Showing Up to the Challenge

(Photo above by Harry Sandhuu / Unsplash)

Not where you think you should be? How to move forward when you aren’t achieving your goals.

We all know the saying, “It’s the journey not the destination.” Even though we may meet this with an eye-roll because we’ve heard it so many times, it’s a saying for a reason. No one wants to hear “be patient” when the gap between where we are and where we want to be feels too wide to close.


In Buddhism, nothing is ever wasted.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. In Buddhism, nothing, no effort, is ever wasted. Yes, even that seemingly failed conversation you had with a potential employer is a cause for winning in the end.

Like science, Buddhism concerns itself with cause and effect. When you take action, you will see an effect. The lotus flower is a Buddhist symbol for this principle of cause and effect. This is because the lotus flower is the only flower that blooms and seeds simultaneously. Wild right?


Girl with lotus tattoo on her shoulder

Jasmin Chew / Unsplash

In other words, when we take action or create a cause, the effect is guaranteed to come, even if we can’t see it at first. The important thing is to focus on making causes, regardless of what things look like right now.

To break it down, let’s say you want that dream job but it feels out of your reach. Regardless, you can take action every day to improve yourself in order to bridge that gap and be ready for the next opportunity. In the end, what actually prepared you? It was the daily, small efforts you made.

While it’s easy to understand this principle, taking action, especially when we don’t see immediate results, can be really hard.

Rather than looking at what you haven’t done yet, be proud of where you are and keep pushing.

When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and carry out the basics of Buddhist practice, it enables us to see our inner Buddhability and win over ourselves each day. It inspires us to show up to the challenge each day, which means we get farther, faster.

Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda shares: “The real struggle in life is with ourselves. The true secret of success is the refusal to give up, the refusal to fail; it lies in the struggle to win the battle against one’s own weaknesses.”

Patience isn’t about waiting for what you want to someday happen. It’s recognizing that every effort you’re making right now counts. Buddhism is all about recognizing that, since you and your environment are one, you really do have the power to move everything in the best direction. Rather than looking at what you haven’t done yet, be proud of where you are and keep pushing. Because, if you do, your breakthrough is sure the follow.

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