Every morning, I buy a large skim cappuccino. I have loved the taste of coffee since I worked as a barista almost five years ago, and my morning cappuccino is a ritual that I feel almost lost without. It’s my own time. It’s my own space. I retreat to a moment where I can breathe, relax, and contemplate everything. In that moment, with a warm cup in my hands, my time is truly mine again.
You would assume that the first taste would be delicious. You would assume that, like heroin, the first shot is always the sweetest and nothing else compares. You would think that every morning when I take my first sip of coffee, I sigh to myself in delight.
On the contrary, the first sip is never the best.
The first taste of coffee is strong. It’s overwhelming.
It’s a kick up your backside. It takes some time to settle into.
It’s a plunge rather than a dip; a leap rather than a step. The first sip of coffee pulls you straight into the deep end. It is only after a few delicate sips that we truly revel in the luxurious aroma and bask in the warmth that is a cup of coffee in the morning.
Things aren’t always easy to start off with. They can be daunting, overwhelming, bitter, and tough – but that doesn’t mean that they are always going to be that way.
When you first take on a challenge – whether it is to get into a particular university, score yourself a dream job, or lose the extra weight you’ve been carrying – it can often be incredibly difficult. The first few days, weeks, or months can be unrelenting and often you will wonder if you are in too deep. It will be hard. You will want to give up. There will be days where you feel as though you can’t keep going.
That is normal.
Like putting your hand in hot water or drinking that first sip of coffee, it takes some time to get used to and settle in to. We all need time to adjust to the challenge and to being challenged; after that, like everything else, you become accustomed to it.
You will become familiar with pushing yourself regularly. You become comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will realise that what you thought was difficult initially is getting easier and easier every single day, and you will learn that you are capable of more than what you believe.
No one said it would be easy. They said it would be worth it.
As far as good quotes go, this is perhaps one of my favourites for motivation.
You are already struggling. You are already staying up for nights and nights on end, doing university work. You have already put in long hours – whether it’s at the gym, on the computer, or at work – and you have already busted your butt. Get a reward for it.
If you give up, you receive absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. The only souvenir you will receive at the end is the knowledge that you didn’t meet your challenge or reach your goals.
But if you persist, you are rewarded with the knowledge that you reached your goals, and that you didn’t give up, even when it was hard. You’ve started something – now finish it. See it through. Suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion.
Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going
It is important to remember: excellence is a habit. Those who succeed – entrepreneurs, athletes, academics – all have one thing in common: they never settle for second best and they never stop pushing themselves. They strive and strive and strive, and then they strive some more.
One day, you won’t remember what life was like when you weren’t pushing yourself to reach your goals. One day, challenging yourself will be second nature. One day, you’ll realise that you no longer fear a challenge; you embrace it, and dive in headfirst. One day, like that cup of coffee, you’ll crave it every day. You’ll be surprised by the kick, but then you’ll sink into it, revel in it…and you’ll love it.