When to Back Down and When to Push Through

Knowing when you’re spent is a skill that’s all but required in everything you do, in all aspects of your life. You can only do so much without running yourself dry, that’s something that’s a part of every individual. We all have different capabilities, and along with that come very breaking points.

Those breaking points, however, and the threat of knowing they’re somewhere in front of you, cannot hold you back from getting things done to a better standard than what you did last time. There’s the constant goal of beating your best; that is the only way to improve. It’s impossible to get better when you accept something as a boundary, as the best you have to offer. In all aspects of your life, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, you can only figure out how far you can go and how much you can do, once you’ve accepted the fact that you might go too far, or do too much.

I’ve posted a lot recently about stress, making decisions, and taking on too much at once. I have boundaries, I figured that out the hard way. But, pushing myself didn’t come with only negative aspects. Through learning where to draw the line, I’ve also picked up on how to organize my life, how to set myself up for success. You need hard work, you just have to find the balance between work and rest. While no one is a machine that needs neither sleep nor breaks, we can’t expect to be great if we don’t provide excellence. If we don’t give in abundance, life will give us nothing. Sometimes, you have to add the extra pound to the weight on your shoulders.

Over this past weekend, I took on the task of covering the Heritage Festival combined with the Patriot Fair, two local, annual events that had combined as one for the first year. I had nothing else to do, and it needed to be done for the newspaper staff.

And so I went, and I got my interviews with vendors and bystanders and volunteers, and I got my background information, and I met my mother to leave at 12:00, the designated pick up time we’d agreed on. But, when I started putting the story together, I felt like I had missed a lot of great opportunities at the event. It didn’t feel like I was doing it justice. My mom, though confused, agreed to let me go back to the event later in the day.

I spoke with a member of the City of Mason board of directors, I interviewed a man who was part of a history group dedicated to preserving the veterans of the Civil War through the knowledge of who their ancestors were, and generally got much more valuable information than I had had before.

The story was originally going to be done by midnight that night (a deadline I had set for myself), but with all this new potential, I instead worked late into the night on this one story. It only ended up being a few hundred words long, no longer that 700, but the final piece was something I was proud of.

Apparently, it paid off. Apparently, other people felt it was better than expected as well. Throughout the day I received compliments on my work, and a lot of excitement over how I had approached the angle of the piece.

But I really knew I had done the event justice when my instructor approached me to tell me that it was good work. That what I had produced was better than typical high school journalistic pieces. Being new to the Chronicle staff, and stumbling a bit in my inauguration and impressions, I’d felt as if I wasn’t living up to expectations. Like I was lacking, falling behind on my progress. Maybe I was, but I am confident that I no longer am. I feel like this was the first step I had to take to prove that I deserved my spot on staff. That I’m earning my place, every day. I’m proving to myself that I’m worth the chances I’m being given, and that they haven’t been wasted.

I have limits. Pushing those limits, however, is the only way I will ever grow. Not by knocking them down, but by making inch-by-inch progress. One push at a time.

Community joins to celebrate city’s history and heritage at Heritage Festival

Visit the piece I wrote. Tell me how to improve, and where you think I’ve already made progress.


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