, maybe it’s something you’ve failed at in the past. Think about what actions you need to take to achieve the goal and start developing those into habits NOW. Commit to taking action every single day for 30 straight days. Don’t quit before 30 days are up, no matter what. Don’t let yourself down by quitting early. Are you really that pathetic? Just stick with it. At the end of the 30 days, you should know whether this is a habit worth continuing or whether it wasn’t what you really wanted.