Confessions of a struggling grasshopper

by | September 10, 2012

Remember my article on “grasshoppers” and “ants”?

Today I have a confession: I’ve always struggled with my inner grasshopper.

Caught up in materialism, misguided by a “something-for-nothing” mindset, I once made boneheaded investment mistakes, which devastated my family financially for a time.

I’ve joined my share of “ground-floor” business opportunities, and quit and failed each after not paying the price.

I’ve fallen for the standard advertising tricks and racked up my share of consumer debt.

It took me a long time to find my purpose. Until I did, I floundered in dead-end jobs that weren’t an expression of my truest self.

I’ve missed plenty of opportunities because of fear. I have fallen for deceitful shortcuts and suffered the consequences.

I’ve frequently fallen into the “someday” trap with my health — you know, “Someday I’ll eat better and exercise more.”

My newsletters are directed at myself more than anyone else. I didn’t write this message because I think I’m a good little “ant” who needs to teach all the bad “grasshoppers” a lesson.

I wrote it to articulate ideals, to which we can all aspire, notwithstanding our flaws. I echo the poignant words of Seneca,

“I persist in praising not the life that I lead, but that which I ought to lead. I follow it at a mighty distance, crawling.”

I’m passionate about articulating ideals because ideals inspire mankind to keep moving forward. They remind us of what’s important and enduring.

Truth is, all of us have some grasshopper and some ant in us. We all struggle with weaknesses and temptations.

What’s important isn’t where we are, but rather the direction in which we’re headed.

Don’t be discouraged by how far you fall short of ideals. The only cause for discouragement is when you give up pursuing them.

Ideals should uplift and encourage you. If you ever feel discouraged by them, don’t look at the road ahead of you and focus on how far you have to go. Look at the road behind you and see how far you’ve come.

Can you, like me, relate to this cartoon?

stupid

It’s healthy and productive to periodically and realistically take inventory of our progress (or lack thereof). But that’s totally different than letting our inner critic dictate our moods.

So listen, fellow grasshopper: You and I are better today than we were yesterday. And with sincere and consistent effort, we’ll be better tomorrow than we are today.

We may not ever achieve perfection, but we can always progress.

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