“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
Modern culture loves to celebrate the visible strength of the hugely successful. We look up to them as heroes. We want to emulate them. We want to reproduce that success because it looks shiny and it gets admired a lot. At award ceremonies, we see the breathtaking performances, and the triumph of winning. At the Queen’s jubilee, we see the influence and the majesty surrounding decades of faithful service. On Instagram, we see the carefully and artistically curated filters and layouts of the tidy desk and the perfect selfie, and the thousands of followers. And this is what we want.
But vital information is missing.
What about the rejections?
What about the exhaustion?
What about the ugly tears?
The spectacular mess-ups?
The emotional breakdowns?
The crises of confidence?
The yelling matches?
The crushing disappointments?
The frustrating feeling of being unseen?
These are the things that make victories victories. Nobody would be triumphant if there was nothing to be triumphant in spite of.
Abraham Lincoln went down in history for putting into motion the process of freedom for millions of slaves. He fought against the opposition of a whole parliament to get there, because he cared enough to put his reputation on the line for the sake of millions. The impact of this has gone down the generations, and inspired many. This is what he is remembered for. Similarly, many of us want to remembered for having an impact and changing our world, whatever that might look like; but we don't want to fail at it, so we don't try. Sometimes, all it takes is one bad day, or one “no” for us to throw in the towel.
Let's have a look at Abraham Lincoln’s failures:
And that's not even the half of it!
The next time you compare your life to someone's highlight reel and feel small and ordinary in comparison, remember that fame and success is only a fraction of the bigger picture.
Perfection is an illusion. So take Abraham Lincoln’s example. Be tenacious about getting up and dusting yourself off from disappointment. That's how strength and character is grown. Trust the process while it does its thing...