This paragraph is from Like the Flowing River written by one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho. This paragraph illustrates what a lady had once told him. It is about how she managed her pilgrimage at her own pace.
Isn’t this true for all of us in our journey of life? With the acute peer pressure and societal conformity, we tend to get into the race and pace irrespective of our circumstances. We might overlook situations, backgrounds, and support systems that are different for different individuals. Personal capacity varies from one to another based on quite many factors. When we ignore all these differences and focus only on the targets and the pace of others, it could be overwhelming. It may make one quit the process itself or face the disappointment and dissatisfaction of not reaching out at the same speed as someone else.
It reminds me of various instances where I have faced the situations like the lady in this story. The first one I can think of is blogging. As I am writing this, it came first to my mind. In some of my blogs, I have mentioned the resistance that I had to overcome to start this blog.
After setting up the website, I started writing & posting. I spent more time setting up the website and understanding the whole process. However, after doing so, I started reading WordPress posts by others and observing the reader base and comments. It made me feel that there is no use in my writing when there are no readers. Yes, I am aware that the journey of thousand miles starts with the first step, and I have taken it. Also, I knew that I blog for my creative urge, not for social validation. Still, I was keen to have many readers like some prominent bloggers.
I came across websites with popular content with a better reader base. Knowing my limitations on time & resources to spend on the website, I felt let down. When many people post twice or thrice per week, my maximum was one post a week. With the time I could invest in writing, my website could not grow at the speed I wanted. I got some early subscribers, known and unknown people. It boosted my morale to write. However, if I look at the number of others, I may miss the joy of writing, for which I started this website.
I observed that if I start thinking about improving the reader-base, I stop writing at all. Once I leave it for a long duration, I need to gather more strength to start again. I am grateful to the readers who supported me from different locations. It gives immense joy to see the map on WordPress statistics. I have now accepted my pace and write when I feel like writing. I am not competing to match the rhythm of others. I am marching with my rhythm and pace.
I can correlate this to the time I took up long-distance running. It depends on health, fitness, time to invest, and many more. Some may reach goals like being able to run 21km or 42 km within a year, while others may need more than just a year to do so. Each one is different.
Trying to work with the rhythm set by someone else is not limited to any activity. We see such influence in many aspects of life. It may be scoring marks in school, winning competitions, getting jobs in a specific company/industry, traveling for vacations, career progression, acquiring properties, or any other goal. Most of the time, we try to conform with society and try to push ourselves to the tunes of someone else, without even thinking twice about whether we need it or not.
Someone may travel more, get a better job, higher marks, have good health, have a bigger car, have flashier gadgets, or have designer clothes. Should we compare ourselves with them and feel bad? Or should we think about our priorities and happiness? Is there anything or experience that can provide happiness and satisfaction to anyone? Each one has a different mindset & expectations and a unique set of experiences that could make one happy. If you cannot find happiness in something, which others are rushing for, why do you need to go after it?
If your situation and mindset are not similar, why waste time comparing yourself with others? Why try to fit your steps into someone else’s footprint?
It’s better to choose your race & pace than hurrying up to compete with someone without knowing whether that is the race/target which you intend to get in.
Accept yourself, embrace your rhythm, keep moving or pausing at your wish. Have fun, enjoy the journey!
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