“Don’t be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That’s only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself.” Olga Korbut, Olympic gold medalist
I know, I know. No one’s going to the gym these days and even if we were, we’re not going to be winning four gold medals like the legendary gymnast Olga Korbut! Yet this pint-sized dynamo has a lot of wisdom to share with us about staying strong and persevering in the face of obstacles that seem overwhelming. Let’s unpack her advice:
“Don’t be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning.” How often do we think about launching a new writing project and feel unequal to the task? We feel afraid that we won’t be able to pull it off and so we put it off. We forget that there’s enormous power in just starting. A body in motion tends to stay in motion — it’s a law of physics and it applies to writing, too. As Olga says so well, the difficulties we see at the beginning of a project are “only the initial impression.” Once we get going, we tend to keep going and the initial difficulties seem to melt away. Haven’t you found that to be true? “It’s the start that stops most people” according to my good friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert. Just start!
“The important thing is not to retreat.” Retreating is easy, isn’t it? Stepping back and saying to yourself, “this is too much for me, I can’t do it,” doesn’t take much energy or creativity. Yet there’s a big prize to be paid, because every time we retreat, we make it easier to do it again — and soon, we’re walking backwards instead of forwards. Not to retreat takes grit and brio. It takes intention and commitment. But when we fight through something difficult, we grow stronger. Don’t retreat!
“You have to master yourself.” Sounds simple. But it’s not easy, is it? Mastering yourself means you won’t give in to the feelings that wash over you when you tackle something tough — that you’ll push past them until you come out on the other side. Mastering yourself may take grit and determination. But what’s the alternative to mastering yourself? It’s letting yourself be overmastered. It’s letting yourself be overcome by feelings that may be fleeting and beliefs that may be baggage you’ve been carrying around and forgotten to leave behind. Why let them stop you? Master yourself!
Ok, here’s what we need to do: Just start. Don’t retreat. Master ourselves. A great recipe for success as we all write on!
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