Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Point: #32

Hello good gentles,

Last month, I asked you to challenge yourself – to get out of your comfort zone and try something new; to be comfortable in a struggle and find joy in it. When considering what to write this month, I had to ask myself if what I meant was clear – what that struggle would actually look like. Certainly, we find ourselves trying new things after a particularly compelling class or when a friend of ours drags us along to a bead-making lesson, and so forth. Since we’ve invested no energy, mental or otherwise, there is often very little struggle there. It’s easy to fail, after all, when we’re not trying.

There are two great pieces of advice I want to pin my writing to – the first comes from Duke Gunnar. I believe he gave me this advice shortly after my lady was elevated to the Laurel. He said “commitment means that, at some point, you’ll want to quit.” These words have remained with me, and still do – commitment to a goal, a person, an ideal, etc, is not what happens when things are easy, but what happens when you’re ready to throw in the towel. When you’re ready to give up, throw it all away, and walk away because it’s become too frustrating – that is when your commitment is actually tested. Being comfortable in the struggle, be it the struggle to master a new craft, a new technique, or your own fears and doubts, means being committed to that struggle – and keeping to it when you’re ready to give it all up, turn off the lights, and go home.

But not quitting, itself, doesn’t make the struggle. There has to be some element of willingness to go forwards, to advance, and to continue. My friends and I were speaking with Duke Martin one evening, and we had begun by asking him what makes a Duke; a question for which he had no easy answer beyond ‘winning Crown twice’. Eventually, after some conversation, we came to the singular definition that a Duke was made by being, in his words, somewhat crazy enough to go the extra mile
- To spend hours, instead of minutes at the pell, to drive for hours to go to fighter practice each week, and sometimes multiple ones per week, and so forth.

Do you want to succeed?

Commit. Go the extra mile. Be comfortable with the struggle to get there.

It’ll be worth it, in the end.

Yours in service,


Honorable Lord James Highgate is cadet to Don William of Aschem and protégé to Baroness Ilene Johnnestoune. He currently stands as the Wyvernwoode Rapier Champion and the Kingdom Hospitaller. He can be reached for comments at

This article is syndicated from the Kingdom of Trimaris newsletter, Talewinds.

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