There are few, if any, paths to true growth and improvement other than consistent effort and practice.
I’ve struggled with this truth my entire life. I believe most people, if they take some time to reflect, will discover that they have, too.
When we look back and have not done what we thought we wanted to do, a failure to put in the effort and practice is nearly always at the the root of the problem.
Maybe something legitimately interfered. An accident. An injustice.
A question to keep asking is “Does it matter?”
A lot of the time – maybe most of the time – it doesn’t.
At this point, for example, it is clear to me that I will not be the next Bob Dylan, or even John Prine. And it really doesn’t matter. I never cared quite enough to put in the necessary effort and practice, and it’s not hard to live with the consequences.
But, of course, in other, usually much more mundane areas, it does matter.
Have we learned to be the partner or parent we would ideally want to be, for example? Have we established daily habits that contribute to our well being and the well being of those around us?Do we make the effort consistently to improve and grow in whatever work we have chosen to do?
An important question for all lifelong learners: what matters?
Or, put another way: why? Why will we put in the time and effort?
If it’s hard, it doesn’t necessarily matter.
But if it matters, there is a good chance it will be hard.