On the Acknowledgment of Victories


It’s been a day of tiny victories: of irritations checked, of annoyances contained, of interruptions patiently endured. Counting tiny victories is itself a victory—perhaps one not so tiny.

Since 2013 began, my sole aspiration has been to do the good, to be the good. Apart from 2012, few other years have been as trying. The magnitude of my good intentions has been easily dwarfed by the enormity of my failings.

When July began, the halfway point of 2013, I thought to myself: enough of these grand ambitions; enough of these ideas of benevolence; enough of these notions of magnanimity. Resolutions must be carried out in existential myopia, with only a view to the present moment and the one immediately after. Never mind the ten thousand hours of practice (established by Malcolm Gladwell as the minimum required for any kind of mastery). I don’t know if I have ten thousand hours. And even if I did, this hour alone presents challenges enough.

So now I deal solely with the present, looking carefully at the spot of reality right in front of me, like a tightrope artist without a destination in sight. What matters is to stay on the rope, step by step, to find foothold, toehold, fingerhold if need be. What matters is to stay on the rope.

It’s a tiny victory. But it’s the only victory that matters.

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