During a recent seminar, I talked with participants about living their dreams. I shared a number of timeless principles of success with them. Because of a personal experience I had last week regarding one of those principles, I’d like to talk with you about that one today.
I reminded the participants that if they wanted to experience fulfillment and joy in life, they would have to deal with lots of “hassle.” I reminded them that the path to success is strewn with many obstacles, and in order to reach our desired destinations, we all must learn how to effectively deal with hassle.
One of my lifelong passions is astronomy. I have enjoyed exploring the cosmos with my telescopes since I was 12 years old. Because viewing the cosmos requires a clear sky, carefully-planned, astronomical adventures can end in disappointment if the clouds roll in. In spite of that challenge, I continue to plan such adventures, pack my gear, and hope for clear skies. Sometimes the sky clears and sometimes it doesn’t. Looking back over the years, I can honestly say, that even when the sky never cleared, I have enjoyed other pleasures along the way, and I am thankful I didn’t let hassle keep me from pursuing my interest in astronomy.
Last week, my wife and I traveled to a dark sky site to enjoy an evening of astrophotography. As we packed (camping gear, telescope, computer, etc.), the sky did not look promising—but we decided to go anyway. After we set up camp, the sky was cloudy, so I didn’t set up my astrophotography gear. Instead, we spent our time hiking, taking pictures of the beautiful vistas, and enjoying each other’s company. As we entered our tent to go to bed, I kind of felt sorry for myself, because I had so hoped to take some pictures of the heavens. Then I reminded myself that we had enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and evening in a beautiful setting.
I woke up at around 1 am and thought, “maybe the sky has cleared.” Part of me wanted to simply roll back over and sleep, but another part—my better part—reminded me that I had come to that location to photography the starry sky. I got up and went outside. To my amazement, the sky had a few clear patches—not enough to justify setting up my telescope, but maybe enough for me to take a few pics with my camera and tripod. For the next hour, I sat in my camping chair, luxuriated in the quiet darkness, and hoped for a suitable opening in the clouds. Well, my patience paid off. The clouds finally parted revealing the constellation of Cygnus. I excitedly set up my camera and started taking pictures. My efforts resulted in the accompanying picture. As I processed that picture, I thought to myself, “If I had decided to stay home—or stay in my sleeping bag—I wouldn’t have captured this beautiful image.” I was happy that I hadn’t allowed hassle to side track me from pursuing my dream.
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” -Ecclesiastes