“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it….Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
For over 20 years I have had this quote hanging on my wall, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
I know it almost by heart for the number of times I have read it and repeated it to myself when I couldn’t quite see the way through to staying with my dreams. It is easy to get discouraged, the space between our ideas and the manifestation in the world can feel like an abyss. Sometimes it is, but believing that there is magic on your side once you dive in head first is the saving grace. Living with one foot out the door is the silent and common disease that infects us often without our knowing it.
I sent my book to the printer today. This is a project that I have been working toward for three years actively and been dreaming of for at least a decade. I always knew I had at least one book in me, that I had enough ideas that were worth compiling to be of interest. Thinking back on the process that brought me to the point of publication, I realize how much of its achievement was a result of the commitment to getting it done.
Many times the big moments of boldness are a little anti-climactic. I thought I would see some fireworks or at least a bolt of lightening fill the sky. Drum roll or a clap of thunder, but it was a quiet moment in the middle of a busy day when I sent the completed manuscript on its way. Boldness that puts thoughts into action are day by day choices that honor our commitments; that is why they are so hard. The victories are small and mostly internal. In the end, it is truly how things get done.
There is no overnight success in life, it just looks that way because we are mostly not privileged to witness all the small commitments that were made that eventually ended in the public recognition that appears to be success. The success lies in Thoreau’s advice to live the life you’ve imagined through the steady, daily work of boldness. Start by loving yourself enough to dream.