We tend to interpret hardship as us doing something wrong. Instead, as Steven Pressfield shares in his new book, The Artist's Journey, we should understand that the struggle is all that we own. The challenge is what makes us a success.
Here's the author of the classic The War of Art describing his own journey:
Because I now had a history that was mine alone. I had an ordeal that I had survived and a passage that I had paid for with my own blood. Nobody know about this passage but me. Nobody would ever know, nor did I feel the slightest urge to communicate it. This was mine, and nobody could ever take it away from me.
This, really, is the journey for each and every one of us. Or, at least it should be.
The struggle represents growth
If you were built for the common path, then you wouldn't have any extraordinary challenges. It's a matter of, as activist Marian Wright Edelman recently said at TED Women, being grateful for being born into a particular struggle worthy of your attention.
And, as Joseph Campbell's hero journey that inspired Pressfield's new book, you survive to tell the tale and inspire others with your own attempt to change the world.
And when you don't commit to the struggle...
Accepting your journey is the key, as the only true failure is not pursuing what you know you should be doing. It is a step beyond passion, since, as I open in The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur, passion is a fickle mistress. Instead, you have know your why - why you are doing what you do - and that in itself will keep you anchored whether you survive the journey or not.
As I shared in my own recent TED Talk, you don't want to regret not taking a risk to have a more fulfilling life or career. Fear passes, but longing for what could have been never does.