041 | The Day After the Big Day

Greetings, hero!

There’s the days we all dream about: the moment when the of our favorite stories takes the crown, or the moment where they refuse it because they know someone else would make a better ruler. The day when they meet the love of their life, the feasting, the parties, the friends, the celebration of everything that happened along the way.

We dream of that day because it’s the day it all pays off: all the hard work, long nights, will power, and the thousands of “I don’t really feel like it” turning into “I did it anyways.” We dream of the day we finally accomplish our goal, and can share it for the world to see. And that day stretches into eternity in our minds, an endless, infinite moment of revelry and joy. 

And then the next morning we wake up. The sun rises in the East. The early bird still got the unfortunate worm. The stars decide to call it a night and go to bed. The biggest day of all, the one we dreamed of, well, it’s no longer in the future. It’s in the past. It’s over. Done. Gone. 

Or the inverse moment—the unfortunate counterpart, where everything is opposite. The day it all falls apart. When all your hopes and dreams of accomplishing this quest seem to be even further off than when you set out in the first place. And now, instead of having an epic quest to set out on, you’re stuck with a new mission: answering the age old question, “now what?” 

There’s a strange old story about happiness from a book titled “Histories” by Herodotus (who wrote such gripping and fascinating tales that it makes me wish all history could be so colorful). In it, a king named Croesus asks an old wise man, Solon (somewhat of a mentor himself) who the happiest person in the land was? Now the King wasn’t actually asking a question, for he thought he knew the answer already—it was obviously him! He had all the money, fame, land, wealth, power anyone could ever ask for. He had accomplished more than anyone else. Who could be happier?

But Solon, mentor that was, gave a strange answer—first, a man who had died trying to save his city, and then, two songs who had died after a long feast in their honor. His argument was simple: they knew how their story ended. And Croesus, for all his accomplishments, still had time. Solon knew a great truth, one that has passed it’s way through books and stories but one that I like most from Yogi Berra: it ain’t over till it’s over.

So whether today is the day after everything worked out, or the day after it all fell apart—remember: even the kings of old, with all their wealth and power, had no more control over the future than you do. So good or bad, whatever kind of day you had, remember the wisdom of Solon: tomorrow is a new day, a new future, bringing with it new adventures and new failures. And the wisest of them all—well, they’re the ones who don’t let either the successes or the failures stop them from remembering: it ain’t over till it’s over.

The Letter from the Mentor is a weekly letter of encouragement and inspiration from your favorite old wizard, archetypal figure The Mentor. Full of advice, stories, and cheerful good will, the Letter from the Mentor is a weekly reflection on the greatest heroes of our time and those times before. You can read more letters below or sign up to get them in your inbox every Tuesday morning here:

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