Sunday, May 26, 2013

Determination is not Enough for Success. There is also The Formula.

"If the things that are worth something were easy to achieve, anyone would do them." 

I set myself to achieve a goal worth everything; save my life. Armed with determination and willpower, I confronted my fears, made my research and overcame the first obstacles I found. A few small victories strengthened my faith and resolve. I also got myself some amazing back-up in the support of caring friends' thoughts and prayers. No doubt I was in the right road.

"When all doors close, it's time to bring a bulldozer and create your own door."

These were my words when I chose to go for a miracle. My plan was basically hit the rock until opening a door through the wall. Big surprise; my first assessment of the wall was wrong. Problems, as stones, piled up one after another, side by side and on top of one another. This was no wall. It was a mountain. My determination never wavered, even if my presence of mind did. But I would keep my plan the same. I would open my way through that mountain the same way I was going to do it through the wall. Boulders started to fall, threatening to break me and bury me alive.

Why was that happening? Just when I had gotten all heroic and brandished my highest qualities to face my problems and make my best effort to succeed, everything just turned out worse.  One week I achieved physical goals I've not achieved in 15 years, I got rid of the stabbing sensation in my stomach, I managed decent sleep and some peace of mind (go me!). But the week after that air pollution got so bad that I wasn't able to crouch without loosing my breath. My dog getting sick tightened a knot in my stomach. My parrot getting sick added more knots as days passed and he got worse. As if these were not enough to keep me in check, a careless action caused the breaking of my dragon sculpture, the car has a leak, the internet connection is intermittent again and my laptop started acting up, pointing out to a virus.

All this got me in the worst of moods and my list of things to do only served to mock me because I was not getting anything accomplished. I beat my brains to understand what was happening. The possibility that this chain of unfortunate events was a sign from the Higher Powers that my miracle was denied was unacceptable. That, my friends, is Determination.

But insisting on breaking the mountain with a plan designed to go through a simple wall will render nothing but endless failures now. I can try until the bulldozer is broken to pieces, and then beat the rock until I leave claw, scale and blood on it; I won't be closer to the other side of the mountain. And when I lay all broken and bleeding against that mountain, I would have to accept my goal was beyond my capacity. Unless I am willing to adapt myself to the changing circumstances.

We all have a formula we use to address everything in life. A formula we have always used, that sometimes work and sometimes don't. That formula is shaped according to our particular personality. It clearly specifies our potential and our limitations. It's linked to "This is the way I am and this is how I handle things. I've always done it like this and I always will."

I have mine, you have yours. It is fine and dandy if you get the results you want. Problem comes when, as in my case, you're not getting what you're seeking. I've always summed 2+3 even when 5 is not what I'm looking for. But that's what I get. And I try again and again (determination). I've changed the places of the numbers (3+2). I've written them vertically and horizontally. I've even written them in different colors and even in neon lights but no matter what I do, I don't get 100. "I've done everything to get it but why, oh why, you deaf Heaven, deny me my 100?!"

Is Heaven really deaf or am I too stubborn and blind to not see the fault is mine? "But I've always done it this way and I can't do it any other way." Truth is, yes I can. Either I don't want to because it will be REALLY hard or I don't know how to, but paw on my heart, I can do it different. I can increase the numbers and change my formula. Changing the formula is scary (I've never tried different) and it is also very hard (I'm used to do things as I've always done them.) It will require commitment, courage (to face the unknown), honesty (to self) and discipline.

As it's the first time I'm changing the formula, I really don't know for sure what's the right combination to make 100, so as in all trial and error process, I must be ready to adjust my formula as many times as circumstances demand. I must observe carefully what works and what doesn't work, and learn from my mistakes. All the great achievements followed this process. They didn't happen overnight and no one has ever done anything perfect in the first try.

If you're not getting the result you wish, look more closely. You might need to change your formula.


Franny Stevenson from dr. franny and mrs. myself keeps spoiling me. (Thank you, Franny.) She has kindly shared three awards with me, but I'll work one at the time. This is the Semper Fidelis Award. I think Semper Fidelis is the motto of the navy in the US but also Mexican navy uses it. In my own life "Always faithful" means a lot to me. I'm faithful to my beliefs, my principles and to my friends.  

 Rules are:

§ Add the Semper Fidelis Award logo somewhere on your blog.
§ Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
§ Nominate 5 bloggers who’s loyalty and friendship you value and you consider being part of your ‘pack of wolves'.
§ Post something special for each one of your nominees and dedicate it to them. This can be a quote, saying, poem, picture, anything you think that would fit that person.
§ Let the nominees know that you’ve nominated them.

Jeff Hargett at Strands of Pattern, the most loyal knight I've been lucky enough to befriend and team with. You keep my brain working, my funny bone in shape and my dwarves in check. I cherish our chats, our exchange of ideas, your nudging me into action and me peeking into your brain, hahahaha. The real proof that there can be true friendship between dragons and knights.

Alex J. Cavanaugh Thanks for the ears and for helping me with my formula.

