Only your efforts can achieve success

Only your efforts can achieve success

Do you remember when you were extremely young and wanted to accomplish a mission or project? I recall a traumatic experience when my little pedal car got stuck in a mud hole. I couldn’t go forward nor go back. I did not want to exit the miniature vehicle because that would sully my shoes: even at an early age, my parents had instilled in me that clean shoes constituted a gentleman.

I was forced to maneuver the car backward and forward. Finally, it broke free and I was propelled across the gravel driveway, almost hitting a tree. I learned Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (1) I was lucky that I didn’t experience the real result of the axiom.  

Later, we developed an even more ambitious plan. It was decided to build a tree fort. (2) Now this detailed construction is a much more serious undertaking. Firstly an abundance of trees is necessary. This problem was resolved by a large forest not far from our home. It had been logged during World War Two to construct a Military Air Base. The area had never been replanted: thus, quick-growing Lombardy Poplars (3) covered the area.

These trees were considered of very little “commercial” value and were often simply cut down or their young saplings poisoned so that they would therefore die: a startling revelation in a society that prides itself on beauty and nature. This particular region, however, probably because it was close to our small community, was unscathed. We burrowed into the center of these towering conifers. “Timber,” the evocative call of all Paul Bunyan-like loggers, (4) was soon heard.  

We cleared a small strip of land and began to work. The trees that had been felled were cut into sections and then stripped of their bark. These logs were stacked for future building. It was as if the ingredients of a gigantic cake had been collected, only awaiting its final baking and attendant delicious result. Our fear limited action: at last, one of my brothers scampered up the largest and tallest evergreen. He assembled a crude “block and tackle” (5) and we began hoisting the initial “floor” into the air. Planks covered the boles, rough walls were assembled and finally, a roof, that never did quite seal properly, was put in place. We stood in awe in a small assembly at the base of our creation, arms embracing shoulders: it was finished!

I am certainly not a builder of physical edifices, but I am, in a modest way, a constructor of ideas. At that moment, I realized that all was possible, “given” that I accepted certain truths of who I was, physically and psychologically. Achievement then, any achievement, is possible. But, not without a struggle. Success in any form will not be handed to you by the cosmos devoid of an effort. The entrepreneur and visionary, Aristotle Onassis (6) leaves us with a thought: It is in our darkest moment that we must focus to see the light. (Parts of this essay were first written in 2015)

A closing thought: We must all accept that life is filled with pain, anxiety, and failure. Consciousness is also filled with joy, serenity, and success. The difference between these two sets of emotions is action. When we do not act in our lives, we are guaranteed to be unhappy. Action, conversely, holds out the impossibility of fulfillment and contentment. The choice lies with each individual.   

To sum up:  This week, we spoke about success and contentment

To be noted: From Oscar Wilde (7) — Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Just for fun: 

For reflection: 

This week, please reflect on what the concepts of struggle and happiness mean to you.

Every day look for something magical and beautiful.

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!

Quote: Don’t cheat yourself out of what you should be or could do.





4) Paul Bunyan is the iconic lumberjack in American folklore. He is usually accompanied by his Giant Blue Ox “Babe.”