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March 25, 2015

Everyone should have the gift of struggle

the gift of struggle

I quit again.

The other day I quit on a goal that I thought was important.

I just ran out of steam and gave up.

I felt depressed, guilty and basically like a quitter.

Seriously, how hard is it to stick to something and see it through? Well, in my case, evidently, quite hard.

But then I looked around at other people to see if there were any other quitters.

Probably just to make myself feel better. And, I realised that all of us are quitters.

We all quit something or other sometime in our lives.

We quit gym. We quit on our marriages. We quit our hobbies. We quit on our children. We quit on our work. We quit our goals. And, we quit on our dreams.

Why’s that? If I had an answer, I’m sure that I would be one of the wealthiest men on the planet, now wouldn’t I?

But, here’s my take for what it’s worth. We live in an instant gratification and quick-fix world. We want things easy. We’re not prepared to do the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ thing to design our lives as we want them to turn out.

And, if you’re sentient, you’ll know that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. We haven’t built up a resilience to failure because our struggle muscles have atrophied.

I know it is easy to blame our parents for everything that befalls us now. But, in this instance, as parents we may have to shoulder some of the blame.

We don’t give our kids the ‘gift of struggle’ because we want their lives to be better than ours were. It’s a natural and magnanimous gesture.

But, in the end it doesn’t serve. Think about how many toys we’ve bought our children … just because they’ve asked. When last have you heard of a child that has done odd jobs, scrimped and saved for that bicycle in the shop window.

I don’t hear those stories anymore. Daddy and mommy just “buys us what we want”.

I know some cases where the parents pretty much do the homework for their children and don’t give them the gift of figuring things out for themselves.

“Every child deserves and equal opportunity to struggle.” Mary Slade

This is a hand out and not a hand up strategy. Short term it solves the problem, but long term it creates problems.

Our kids think life is easy because they get things on a plate and don’t get to appreciate them (as one does when one really struggles for something).

It creates adults that are too dependent on others, that are entitled and that are enslaved.

It is easier to have an attitude of entitlement than an attitude of ‘hard graft’.

It is easier to avoid an obstacle than to deal with it.

As, I said, I don’t have the answer. I’m a walking, talking quitter.

But, all I know is that I don’t embrace the struggle. If I don’t start realising that every worthwhile goal is hard and messy. If I don’t realise that success is not a straight and easy path. Then I’ll always be lost, entitled and enslaved.

2 Comments on “Everyone should have the gift of struggle

Tilly
March 25, 2015 at 3:55 pm

But don’t you think that we also need to know when to give up? So then the question is what is the difference between quitting (when you shouldn’t) and giving-up (when you should) – and ultimately how do you know?

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ladycoetzee
March 26, 2015 at 9:36 am

Hit the nail on the head. Thank you, this lit a proverbial fire under my posterior. Time to graft.

Hope you find the strength to pick up your goal again!

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