Original post here.
Sometime in my childhood, someone introduced me to the paradox of the unstoppable force and the immovable object. I spent months and months trying to resolve this problem.
In my young mind I pictured the immovable object as an anvil in space. The unstoppable force as a hammer flying toward it. I went over and over the conundrum in my mind. What would happen when the two met? How could one be unstoppable, and the other immovable? It just doesn’t work! My tiny little brain couldn’t comprehend it.
And then it could. At some point I developed a solution. I came to understand that you couldn’t have both an immovable object and an unstoppable force existing at the same time.
Here is the first beautiful truth: When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, only one of them emerges with their name intact.
In college, my very first English professor announced to the class that you couldn’t make a living at creative writing. It was practical advice, stated simply. He spoke from years of experience. Here was an immovable object. A universal truth.
Only it wasn't.
I stopped writing for ten years. I graduated with two degrees in different subjects. But somewhere deep inside, the author would not be still. He would not be silent.
And so I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more. I experienced pain that only other artists truly understand.
I have two books in print. I have an amazing agent working with me on a third book. I do not support myself with my writing. I do not know if the force I have built up is enough to break this personal immovable object. It may not be. The professor may have been right . . . for now.
Here is the second beautiful truth: You can always try again.
When the unstoppable force is stopped, it proves nothing. There is a spark in each of us—a spark that makes us human. Sometimes that spark is buried deep. Sometimes we’re not sure it’s there at all. But it is. And that spark demands that we try again. And again. And again.
The spark does not demand that we succeed. Only that we try.
Here is the third truth: Sometimes we succeed.
And that is the most beautiful truth of all. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Piles and piles of practice and work. In the end you just might reveal the immovable object for what it is—a fraud.
We try, we try, we try again. And in the end, when the dust has settled, we will see ourselves for what we really are.