Laura Eno What else can I say except... BOLITAAAA! :O)

Julie Luek. I must work on a dragon Spam Hugs picture, but in the meantime, let's use this. SH is like the greatest and funniest practice we could come up with. Thank you for following the crazy prompt. It has warmed my heart more times I can count already. Thanks for inspiring new ideas in this dragon's head.

You know of whom I speak, don't you? Yes, the one and only Gary Pennick at klahanie. He doesn't like them and yet, he is cursed to keep running into them (or they running into him). Must be his magnetic personality.

But I am acknowledging he is an amazingly caring friend who has been keeping an eye on me, and is quick to respond to the slightest sign of distress from the dragon cave. If that is not a Semper Fidelis worthy person, I don't know what it is then.

Thank you for being with me and helping me in my moments of trial. Your names are written in golden letters in my heart and in the Dragon Cave for selfless actions in Father Dragon's benefit.


  1. What a frustrating, enlightening and beautiful post, Al! I have no idea how to make things better in life. Like many others, I stumble along and do the best I can. But I do know that friends are the only things that really matter. Mine mean everything to me, and I see you feel the same. :-)

  2. I just got the hamsters rolling - you figured out the formula all on your own. It's like growing up. What worked as a child won't work as an adult.
    Congratulations on the award and thank you for honoring me with it. I will try to maintain a full heart at all times.
    And the image you selected for Gary is perfect! He will really appreciate that.

  3. I do hope you find your formula Al and that it doesn't take too long. I know how frustrating it can be when everything seems to happen at once and you seem to get nowhere. I wish you calm and tranquility. Congratulations on the award.


  4. Oh yeah. I was lucky enough to collide with my mountain aged twenty-one. Kind of woke me up to the fact that sometimes there's nothing wrong with my goals, but how I'm going about achieving them.

    So... now I'm climbing my mountains instead.

    Best of luck with finding your working formula. :-)

  5. A wonderful post and those wonderful people who helped you on your way.


  6. It'd be great if the route was straight and simple to the destination of your choice but it never seems to work out that way. A little company on the journey helps though.

    Moody Writing

  7. SHs -our tender yet humorous expression. Thank you Al for including me in this fine circle. Truly, I think we are kindred spirits sometimes. As I read your post, I was thinking about my own life situation, and thinking yes, how do I find a whole new approach to the obstacle? The one I've been using isn't working. (I think that's why I liked that video I sent you the other day) . Sometimes it's just is too painful on the heart-knuckles to knock and knock on the same closed door. But we are creatives. We can find new ways to succeed, yes? SHs to you --the scales left on me after a hug are magic.

  8. Hi Al .. life is full of enormous boulders - but so pleased you're still finding ways through and across the moraine field ...

    We all need to fight - you more than others .. I just hope your 100 comes along fairly soon .. and as Mooderino says .. a little company of bloggers along the way definitely helps a great deal ..

    With thoughts on this Memorial Day - and a peaceful easier time to one and all, you in particular - Hilary

  9. Hi there. I just wanted to stop by and thank you for visiting my blog during last Monday's Blitz. All of you really made my day!

  10. Your post is an emotional ride, Al, and I can relate. I've been changing my formula, too - not sure if it's as effective as I would like, but I have to see what I can do I'm lucky enough to get a post up, let alone comment, but I'm trying, as you can see here. Keep it up, Father Dragon. We're with you! :)

  11. BOLITAAAAAA!!! Excuse me, I've got something in my eye again...
    You are always in my thoughts, you big hunk of scales and fire. Always in my head. Always in my heart. Whenever you need a thought of encouragement or commiseration, I'm already there in the aether, ready to pass it over to you. Hang strong and keep swinging upside down. It will add up. You have an army of admirers behind you...and a few hundred dwarves... ;)

  12. Awesome post, Al!

    Very inspiring, as well. We all go through's how we deal with that process that forms us and inspires us, as well

    You mention some awesome bloggers and I love that picture representing Gary....great stuff! :)

  13. "Your names are written in golden letters ... in the Dragon Cave..." I've never been immortalized in graffiti before. I consider that evidence of having reached a new plateau of greatness. ;-)

    The image you selected is *perfect*! I too cherish our chats and all that comes with them. You have mastered the formula that matters most: the formula that makes you AWESOME!

  14. I love the idea...let's bulldoze this town baby!! Oh, poor gary!! Hahahaha... I accepted your meme today :D

  15. Keep fighting to find that formula Al, we are all with you.

  16. It takes a strong person to admit their formula needs to be changed - I applaud your courage in facing the unknown. I do hope you'll find success in reaching your goals. You have a great support team behind you and an adventure in front of you!

  17. Hi Al,

    My good friend, a powerful, candid and transparent posting. Your thoughts most certainly resonate with me. If something isn't working, we know we have choices. The formula needs adjustment. Sometimes it just needs a little bit of shifting in an alternative direction. And sometimes the answers lie right in front of us. If we look, we see.

