BY JOHN C. MAXWELL.
Everything worthwhile is uphill.
I’ve been saying that a lot lately. Because it’s a fact. Almost everything that has value, almost everything that has purpose, requires work on our part to attain it. We have to put in the effort to get what to where we want to go.
Think about it – you want a good marriage? You have to work at it. You want a good career? You have to work at it. You want to change your life, achieve a goal, do something you’ve never done before? You have to work at it.
Nothing that is good in life comes easy. And very little that comes easy is good.
You have to work at it.
I’m reminded of a funny story about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Known as one of the most gifted and brilliant architects in American history, Wright is remembered for some breathtaking designs. One of his most famous is a home called Fallingwater, which he designed for Edgar J. Kaufmann in 1935.
The story goes that Kaufmann commissioned the design from Wright, who did nothing with it for several weeks. And then one morning, as Wright was eating breakfast, he received a surprise call from Kaufmann, who informed the architect that he would be by around noon to see the final design for his house.
According to the story, Wright hung up the phone, finished his breakfast, and designed the entire house in less than two hours. When Kaufmann arrived, he loved the bold design, and went on to build one of the most amazing homes in American history.
Now, even if that story were true – and most people believe that it’s not – or even if you think Frank Lloyd Wright was so gifted that he could just design a house from scratch in two hours, do you think that house was the first one Wright had ever designed?
Of course not! Before Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater, he’d designed many other homes and structures, and spent countless hours drawing and dreaming of designs. In other words, Wright didn’t just roll out of bed one morning and make magic happen; he worked steadily at his craft one day at a time.
Because everything worthwhile in life is uphill.
But too many people don’t seem to want to climb a hill. They just want to wait at the bottom and let whatever is at the top roll down to them! I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen enough cartoons to know that whatever rolls downhill is rarely something you want to get in front of. If you don’t believe me, just ask Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes.
So why do some people prefer to stand at the bottom, waiting around?
Maybe they are afraid of the climb. Maybe they don’t think they can make it to the top. Maybe they don’t have the energy or stamina necessary to go up the hill. Maybe they lack the discipline.
Or maybe they just like the feeling of coasting.
When I was a kid learning to ride my bike, I was always glad to go down a hill. It was fast and exciting, and I didn’t have to pedal.
But you know what I soon realized?
In order to go down that hill, I had to pedal my way to the top. The thrill I chased only came after I’d done the work necessary to catch it.
If everything worthwhile is uphill, that means you have to make the choice to go and get it. You have to put one foot in front of the other and take that hill a step at a time. You must grow and stretch yourself a little every day. You may not conquer a mountain at first, but for every hill you do conquer, you gain confidence for the next climb. And there is always another hill to start climbing from the bottom.
I’m at a point in my life where I could choose to coast – I’ve been climbing hills for over forty years now. People ask me all the time when I’m going to retire, or if I’m ever going to take it easy. And I’ll tell you what I tell them: I’m not ready to coast. So why do I keep climbing?
Because what I’m going after every day in this season of life is worth it. The growth I discover as I push toward the top of my current hill is worth more to me than the temporary joy I’d get from coasting, even for a little while. And that’s the secret. Whatever you put at the top of your hill, it must be something that makes the journey worth it.
So what about you? Have you been coasting, or maybe waiting at the bottom of the hill? Are you unsure if what’s the at the top of your hill is worth the climb? I have good news for you – it’s never too late to make a fresh start. Choosing to go after something worthwhile is the first step in the journey uphill.
Or maybe you’re already going after something every day, putting one foot in front of the other, climbing slowly but surely toward a prize that will make the climb worthwhile. If so, I’d love to hear what that prize is! What’s at the top of your hill right now that keeps you motivated? What are you chasing that’s worthwhile?
I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. And I’ll leave you with this: everyone has something worthwhile to go after. Every person has a dream or a purpose that can make even the hardest sacrifices feel worth it in the end. Whatever that may be for you, my friend, don’t give up on it. Even if you have to take small steps, take them every day.
The view from the top of hill is much better than the view from the bottom.