Well, here we are in another new year. For all the celebrations, we know it is just the passing of time from one day to the next. There is no magic in the turning of December into January except the magic that we bring with us.
It is customary, at this time of year, to make resolutions for new beginnings, new adventures, and renew promises made to ourselves of a better life in the new year. The jaded imaginations of most people doom those hopes before they are born.
Mark Twain in his Innocents Abroad told of his embarking on a sea voyage. Everyone onboard the ship began the trip by starting a diary. Of course, the writing didn’t last. It was abandoned before the first port. Such are resolutions undertaken without the necessary ingredient of resolve.
Resolve is not a superpower reserved for the gifted, the lucky, or even the strong. It belongs to those capable of keeping faith with themselves. By keeping the faith, I mean the personal application of thought, effort, and persistence.
If you think you can’t, if you can imagine failure, or can picture walking away, make no resolutions—you don’t have what it takes. Walk away and leave that wish behind, and you’ll be happy. That’s what modern philosophers say. Resolve instead to live without the frustrating, battling for more than you are today. Be mediocre, don’t rock the boat—be happy drifting along with everyone else.
Resolve requires a self-image of exceptionalism. You must believe you will succeed where others fail because your heart is true and you will give your best effort.
Ah, effort, the lost chord of the song of the masses with its refrain of too hard, too much, too high! Effort is not a guarantee of success, it is, however, the sole determinate that we have undertaken to live with knowledge, vision, and faith. The simple truth of childhood is unchanged with our evolution—you never know until you try.
Effort is not a singular event. The weightlifter does not know how much he can lift, the runner does not know how fast or how far they can go, the writer does not know what wonder they can create with only words. They do not know because they are continually pushing themselves beyond the last effort. They do not always reach that higher, faster, better effort. They often fail—they do not quit, do not surrender.
Persistence will achieve more than talent, produce more than skill, and satisfy more than awards. The weary, bloodied warrior pierced through with many wounds is more regal than a king on his throne.
I am resolved, this new year, to live uncomfortably, reaching for the things beyond my grasp, and throwing myself into works requiring more than the talents I possess. I am resolved to live until I die.