    Congratulations on receiving the "Semper Fidelis Award". And your poignant notes and images in regards to Jeff, Alex, Laura and Julie, are truly fantastic. And thank you so much for mentioning my humble self amongst that incredible group of people. I am sincerely honoured to have been the recipient of the award. An award that is most timely. Oh my, check the image in regards to me. How appropriate!

    Yes, it's true I struggle with all those blogfests and blog hops and blog parties and reflection posts about reflection posts about thinking about the alphabet. However, despite my good-natured satire, you have noted that I care. My friend, I most certainly do. Get that bulldozer revved and make a new door...

    I shall duly mention this in an upcoming posting.

    In peace and goodwill,

    Gary :)

  18. You will find the correct formula Sir. The proof is in the fact you can be flexible enough to recognize a new plan is needed. You're original quote still holds true; if it were easy, anyone could do it."

    Well, it isn't easy, which means only you can do it! You will. YOu have determination, and faith in yourself.


  19. If you keep searching, the right formula will definitely come your way.
    Very inspiring post. Muchas bendiciones amigo.

  20. Oh, FD, I am so sorry to hear about your downfalls, but you are of sound mind and HEART... Your soul is EVER powerful, so you must keep on going.

    Most dragons and their kind dislike change. Many of my friends come from the same way of thinking. BUT, as for me I love change. I have re-invented myself so many times to survive the times. Crashing through walls has become an art form for me. I am still doing so, now with writing. My first novel. M/G fantasy,,, my second, Y/A edgy contemporary. A few short stories, and now a 40's film noir novella which is my current WIP. NEW holes keep opening all the time. THE KEY... GO with it. Don't put up the WRONG fight.

    We are ALL here for you. AL... your kindness and HUGE heart are who you are. Take care of YOU. Show some compassion for yourself. And most of all try and keep patient. I know Dragons have a short fuse, however they have been around for Millennia, so obviously you have superb instincts.

    Take care FD.... and keep that BULLDOZER oiled and full of fuel.

  21. Aloha Al,

    Thank you for another, as always honest-to-the-bone post.

    Like many others, I'm not sure where my 100 is, but once I figured out what I wanted to *be* (a Writer) I definitely picked up some bonus points.

    Now, it's a matter of believing in one's self, paying it forward and being the best writer I can be.

    I know you won't dear Al, but don't ever stop. The world (outside your cave) is your oyster - just don't burn it when you swallow :)

  22. What a great post... I'm still trying to work out my formula, though I feel I'm getting close, maybe:)

  23. Changing the formula is sometimes necessary. And like you said it can be scary but Dragons are brave and strong (; plus, they have an army of blogging friends who are here for support if needed. (:
    Things will get better--they must.

  24. Interesting post. I'm pretty good at determination but you're right, I do tend to approach everything in a similar way. I'll have a go at changing my formula.

    Best wishes for your attempts to do the same.

  25. What a lovely way to appreciate those along your path to success! This is a beautiful post. Congrats on winning this award and Alex's "You Rock" award. Undoubtedly, well deserved!

  26. My goodness, Al! Bad things are meant to only come in threes. I think you've over done your quota. Many hugs and prayers for finding that new formula.

  27. I love this post. Had to read it three times to make sure I got all of it. Congrats on receiving your "YOU ROCK" award from Mr. Cavanaugh.

    Hope you find the way to some peace.

  28. I'm coming out of hibernation--I'm late, of course. Most bears have long since emerged from their caves and fattened up. But that's okay. I'm trying a new formula. :-)

    Here's to finding your way to health through Dragon strength and ingenuity.

  29. By your own words you've determined it was past time to change your formula. And that's dam hard when you've managed your whole like with that certain formula. Perseverance, strength, ingenuity, and God's grace will see you through your changes. Peace!

  30. Yep, got me again! Thanks, Al. I've been praying for you and I will keep on praying. I know this is hard, tortuous in fact. I'm with you in spirit and pray God's will help you achieve your mission. You can change the numbers to 100. I just know it!

    Couldn't help but smile when I saw how you addressed the awards. Congratulations to you and to those you've chosen to share them with - all wonderful bloggers and really neat people here in Blog Land.

    I'm so glad I stopped by. This is a truly beautiful post, kind dragon:)

  31. Aw, Al. I've been having a rough time lately, too. Praying things get better for you soon.

  32. Oh my. Having seen you on other blogs, and having a deep and abiding love for dragons I have been meaning to come and visit for some time. Gary finally inspired me to get off my behind and do so this morning and I am so glad I did. Love this post - and the talented bloggers you have awarded. Some I know and love and I will visit the others. Thank you.

  33. I'm sorry you've had so many bad things going on at once.

    I feel like a stumble along through life sometimes too. A couple of my writer friends recently had an International be Positive day. I decided to find a positive quote to participate in their Twitter positivity. It wound up really resonating with me. I hope it does for you too.

    “We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.” ― William Arthur Ward