I think about the struggle back and forth. I think about the chance to compete against the mental clarity and that rare feeling of being in the moment not just living through it, but actually living in it.
There were thousands of moments like this. Many times I lost the struggle. This time I won. But it wasn’t the win that made it worthwhile. It was the struggle.
Gradually, I’ve begun to see that those moments are all around us. The problem is, the world tells us that we should be focused on the result. Society seems so obsessed with “appearing to be a success that it has become dangerously easy to let the moments of struggle slips by without appreciation.
The world says that we should focus on hitting our sales target, or on losing that extra weight, or on building a successful business, or on accomplishing XYZ result so that we can be praised for the achievement. But the real reward is found in the moments that come on the way to those results.
It’s not the reward themselves that make anything worthwhile, it’s the fight that comes before them that give our experiences meaning. It’s the process that makes the product worth remembering.
THE SIDE EFFECT OF STRUGGLE
Becoming famous in your field or making money or winning a championship, those are just side effect that wouldn’t mean much without the struggle.
It is the struggle to do significant work that is the real reward. The chances to compete for something you care about. The opportunity to work hard. The time and space to make something of value. To struggle for something meaningful, that is a success regardless of the result.
It’s the entire piece the optimizations and the daily struggles that make it worth it. Those acts and those moments are the real prizes, not the result that comes afterwards.
WHAT IS THE REAL REWARD
For the artist, the reward is not showing your work in a top gallery or hearing the praise of critics. The reward is the act of creating something new. The reward is every moment that you struggle to overcome procrastination and resistance and fight to express your vision.
For the athlete, the reward is not winning a championship. The reward is the opportunity to compete and to fight for something you care about. The reward is every moment that you step between the lines and test your physical abilities.
For the author, the reward is not having a bestselling book. The reward is the act of writing. The reward is every moment that u battle to string words together and craft a story that takes on a life of its own.
For the weightlifter, the reward is not losing weight or gaining muscle. The reward is the chance to wrap your hands around the iron and to sweat and train. The reward is every moment that you choose to live a physical life.