“In Sanskrit we have a word which means “heroes at the beginning”: people who take up a job with a fanfare of trumpets but soon find that their enthusiasm has tiptoed down the back stair. Those who go far in meditation are the ones who keep on plugging. They may not be very spectacular; they may never hear a trumpet. But they keep on trying day in and day out, giving their best in every situation and relationship, never giving up. Such people are bound to reach their goal.”
O.M.G. Love that.
Reminds me of Russell Simmons’ genius line from his equally awesome book Do You! (see Note): “Focus on your vision and keep going until you hit the finish line. Don’t be one of the people who believe in their vision at first but then give up. See it through, no matter how long it takes. Understand that obstacles are just part of the game. Whatever you imagine, you can achieve. Once you realize this truth, no one is going to be able to stop you.”
(Side note: You might not’ve known it, but in addition to being the Godfather of hip-hop, Simmons is also a devoted vegan yogi who tells us: “I’m just suggesting that when you’re faced with fear and anxiety, don’t medicate. Meditate instead.”)
Also reminds me of some wisdom from one of my old mentors, Steve Wynne (not the Vegas guy but the former CEO of Adidas!). Quick context: I was a 25-year-old CEO of an internet company I co-founded called eteamz. We’d won the biz plan competition at UCLA, raised $5m and hired 45 employees when we decided to find a grown-up to run the biz. Long story a little shorter, we got lucky and hired Steve to be our CEO right when the dot com bubble popped in 2000.
In the process of struggling to meet payrolls and figuring out how we were going to make everything work, I VIVIDLY remember Steve telling me: “It’s not how you start something, it’s how you finish it.” I actually get tears in my eyes as I type that and remember the challenges of those weeks/months and how often I felt like giving up–at which point those words would echo in my head and I’d get back to work on creating the best possible outcome. (Which for us was selling the biz to one of our competitors who had raised $50m to our $5m. eteamz now serves 3+ million teams from nearly every country in the world.)
Finally, we can’t talk about being a hero in the beginning without referencing George Leonard’s Mastery (see Notes). If you haven’t read the book yet, please put it on your “will do!” list. For now, we’ll soak this up: “We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.”
And now for the most important part: How ‘bout you? You starting off strong on stuff (whether it’s your meditation practice or creative projects or relationships or whatever) and then sneaking out the back door?