My six year old and I had an enlightening discussion about piano last night. She expressed an interest in playing and I gleefully launched into a long-winded plan to help her accomplish this as though I’d been waiting my whole life for an interest to be expressed. I was DELIGHTED.
She was NOT.
My sweetheart of a daughter, leveled a steady gaze at me, cocked her pig-tailed head to one side, defiantly folded those little arms, and exclaimed:
Kids. They just want what they want.
Unfortunately, I could relate.
Unfortunately, our social media obsession is of no help. Think about how often we share our end results, as compared to how often we share the hard work that went into them.
I mean, who wants to see carefully styled and filtered pictures of people doing hard work?
So, we post:
- The straight A report card, but not the late nights of studying, the flash cards, or the tutor.
- The promotion, but not the five years of relentless and sometimes boring work at that desk under fluorescent lights, the missed social events, and the skipped vacations, and the bad bosses.
- The wedding day, but not the broken hearts that came before, the premarital counseling, the constant negotiating, the tolerance of habits and the daily compromises.
- The Ironman finish line but not the hours and hours of running and swimming and cycling, the injuries, the blisters, the lost toenails, the travel bills, the costs of all the gear.
- The beautiful baby, but not the multiple losses, and the tears, and the infertility treatments and the sore back and the shots and the incessant fear.
- The dream kitchen, but not the years of budgets and savings and sacrifices to fund the renovation.
- The newly lean body, but not the months of cardio and lifting and steamed vegetables and willpower.
- The business launch celebration, but not the blood, sweat and tears, the failed attempts, the investor rejections, and the financial sacrifices that fueled it.
I wish we were better about sharing the whole picture with one another. I worry about the expectation we are setting when we don’t, and I really wonder how our children’s world view is being shaped by the highlight reel they’re getting online.
So let’s try this.
The next time someone shares a Ta-Da moment, especially one you’d love to have yourself, pause to fill in some blanks. Ask yourself – honestly – what do you think it took to get there?
Better yet, ask the person who shared it! That knowledge is what will help you as you’re chasing your own dreams. What was the work?
We can’t be afraid to do the work.
Getting there doesn’t have to be miserable, but it’s not going to happen without some effort. And if we don’t know what it took, we can’t build our own path.