Monday, August 27 2018
“Without failure there is no achievement.”
John C. Maxwell
Good morning, friends! If your weekend was even half as wonderful as mine then you had a great time. I sure hope so. Now let’s get down to business.
I’ll bet you understand your fears pretty well. If you are self-aware at all then fears are one of the first awarenesses we develop in life. Most of our early life fears leave us with knowledge and experience, but curiously there’s one fear no child naturally has but life and experience unfortunately teach them: the fear of failure. The point here is not to assign blame for this fear, only to acknowledge the need to overcome it as we have all other irrational fears.
Something about our culture has suggested to us that success is the only acceptable outcome, when in fact there is no such thing as a straight line to success. Success isn’t even so much of a crooked like as a crooked and gapped line, pockmarked with failures and only reached by the determined. One young man failed six times in his applications to become an astronaut before finally being accepted into the program on his seventh try, right before retiring, instead going on to have a wonderful new career in the stars. Another young lady, a highly successful runner, failed in big marathons for years before finally breaking through with a big win in New York last year. Any success story you can name has lessons learned from failure.
* Are you learning positive lessons from failure or being defeated?
* Do you risk failure for success or avoid failure for mediocrity?
* Are you a friend of failure or afraid of failure?
To be sure, no one runs headlong into failure. That’s not the point. What I’m strongly suggesting is that any worthwhile run towards success will inevitably experience more than a few failures. If you’re afraid of failure then your journey will be short and disappointing. Recognize failure as what it is: a necessary byproduct of experiment and achievement. Then you can face it with courage and satisfaction, knowing that you are on your way to somewhere great. Send me a postcard! And have a great week!
Monday, August 20 2018
“Your success will be reasonably proportional to your vision. Dream big or dream small, that’s the way you’ll go.”
Craig Gregory, paraphrased
Good morning, friends! It’s a busy day for me and I’ll bet for you, too. So let’s not lollygag; let’s get to it!
I’m going to ask you to do the worst thing for a Monday morning I think I could possibly do. I need you to take one minute and do a quick survey of your life (academic, health, relational, economical, etc.) so you have a clear image of where you are in life right now. Please don’t cry. A typical first question might be, “Are these the outcomes you wanted by now?” but I have a bigger question. How do these outcomes relate to your vision?
Vision is usually debated as destination or direction. Since I don’t know very many people or systems who actualize their visions I think direction is more appropriate, and appropriately so. Even for the actualizers vision is the direction you go. That always sounds nice for “other people” but what about you? At the very least can you honestly say your current status is headed in the direction of a greater vision? I’ll bet not. I’ll bet that you, like me, like nearly everyone, settled for low or no vision in every area of your life and are perfectly achieving something near that. But don’t you think you deserve better? Sure you, so why not set an audacious vision for some area of your life and go for it!
- I have a friend who tired of her bad health, set a big vision for better, lost 100 lbs and is rocking it! Why not you?
- I have another friend who tired of hating work and hating life, set a big vision for better and is now rocking multiples of 6 figures and loving life. Why not you?
- I have yet another friend who tired of being lonely and sad, set the vision for better and now is tremendously connected and blessed. Why not you?
Mike Trout, barring injury, will prove to be one of the top three baseball players of all time. Six years into his MLB career he is setting records every year, but the story is told that every year in the offseason he selects one area of baseball where he sees room for improvement and he goes for it. Again, if he never changed anything he would be an all-time great but he improves every year. He clearly has a vision. Take one more peek at your life survey. What area would you like to see better? Set a BIG vision in the better direction and commit to it. Step by step, inch by inch, soon enough you’ll see results that will impress even you. I can’t wait to see it! Have a great week.
Friday, August 10 2018
“When life throws you a curveball, are you able to lean into it—or does it end up hitting you straight in the face?”
Kira M. Newman
Good morning, friends! I hope your weekend was filled with blessings and perhaps you shared those blessings. Let’s get to today’s hopeful blessing.
An old fable I heard long ago concerned a young baseball player returning home from a failed attempt to play professional baseball. He had been a star as a child, a stud as a youth, and up to the day he became a professional he was a hitting wonder. No one could understand this early return home as a failure. Asked to explain himself he simply said, “They throw curveballs up there.” Not all of us make it to young adulthood before we confront one of life’s certain curveballs but if we’re going to have a successful life we must learn to hit the curves whenever they come.
Getting out of the baseball metaphor, think about the challenges, difficulties and struggles of your life. I’m not too self-righteous to admit that plenty of those have beaten me down in life pretty badly; perhaps you’ve had your share, too. As the writer says, sometimes they hit us right in the face. I suppose if you get hit enough in sensitive places anyone would tend to step back from the plate.
* Perhaps a few bad experiences might cause one to love a little or a lot less.
* Maybe a time or two of less than expected or desired outcomes might create less effort next time.
* When unexpected and/or undeserved challenges happen one might take it personally.
The fact is: life just throws curves. If we want to succeed, if we want to enjoy, if we want to experience, if we want anything on the better side of life we have to learn to effectively manage life’s challenges. Love more. Try harder. Get up again and again. Whatever is the better response to the challenge then do it! Don’t let the curves beat you! You belong here. And I’m thankful for you! Have a wonderful week.
Monday, August 06 2018
"Everyone always thinks of him as just slopping paint around, but he looked at it, decided the orange was too bright, and took it down."
Good morning, friends! I hope this Monday finds you rested, prepared, and ready for a great week. Let’s get to it!
“He”, in this case, is Jackson Pollock, an abstract expressionist painter of the first half of the last century. Perhaps you’ve seen his work: large canvases with splatterings of paint in circles, swirls and lines. Generally blacks dominate with plenty of other colors and the space is well covered, typically leaving little white space. Not your everyday art, for sure, but I like his work. Why? You miss the art if all you see is the spatterings; the beauty is in the concert of the movements. The emotion plays like a child dancing all alone. But some people only see spatterings and mess.
Life can also frequently seem like a splattering mess. Passions of yesteryear are memories of today. Some friends come and go while other friends grow in dominance. Phases of life can seem less intentional and purposeful and more reactionary. The narrative of our lives can become very convoluted and confusing. Other people may look at us and see only spatterings and mess. Often times that may be all we see in ourselves, all the while knowing that we tried to create beauty in ourselves and our lives. Yet, beneath, among and with the splatterings we are beautiful.
* It’s not the outcomes of your life that make you beautiful; it’s your spirit.
* It’s not the cleanliness of your life that gives you worth; it’s your courage.
* It’s not the straight lines and 90 degree turns of your life that matter; it’s all of you.
Stavroudis is an art restorer; he’s currently cleaning a famous Pollock work so it can be seen as it was created, free of dust and grime. You and I can’t change our past. Our restoration work is to reconcile ourselves with life as it was and see the beauty in the concert of the movements. They may not have been what hindsight would now prefer but they were our efforts at the time. Can we accept the beauty of the splatterings and mess of our lives? Not everyone will see it, but we, who know ourselves best, can surely see it in ourselves. I see it in you! Have a wonderful week!