Struggle is an unavoidable part of self-employment. Nothing ever comes easy, when you are trying to build towards your dreams. Difficulties and hardship, will be your constant companions.
But there have been people before you.
There have been people, who passed through a similar struggle, as you are doing now. And, there are people, who are facing it right now. You are certainly not alone in your struggle.
Many times will come?
? when you?ll hate the journey, you?ve chosen.
? when you?ll be close to giving up.
? when you?ll want to quit.
It?s in those moments, that you will have to look towards those people, who have already passed through the struggle. It is those people, who are going to remind you of why your current struggle is worth it.
So let?s see, what some of the most successful people in history, have to say about struggle.
1. ?Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.? ? Napoleon Hill
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
Struggle is the pre-condition for growth. Without going through extended periods of hard-work, sweat and difficulty, we can not move beyond our current level of performance.
In a sense, struggle is a form of training.
It prepares us and forces us, to be ready for the next step.
Struggle only ever becomes more. As we are facing harder and harder challenges, the amount of hardship we face, only increases. It is our current struggle, which prepares us for the next step.
The moment we stop struggling, is the moment, that we stop taking on big enough challenges.
2. ?Look at my success. I didn?t achieve it overnight. It has been the product of many years? struggle, and every year, my times have shown gradual improvement.? ? Mo Farah
Photo Credit: Mo Farah?s Facebook page.
Struggle, and the corresponding improvement this leads to, is a result of an ongoing process over many years. Nothing can ever be achieved quickly. Nothing can be done without years of hard work.
Every single day, you get a little bit better.
Every single year, you move closer towards your goals.
Not always is that improvement as easily measurable as when it comes to running, though. Entrepreneurs might spend years working towards a goals, and see hardly any visible improvement all.
But be sure, that you are improving. As long as you continuously keep pushing forward.
3. You?re imperfect, and you?re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging ? Brene Brown.
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash
Brene Brown goes one step further, by saying that struggle is ne natural state, in which all human beings are in. The kinds of struggle may differ from one another, but we are all facing them, nonetheless.
Struggle is unavoidable.
Struggle is the natural state of affairs.
The fact that you are struggling, doesn?t mean that something is wrong with you. Whether you are struggling to make a living, live in constant fear of the future, or have no idea about your place in the world, all of these are normal parts of the process.
There is nothing wrong with you. You are just as worthy of love, belonging, and success as anybody else.
4. Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible. ? Mao Zedong
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
You need to look your struggles right into the face. You need to understand, and constantly remain aware, of how difficult things are going to be. And you will have to accept the fact, that you will struggle.
Once you?ve done that, everything will become possible.
Because you will no longer complain, about how difficult things are. Because you are going to focus, on doing the best work, you possibly can. Because you will become an unstoppable force of forward motion.
Miracles are really just that:
Somebody had the willpower and strength to keep pushing forward, until they turned something seemingly impossible, into reality.
5. Don?t feel entitled to anything you didn?t sweat and struggle for. ? Marian Wright Edelman
Photo by Cody Black on Unsplash
You can?t just sit back, relax, and expect to get any particular results. Passing through the struggle is the one way, in which you are going to deserve the right for yourself, to be successful at what you do.
There is no place for entitlement in entrepreneurship.
Just because you did something once, doesn?t mean that you will do it again. Just because you have already built a reputation in your field, doesn?t mean that everything you do from this point onward, will succeed.
Every journey is its own struggle.
Every meaningful project, requires sweat of its own.
6. My story is a freedom song of struggle. It is about finding one?s purpose, how to overcome fear and to stand up for causes bigger than one?s self. ? Coretta Scott King
Photo by Dawid Zawi?a on Unsplash
Struggle is also inextricably linked to purpose. We struggle, because we are working towards something meaningful. Because we are on a mission, of turning something greater than ourselves, into reality.
Projects like these, are huge. So huge, in fact, that we can hardly even imagine them to ever turn into reality.
That?s why, fear is our constant companion.
It is a fear of the unknown. A fear of not knowing, whether or not we are ever going to succeed at what we do. A fear, that we are going to remain in this state of struggle forever.
7. Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle. ? F. Scott Fitzgerald
Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash
There is no such thing as a final win in life.
Anything that promises so, is a false promise. No matter what you achieve, there is always something more to go for. No matter how many difficulties you work through, there is always going to be more to face.
Defeat is the normal condition.
Failure is the norm.
But then, fulfillment doesn?t come from living in a happy paradise, exactly in the way, you have envisioned it. Fulfillment comes from facing the struggle head on, and achieving little wins slowly over time.
Fulfilment comes from looking back at your biggest struggles, and realizing, that this time wasn?t so bad, after all. And that you can now be proud of yourself, of having kept going, despite all odds.
8. The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. ? Abraham Lincoln.
Photo by Cameron Stow on Unsplash
Chances are, you are going to fail.
You are never going to achieve that, which you have set out to do.
And that is okay. The same reality exists for everybody, who has a cause, which they are working towards. We can never know for sure, whether or not, we are ever going to make it.
Knowing that you will struggle, and that you might struggle in vain, is a difficult pill to swallow. But not even trying, is even more painful. Forever, you are going to live in regret.
Forever, you will be asking yourself, what would?ve happened if only you tried, if only you kept going, if only you worked harder.
Forever, you will be living in a world of regret and disappointment.
