BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

You Can’t Achieve What You Don’t Attempt

Girl hiking a rocky path overlooking mountains

It’s better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try.

I believe in this truism in theory.

I’m just having trouble applying it to my reality, at least for the moment.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed to exercise, a task that was once second nature but has become littered with second thoughts.

Before I could turn on my DVD workout routine, I saw that my computer had to cycle through an update. It does this from time to time, and the process typically takes no more than a few minutes.

Typically.

I knew I was in trouble when the screen displayed the warning, “This will take a while.” (Everyone undersells the wait.)

And after seeing how long it took the percentage-completion counter to increase from 0 to 1, I knew I was done.

Sitting there, ready to work out but with no workout to do, it felt like the worst of both worlds:

I had made a sacrifice, yet I had gained no reward. And I’d have to spend the rest of the day in that reality.

This was not the start I needed. Especially considering it continued a pattern that’d begun yesterday.

Yesterday I attempted to complete two articles.

I completed neither.

While I made it about halfway through one, on the other I couldn’t get going.

Instead of struggling with how to best get my point across, as I normally do, I didn’t even know what my point should be.

I turned to every club in my bag — patience, determination, self-talk, procrastination — but nothing moved the needle. There was no idea, no spark, no optimism.

There was only defeat.

Which made me want to retreat.

When you stand on the sidelines, you’re inoculated with the bliss of ignorance. In the moment, you’re above the fray, safe from the fallout of failure.

Of course, in the long run, that safety only guarantees your failure, because you can’t achieve what you don’t attempt.

And I know that.

I know that everyone has their struggles, and that sometimes the ride is rougher than it is at others.

And I know that in order to finish those articles, I first had to start them. What initially seemed like a setback was, in actuality, an initial step of progress.

The same applies to my computer.

The only way it was going to update was to begin the updating process.

And after taking “a while” to get through its cycle today, it should be ready for my workout tonight.

 

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