As Americans, we have an insatiable demand for both quality and quantity. We want what we want when we want it and with haste, however, this economic and social model we have created for ourselves is no reflection of what it takes to personally develop, even in 2019. Despite our best efforts to create something where we can push a button, take a pill, use a fast acting product or listen to advice that will make us a buck right now, we still have to build ourselves the old fashioned way through painful sacrifice and devotion to cause over extended periods of time which are seemingly designed to make us question reality.
Recently, I've been the subject of unique blessings, as some may call it, sheer luck as others may label it. My string of good fortune included winning a start-up small business competition as well as being award the humanitarian Man of the Year award for all of Virginia across all college football programs, it has been quite the week, quite the last few years really. I've also been the subject of many messages on Facebook, most were very supportive but others talked to me as if I was the Pope of the Catholic church. Multiple messages asking me "how", how they can incorporate success into their lives, how they can be blessed, how this good luck can rub off on them. Although flattering, and although it is not my intention to demean their messages in anyway, I believe this is a perfect time to discuss the illusion of social media.
What we see through the computer in our hand is not real. Social media exacerbates the pain and suffering in the world through 24/7 reporting of it, while on the other hand, everyone's personal lives are without strife; something has to give. Like you, I am not perfect, despite this fact, and despite the fact that perfection is unattainable, I still pursue it with great vigor and attention to detail. Most often on social media you will see me come around to make an announcement or declare a personal victory, this isn't to make you feel lost or lesser, this is strictly to build my personal brand to define who I am, I want success to define that personal brand. These announcements can be a powerful illusion if you are watching and reading from home, whether myself or others, it is very easy to believe you are falling behind, less blessed or just flat out unlucky. Although I do agree I am blessed, it is not purely divinity which has been the basis for my success, and although I believe I am lucky to live the life I am, it is gratefulness, not luck, which has been the basis for my personal evolution.
Social media will only ever show you the accumulation of work put in by revealing the success that precedes it, you will never see what I (or anyone) did to get there because I keep my work ethic mostly a secret. Sure, from time to time you will see the 4 a.m. gym post or meal-prep post, but this pales in comparison to the bigger picture. We...you, are capable of more than you realize, it is not until you begin a journey to understand the totally misunderstood and peel back the thin veil which reality encompasses that you realize your fullest potential is terrifyingly real and not just a topic of spirituality. In order to access your highest attainment or begin the journey to realize it, like any Greek mythology story, a "sacrifice to the Gods" of sorts, must be made. You cannot remain your current self and at the same time expect to be blessed or lucky or of good fortune, you may only expect what "is" and that is a never changing "you". To attain higher self in potential and spirituality you must be willing to lay yourself down on the sacrificial alter and give up your perceptions and fears in exchange for blind faith that you will make it out the other end of the dark, dark tunnel, even if you decide to walk through it with out so much as a walking stick. As you make your way through and find crevices of light in the form of success that you share with others, they will tell you that you are lucky or blessed to have found that light, they want your secret, how did you find that light in that tunnel, they have to know the secret so they can attain that same light this very second, but it's not possible. They crowd around the tunnel you went through blindly to see if maybe the light you found is the light that will allow for painless success, wholesome success without all the extra work, Their idea of the light being a blessing is totally skewed, it is only once you take a step into the darkness that you realize the darkness is the blessing and the light is reward for making leaps and bounds to develop yourself through the journey.
As you begin to uncover your vast capabilities, others will begin to take notice of your light and ask you to share it, it is your responsibility to lead them towards the dark, their personal version of the "dark", not the light. You will see my posts of success and joy but this is not something I can lead you to physically, I can not simply bring you there and force you to feel personally fulfilled, it is impossible. I am not done crawling through the darkness myself, I realize I have much more I need to learn in order to attain more and more light on my journey, so all I can offer you is the darkness which I hope you're willing to step into with blind faith, it is rewarding. When people see the successes I share, they will often compare themselves, however, our journey's are not comparable in the least. My journey required specific sacrifices which if shared with exact detail will not lead to the same success, but my hope is that by sharing a portion of the sacrifices made that I can give you a stepping stone to begin making personal sacrifices in your own life in order to attain higher fulfillment. By making some of these sacrifices you may not do or accomplish what I have accomplished, however, you most certainly will show God and the Universe that you are prepared for and deserving of light and show that you are ready to be transformed into a better version of yourself.
People love seeing others with "grit" and "grind", it reminds them, despite often being afraid to try it themselves, that they are to some degree capable of the same tenacity. Despite seeing my success on social media, you will never see all of the 4 a.m. mornings, you will never be there with me as I get my workout in and push my body to see what I am physically capable of. You will never be there with me as I stick my face into the computer for hours to make sure I'm making A's in my classes, you aren't there with me in school full time. You see the awards, the accolades, but you don't see me volunteering at food pantries in my community in my spare time just to gain perspective and keep myself humble. You will not see me volunteering for my school as a representative and captain of the football team. You will not see the dozens of calls and texts I receive daily in season from new players who are confused and lost in their first year of college, you aren't there with me as I try to build a championship team with my boys. You weren't there when I took the initiative to apply for a small business start-up competition, and you weren't there with me when I was up at 4 and 5 a.m. on the weekends cranking out a 22 page, three year business plan to present to the city which was rejected and altered at least 5 times, all while maintaining my grades, going to practice, lifting weights, maintaining at least some semblance of diet, positional meetings, film study and captain responsibilities in helping my teammates. You weren't there with me reading 12 books this year on personal fulfillment philosophy and attempting to learn and develop my spirituality, recognizing my thoughts and actively changing the fundamental way I think and act.
It is true, I am a blessed man having had the help of mentors who wouldn't let me make excuses for myself, I certainly didn't do it all by myself, but this in itself is a product of stepping into the dark because I realized the fake light I was trying to make for myself time and time again meant nothing compared to the divine light I was capable of acquiring if I just had faith. Do not compare yourself to me, we are not the same, do not compare yourself to others, they are not the same as you. We scroll through vast personal success and begin to feel as though we are falling behind, no one is either behind or in front, it is all relative and totally subjective, we are not on the same path.When you see me post or share my light with you, take away from it that it took consuming darkness to allow me to attain that light, it took focusing on my self in a detailed manner which requires nothing less than everything you have to give in order to come out the other side. I implore you to take the first steps to attain your higher self, and I would ague that among those first steps is to recognize the darkness is the only way to the light, the sacrifice is the only way to the attainments and the pain is the only way you can heal.