There is no such thing as talent.

Here is the paradox.

Having both a lot of talent for something or not having it at all can be both equal obstacles in achieving anything, if you let it get to you.

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Joshua Earle

All my life I was told I am talented in many things. And guess what?

I wasted many opportunities because I thought I don’t need to do shit to be good.

I was so wrong.

All my life I was told I have no talent for many other things.  And guess what?

I wasted equally many opportunities because I gave up right from the start.  If I suck at something anyways, why even bother?

I was so wrong.

And I would have gone like that, all the way.  Wasting chance by chance, missing out on an lifelong opportunity to improve myself.

My teenage years have passed, with myself not being particularly good at anything.

I had big dreams and ambition, you see, like any other idealistic young guy,  but I was lacking all the means to make the change. And it was consuming me.

Why? Because of that talent myth.  And the fact that I was believing in that myth, instead of believing in myself.

Until a time would come when I told myself to wake **the fuck** up.

It is only then, when I discovered that good things in life such as skills and achievements do not rain from the sky but are forged in fire.  And what fuels that fire is focus, discipline and determination.

So is ability to chose and decide, as if there were no boundaries. Because in reality there are none.

And then it happened.

In the past my novellas got butchered by the editors, people questioning my writing talent & my big dreams of becoming a writer.

Today I am a published author,  having won several national literature contests and with a portfolio of short stories printed by major publishing houses.

In the past I was told I had no talent at mathematics & computer science, merely a curious case of wanna be writer, “humanist” born into family of engineers.

Today I am managing team of IT engineers across 3 continents, in a successful, tech company.

In the past I would be a hopeless loser, when it came to the courting game, hopelessly drifting from one failed attempt of getting attention to the other. I sucked at romance so much, that compared to me Howard Wolfowitz from early episodes of Big Bang Theory would seem like reasonable dating choice.

Today I am married to my Sweetheart, a girl who in my earlier years would not even give me a second look (and trust me, I was not the only one trying to win her heart).

I there a secret to it all? There is none, and never was.

Do not wait for the ray of light piercing the sky,  magical sparkle of inspiration, self enlightenment mumbo jumbo.
Just go out there. Chose what is important for you. Decide and focus.

Be annoying and consistent. Do the shit.

Be brutally honest to yourself, so you see clearly mistakes you make on the way. And adjust. Try over and over again. Take the different angle if needed. But keep going.

And remember: There is no such thing as talent.

There is only blood, sweat and tears.

/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/

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Becoming mature

I was always wondering…
When is it that we guys become truly mature?
When is it that a boy becomes a man?
The border moves, for sure. We are pushing it forward towards new milestones that we set up subconsciously in our minds. This elusive steps that define maturity keep moving.
Taking responsibility for something – check.
Getting first job – check.
Settling down on your own – check.
Getting married – check.
Becoming parent – stop.
That would be it. Final frontier.
The greatest adventure ever.
Fatherhood, as a journey in which we willingly step down to give a place of a main hero to someone else.
Biggest step to full maturity.
Why?
Because that’s the one, which teaches us most about the humility.
In the end: what makes us truly mature are the events that make us truly humble.

One time in Dubai a taxi driver tried to convert me to Islam…

And he had no idea what he was getting into…
After long drive to a church and what had to be one of most difficult conversations in his life, he agreed he would start reading Gospel.
I was walking on the thin ice you see. Criticism of Islam is forbidden in United Arab Emirates. I had to tread carefully, so my words would not be treated a an open attack on something that I fundamentally disagreed with.
And I managed to make a deal with that driver.
I promised to read Quran in return, for him opening the Gospels. What my discussion partner didn’t know is that I read parts of Quran before. I also watched lectures of people as far from Christianity as Alan Watts, Ekhart Tolle or Richard Dawkins, even read Crowleys essays and browsed through La Vey’s satanic “bible”.
Why would I do that? Why would I expose my mind to things that could shake, corrupt or simply shatter foundations of my worldview?
Same reason on why a warrior risk losing his teeth on the arena.
Because a true warrior faces challenge wide open.
True warrior, finds strength in exercising his mind, he does not back down from intellectual and spiritual confrontation as he sees an opportunity there to sharpen the sword of his faith.
And there is no greater challenge than facing argumentation that questions the very base of our beliefs. And we the war we wage has a spiritual dimension.
And so, as the taxi driver, explains to me the glory of Allah I smile take a deep breath and engage, so I can tell him about a greater Glory thats out there.  I yield my sword, check my armour and I go forth into the storm.
I have been challenged again. And as many times before, I would make sure it will be for the good.
And in the aftermath, as with every battle, as I grow weary,  I remember to reinvigorate myself with the Truth.  So I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and let my mind regenerate by focusing it fully on Logos. The One Word. Who not only spoke just the Truth, but is the Truth Himself. And as the minutes pass by, a quote of G.K Chesterton, resonate through my heart. It is a quote that should become a mantra of spiritual warrior:

“Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

And in the ever changing universe, with all it’s different people and their countless beliefs, there is nothing more solid than the Truth.

The Epic Quest called Life

So here we are.
Guys, Boyfriends, Husbands, Fathers, Weekend Warriors.

Probably a very last generation of those who used to run in childhood with sticks fighting trolls in a courtyard, who organised water balloon battles against those stinkers from the neighbouring block , who wrestled in sand, got their knees bruised while climbing trees.
We were the last ones to avoid, the omnipresent stigma of virtual reality. And our heads were filled with dreams.
Big, epic dreams.

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Joshua Earle

You can become anyone you want to, we were told. Rock star, general, football player. Fucking astronaut.

Just go ahead and believe that. Its is in our guys, warriors DNA, after all.  To reach for the heights, to climb the highest peak (and then drop your pants down and pee from the top).

When I was a kid I wanted to be a pirate. Or world famous writer.

I have always pictured myself rolling through life accompanied by an elevating soundtrack like in oscar winning movie, carrying a bloodstained armor, waving to crowds of fans with my left hand and giving autographs with the other, flying into space, preventing alien invasion, shitting with epicness.
And here I am, staring eleven hours per day at the numbers on the screen, rolled into the wheels of humongous corporate machine, changing diapers by night, dreading the invasion of bills by the end of the month.

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Ben White

I am Husband, Father, Breadwinner. Manager. Weekend Warrior.

And sometimes I find it hard to distinguish myself from a zombie. Does it have to be, that dream of greatness come back now only while playing another Witcher game on my PC?

Fuck that.

It is time to realise, that we are not ever to drop our childhood dreams, but transcend with them. That we shouldn’t treat life as the ultimate excuse for not living up to our greatest ambitions. A key to success is to pursue passions in spare time, while cherishing every moment of our daily struggles.

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Aziz Acharki

And remember you Fathers – having a family to care for is not only source of strength to face life adventures, but it’s an adventure itself.

I am a father and I am a warrior.

And I am living my quest in my daily experiences.

In my journeys, adventures, battles in the arena of everyday life. In stories told through the eyes of someone who despite coming of age, still lives his childhood dreams. Dreams of fighting trolls, climbing skyscrapers, reaching the heights of heights.
If you ever felt, that life is more, than a repetitive cycle of daily responsibilities, I am sure you will find yourself in some of my stories, if not all of them.
So, hey!… Join me on the epic quest called life.

 

/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/