Your Beacon in the Night

by Henrik Edberg

Your Beacon in the Night
Image by Libertinus (license).

Note: This is a guest post by Dereck Coatney of I Will Not Die.

I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to speak to you today, even though Henrik turned down my original request to write to you about the most effective ways of being negative in life. The original piece, which focused on how you can gain notoriety and everlasting fame by being a snarky brute, was rejected, I must assume, because of the subject matter. Can you imagine?

I’m joking, of course; and it’s a good thing too, because I haven’t much to actually say about negativity–and do you know why? Because no one needs to actually say anything about it. In other words, read this: one does not need a manual for something already written all over the wall.

And it’s that that I’d like to write to you about.

It’s the fact that everywhere around us, negativity is not just the opportunity that knocks on the door; it goes much further by climbing right in through the window. It comes at us from all angles, from the mouths of the people around us, from the actions of the people we know who secretly feel that our successes indicate their failures. It comes at us through our own failures because the greatest successes we can make so often require ten times as many failures in order to achieve them.

It is the frustration we face at every turn.

There are two kinds of people who have no frustration: those who have everything they want, and those who do not want anything. For everyone else, there is always frustration that corresponds to the degree of desire they have for the things in life they want that they do not have. And if life was an abundant source of all things desirable–in other words, if life had no scarcity–then the path to the things we want would have no resistance.

But life isn’t like that.

So to get whatever we’re after, we head on off on the rocky road. We turn and face the obstacles that prevent our ascent, we face the resistance, we face the frustration, and we dance the dance of life that can lead us to a long string of upset, failure, sweat and tears. The resistance pushes back.

And it is in that encounter with reality that negativity is our eager companion. I don’t say this from the outside looking in. I say this as a man who has worn the tragic badge of defeat as a professional might wear one. I say it from the front lines. I know with great intimacy exactly what negativity will breed: it’s an awful thing like a pulse with a destination. It’s the ominous buildup that says quite happily, “No you will not.”

The only fitting response is to acknowledge the challenge for what it is: “Oh? Yes I will.”

And that little challenge is the great promise. It’s the great promise because it depends on nothing and no one. It does not come to you from the world around you, it is not given to you, it is not something you find, it is not something you can be taught, something you can lend or something you can borrow. It is entirely your own creation, a craft of your two hands, built upon the foundations of your own heart.

It is the challenge of a hope.

This little hope is like a seed deep within us all where we acknowledge the possibilities before us that stand in obvious ways in a sometimes desolate landscape that stretches for miles on end. You must never let that seed die.

The best example I’ve been able to elaborate on is from my own life, and I was able to articulate it so well only because I know it so well, only because it is my seed of hope. I wrote about it in an article I simply entitled Love. For those of you who go on to read that, you will know well at least one man’s bright statue of hope in a world that can sometimes otherwise seem uncaring. I wrote it as an example of how everyone can remain positive when faced off against resistance, so long as they have something they are truly passionate about.

It is quite possible that I have met the greatest and most caring people of my entire life, here, and recently, on the Internet. I am in the midst of trying to change my direction in life in drastic ways and to illustrate one of the greatest upheavals of circumstance that I know. It is difficult. But what drives me is a passion for life because I nurture my hopes even when I have little else to nurture. For anyone who might be willing to help me nurture that hope, I invite you with open arms.

I encourage you to be passionate. I encourage you to be an example of a great human virtue. I encourage you to remain positive even when the people and things around you do not necessarily agree with your aims. Your life will shine ever the brighter, not because of what you are able to accomplish and achieve, but because of how bright you let your positivity shine as an example to the world around you. That’s my promise to you.

Manage your affairs just as if you were the careful and loving guardian of your entire future before you.

Because you are.

Dereck Coatney runs the website I Will Not Die. He has an astonishing lack of tangible credentials.

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{ 9 comments }

Eric Twitty November 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm

“Manage your affairs just as if you were the careful and loving guardian of your entire future before you.”

“Because you are.”

Excellent article Dereck. This is a great message.

We should never let our hope die. We have to work for the things we want to achieve in life. Never wait for positive things to happen to you. We have to make them happen. We are truly the loving guardian of our future.

Hayden Tompkins November 4, 2008 at 7:01 pm

“It is quite possible that I have met the greatest and most caring people of my entire life, here, and recently, on the Internet.”

That’s not even an overstatement. Since location has no meaning, not really, on the internet – we end up associating with people who are like-minded.

It’s a truly ‘capitalist’ market. If you don’t like what someone has to say, you just move on until you bump into someone who touches you. We then build communities and connect with others through our shared beliefs, ideas, and attitudes.

It can be incredibly powerful and uplifting to connect with such a community every day. It’s funny, I was just telling my husband about how much I love the internet!

Ari Koinuma November 4, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Hi Dereck,

Negativity is a habit we can unlearn, and it is entirely controllable. I’m doing well on getting that out of my system and I feel great!

ari

jazz November 5, 2008 at 6:44 am

A good read after such a long time! I agree on most of the things said and have exp a few too!

Vincent November 5, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Leading by example and let our light be a guidance to others like a light house is to a boat in the stormy sea. Great article Dereck.

Cheers
Vincent
Personal Development Blogger

Ross November 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Hi Dereck. Very encouraging, my friend! Your comments on finding some of the most caring people etc are true – I wish I could enter a room sometimes and do a quick keyword search on the 40 people present: “productivity, compassion” and 34 of them are eliminated ;)

Zora November 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Amen. I really needed to hear this. Thank you.

Chris November 11, 2008 at 6:34 pm

I have been reading a lot lately in the face of what I am going through and in reading John Elderidge’s “Walking with God” I found this verse that spoke to my heart last night. It’s from Jeremiah chapter 31, v3-4

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you withloving-kindness.

4 I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.

For myself, going through the hardship that I am, this spoke deeply to my heart knowing that God is reshaping my life and my heart to change me and that a much better day is coming when the time is right.

Dereck Coatney November 13, 2008 at 8:11 pm

@ Eric – Thanks, Eric, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think a major problem some people encounter is, just as you’ve said, that they end up waiting for things to come to them instead of pro actively going after what it is they want.

@ Hayden – I agree. I think the communication the Internet offers us is a great way to connect with people with similar views and attitudes.

@ Ari – You have any left in your system? I can hardly tell based off what you write and how you write it. Good to know it’s almost gone.

@ jazz – Hey thanks for the feedback. I’m very glad you enjoyed it.

@ Vincent – Hi Vincent, nice to meet you. I’m glad you enjoyed it and found it relevant. Cheers

@ Ross – Quite so. Actually, maybe you’re on to something. Search engines for people…hmmm

@ Zora – Thanks, Zora – very glad you liked it.

@ Chris – I haven’t heard of that book, or the author, but it sounds uplifting, to say the least.

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