(Hit those sweet jams!)
I used to scoff at clichés.
Probably my favorite one to laugh at is, “Shoot for the moon, cause even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” …in the words ofDwight Schrute, “False.” Stars don’t even live in the same neighborhood as the moon, heck even the same state or country… they’re like, super far away from each other. Like, light-years and stuff. Except for the Sun, which doesn’t really count… cause who wants to accidentally hit up the Sun while shooting for the moon?
So, if you shoot for the moon and miss? You’ll be floating through space. Alone. Hopeless and abandoned - just like your dreams…
There are a million sayings like this that I’ve always felt the need to logically and soul-crushingly disprove, as exemplified above. But frankly, I’ve realized that it’s a choice to look at things like that. You can either let phrases like that be too idealistic for the likes of your Type-A, productive, realist self… or you can let it inspire you. And so I do, constantly. But there’s one that’s kinda stuck with me, and it matters a lot to me now.
The one that I’ve made to be my mantra is this: Keep moving forward.
I love it’s simplicity, it’s casual grandeur. Somehow, in three words, I feel like this phrase sums up all of the things that I need to hear in a moment in order to continue on through life. And I need that. I need specifics and precision and logistics. Maybe you don’t, but amidst my “creative side” that’s constantly flailing around, making a mess of things, there’s the undiagnosed OCD side of me that craves lists and order and productivity.
Lemme explain why this phrase is so beautiful.
“Keep” describes the consistency by which I do things. I must always strive to do what’s right, always choose to love people, always decide that today is gonna be awesome. I recently heard someone say that the term “deep” needs to be replaced in our vocabularies with “consistent” — I couldn’t agree more. Falling in love with the daily grind has been a rough journey, but it’s become clear to me that if you can do something every day, than you can do anything. Be dependable, be diligent in your pursuit of consistency. It doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s in the continuity of the mundane that we find the truest of adventures in life. It’s the small choices that you keep making that eventually amount to the more grandiose of choices.
“Moving” tells me what I’m doing. I once hosted a pretty famous public speaker while he was in town to speak at a conference. I got to drive him around in my little Mini Cooper, all the while asking questions and making conversation, as I love to do. As we trekked to his speaking arrangement, I found out that his son’s a mechanical engineer for an aeronautical company. I thought this was super cool, but for whatever reason, kindof strange, considering his current career as a speaker. I asked if in any way, he was disappointed that his son didn’t choose to pursue a similar field to his… and his response was wonderfully encouraging to me, as a person in the same generation as his son.
He said, “I’ve told my son since he was a boy, that I will support him in anything that he sets his mind to… the only thing he has to do is keep moving. The moment he decides that ‘this is good enough’, and stops working hard to make his dreams happen, is the moment that I withdraw my support. He didn’t know exactly what he was doing from the start, but by choosing to do something, anything really, he’s achieved more than he thought he could, and I’m so proud of him for that.”
We’re meant for motion. What’s the first thing you’d check to see if something’s alive? — See if it’s moving. That’s pretty profound, in my opinion. If you’ve got blood pumping through your veins, and breath in your lungs, you’re alive! Do something about it. Whether it’s getting coffee with an old friend, picking up a new hobby, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a sporadic trip to Greece, do something that reminds you that you’re alive. Let your life’s currency be stories. Be rich in the things that you spent yourself on. This existence isn’t something to be squandered; in fact, it’s one of the greatest gifts that you’ll ever get — make it count.
“Forward” gives me the direction of my motion. This is the hardest part for me to really grasp. It’s because I want really huge, noticeable motions in the right direction. I want a clear, defined path that I can follow that will lead me to the goals that I feel like I’m made to accomplish! Is that too much to ask for? Here’s how one of my greatest inspirations, Casey Neistat visually describes chasing your dreams.
You’re aware that there’s a massive chasm between you and your greatest dream. But y’know what’s the only thing that can bring those two dots together? Hard work. Lots of hard work. Every day that you choose to look your big, lofty goal in the face, and make your dream happen, that gap gets a little bit smaller. The “you” dot inches a little closer to your dream, making it all seem a little more possible than the day before. But I’m gonna take that visualization a step further.
The misconception is that you are gonna be moving in a straight line. It would make sense, it would be easy if that were the case… but life’s too funny for that to happen. Take heart, your motion still matters. Imagine a vertical line right behind the “you” dot that represents your “starting point”. You’ve got 180° of motion available to you to move from that line. Moving 90° would point you right at your goal, hence, a straight line. But as we already said, that pretty much never happens. But, here’s the kicker… (Let this encourage the mess out of you…)
Whether you move forward at 2° or 90°, you’re still moving forward.
It most definitely will not seem like you’re making great strides toward your goal if you’re moving in the 2° direction, but you’re making progress. You’re still moving forward, and that’s what matters. As long as you make the choice to move toward your goal, to be alive, to take action, you’re moving in the right direction. The journey’s gonna be crazy (there’s another cliché about that…) but it’ll get you to where you’re going. Set your own micro-goals, make a pace, and stick to it.
CHALLENGE: Find a cliché of your own and let it encourage you today.
I pray that you feel alive in this day, fully aware that your existence matters and that nothing would be the same without you. I hope that you’ll choose to see the clichés of life as more than mundane, and instead, as something to draw life from. That you’ll look boldly at this day, full of vigor and tenacity and life, ready to seize every opportunity that comes your way. And more than anything, I hope that you’ll see that your dreams matter and that you’re getting there. It’s not gonna be quick or easy, but it’s so worth it — take it from someone who’s constantly having to remind himself of that. In case you haven’t heard it recently… YOU CAN FREAKING DO IT! Keep moving forward, friend. I believe in you.