9. Don?t struggle about the struggle. In other words, life?s full of ups and downs. So if you?re struggling, don?t worry, everyone else has or will at some point. ? Sean Covey
Photo by Yanal Tayyem on Unsplash
Struggling and not struggling, they come in cycles.
For a while, you are struggling to achieve a goal. You are working towards it, with everything you?ve got. But things are tough as you are facing so many challenges and so much hardship.
Then, you succeed at what you set out to do.
You feel at peace with yourself.
But before you know it, something new comes to your mind. Something higher. Something, even more difficult to achieve, and even more meaningful to you.
We, as humans, are not meant to be satisfied completely. We always want more. We always want to climb higher.
That is just in our nature.
Therefore, if we are struggling right now, then there will also come a time, where we won?t be struggling. And if we are content right now, then there will also always come a time, where we will struggle again.
10. What we all need to do is find the wellspring that keeps us going, that gives us the strength and patience to keep up this struggle for a long time. ? Winona LaDuke
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash
Since we know that we are going to struggle for a long time, we need to find something, that can keep us going. Something, that will remain the source of energy, inspiration, and drive for us throughout the years.
We need to understand our own needs.
And we need to understand, how we can keep these needs satisfied, despite all of the difficulties we are facing.
For one person, this ?wellspring? might be sports. For another person, it might be supporting the poor. For yet another, it might a creative passion, which they pursue on the side.
It doesn?t matter, what your wellspring is. But you need to figure out, what things you need to bring into your life, that are going to allow you to keep pushing forward.
11. To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals ? this alone is worth the struggle. ? William Osler
Photo by Tim Graf on Unsplash
Doing your best, even throughout all of your most difficult periods of struggle, is the most important thing, you can do. Because this is what you are going to derive a sense of satisfaction and self-esteem from.
Knowing that you did what you could.
Even if, at the end of your life, you still haven?t achieved what you set out to do, at least you have done whatever you could. And that is what, in the end, you are going to measure your self-worth by.
It is okay to fail.
As long as you did, whatever was in your power.
12. Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win. ? Bernadette Devlin
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash
Struggle is a form of preparation. Before we can turn something into reality, we first need to acquire the necessary skills, the right mindset, and the mental strength to keep pushing forward.
Today, you might struggle.
But it is during this period of struggle, that you are laying the foundation for your future success.
No effort during this time is wasted. All is helping you to reach a point, where you can take the next step forward. The point, where you can move beyond your current restraints, and move on to the next stage of your life.
13. Life is one long struggle in the dark. ? Lucretius
Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash
What this quote shows us, is that there is always an element of darkness and uncertainty involved along the way. We can never know what kind of struggle we are going to be facing next, or whether or not we are going to successfully pass through our current struggles.
And that is okay.
That is, what life is all about.
If life were predictable, then it would be boring. If life were predictable, then it wouldn?t offer us opportunities for growth and learning. It would turn us into lazy, content creatures, that spend their days doing nothing.
Thanks god, that?s not how it is.
14. I?m not interested in passion and love for their own sake ? without the struggle of life, they?re just fluff. ? Mira Nair
Of course, the statement in itself, is already an interesting one. The idea, that passion in itself, isn?t going to lead anywhere. It is only by embracing the reality of the situation on the ground, and the struggle that comes with it, that passion and love become meaningful.
But what I find even more fascinating, is how the author says that passion and love for their own sake, are just fluff.
This means, that there is a very strong interrelationship between passion, love, and struggle. First of all, we need to recognize the struggle, which is necessary and the reality on the ground.
Then, we can use our passion and love for the project we are working on, to keep pushing forward. Always with the difficulties and challenges in mind.
15. I?m glad I?ve had to struggle. It?s made me the artist I am now. ? Jessie J.
Photo Credit: celebmafia
We are formed to become the person who we are, through the struggles that we are facing every single day. In a way, it is through the culmination of all the different obstacles, which we have overcome throughout our lives, that our identity is formed.
The most difficult situations in our life, are also the most strongly affecting our own development as a person.
It is during difficult moments, that we have to make the most impactful decisions. And it is these decisions, which, in retrospect, tell us the most about who we are, and who we have the potential to become.
16. Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle. ? Wilma Rudolph
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unspl
Lastly, it is the struggle itself, which is making all of our success, worthwhile in the end. We couldn?t appreciate what we have achieved and what we have gained, if we hadn?t gone through all the hardship first.
Just think about it:
If you could get a million dollars right now, without doing anything for it, would you appreciate it for a long time? Or would you take it for granted pretty quickly?
The same holds for any other rewards, that you may get.
It is only when you have worked hard for something, that you really get to appreciate it in the end. And it is only this way, that you are truly learning something, that will last.
Struggle in an unavoidable part of the journey. Don?t worry. Nothing of what you experience is likely to be strange, or unusual. If you are struggling, then this is the most normal thing in the world.
Live with it.
The only thing which is important, is that you keep pushing forward. Don?t let any of the obstacles, or any of the difficulties you are facing, stop you. Keep going, and eventually, you will reach your destination.
All of the greatest people in the world, have faced their own version of struggle. It is exactly the ability to embrace struggle and push through it, which sets apart world class performers, from the rest.
Don?t be scared of being a struggler. Embrace it.
Tim Rettig is the author of ?Struggling Forward: Embrace the struggle. Achieve your dreams?. It?s a book about the psychological journey of struggle, which every (creative) entrepreneur must pass through, before they can turn their vision into reality.
This story is published in The Startup, Medium?s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 334,853+ people.
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