A month or so ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of CoLLeGe students about following their DrEaM and fulfilling their PoTeNtiaL. I took this trophy along and told them how I had wanted so badly to be named the MoSt VaLuAble PlaYer in BaSkeTbAll my senior year of high school. Instead, on awards night, I took home the “BeSt DeFeNsE” trophy. Defense always was my best asset. Still, it was a disappointment, even though I knew that award of Most Valuable rightly belonged to another PlAyEr.
The point I made by bringing this trophy along for my talk was that each person is the “Most Valuable ____________ (Fill in YoUr NaMe in the blank)” there is. There never has and never will be another person with the combination of GiFtS, TaLeNtS, teMpeRmEnt, and PerSonAlity that you have.
The question is: are you the best “YoU” that you can be or are you trying to be someone else? We do a lousy job of trying to be someone else, but when we fulfill our potential we become a truly UnIqUe oRiGinAl. If you are looking at others wishing you were more like them in LoOks, pErsOnaLity, tAleNts, etc, LeT iT Go! You were created for a unique PuRpoSe. There will NEVER be another you, so sit back, EnJoY yourself and take a load off your ShoUldErs wishing you were someone else!!
In this age of smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other distractions we deal with throughout our day it’s sometimes hard to “be all there” as exhorted by missionary/martyr Jim Elliot in his famous quote:
“Where ever you are, be all there.”
Where are you?
- Home –“Be all there.”
- Work – “Be all there.”
- Prayer –“Be all there.”
- In conversation with your child, friend, spouse, co-worker, associate, client, acquaintance – “Be all there.”
- Church – “Be all there.”
- Your Child’s Event – “Be all there.”
- A Volunteer Meeting/Event – “Be all there.”
- Dinner with friends or family – “Be all there.”
I think this is what is meant by savoring the moment. It’s embracing life. Because as we all know, life is short so be all there.
I once heard a quote that said, “I would rather ShOoT for the StArS and HiT the MoOn, than shoot for nothing and hit it every time.” Unfortunately, I can’t relate. My natural tendency is to say, “Give me the stars or nothing at all, BaBy” It’s insane, I know. But I’m working on it.
If you have the “All-Or-Nothing” mindset, you know what I’m talking about. You actually believe that PeRfeCtiOn is pOsSiBle, so while the world is passing you by you aimlessly grasp for the air. Could it be that American poet Wallace Stevens was on to something when he said, “The ImPerFeCt is our PaRaDiSe”? One way I overcome this mindset is to think about all the bLeSsiNgS in my life that I would not have had things gone according to my plans.
What pLeAsUrEs are unknowingly slipping right past you as you pursue an illusive “All”?
Many MoOns have passed without me getting to enjoy them, but not any more. I’ve had the ReVeLaTiOn that “All” is OvErrAtEd. I’ll still shoot for the stars, but if I miss them, I’ll take the moon, Thank-you. :)
The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 (KJV)
It is sometimes easier for people to focus on “tHe SpiRit is WilliNg” and forget that “tHe FleSh is wEaK”. They expect RoCk-sTaR pErfoRmaNce and beat themselves up when their performance is anything LeSs tHaN pErFeCt. Can you relate?
It’s important for you to understand that your HuMaN nAtuRe, your natural tendency, is to Go iN tHe diTch. I’m not being negative, just realistic. It’s just like a car. If you take your hands off the steering wheel as you are driving down the highway, it will eventually end up in the ditch. And although there is nothing you can do about that, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself “between the lines”. It is an active role you play daily.
However, from time to time you are going to make miStAkes. And when you do you must remember the flesh is weak. This is not a license to mess-up or an excuse to give-up, but it is a reminder that you are a WoRk iN pRoGreSs.
So, have cOmPasSion on yourself. Give yourself a break. LiGhtEn uP. The Bible calls this grace. And let me tell you that you will enjoy your journey a whole lot more (and so will everyone else around you) if you will just learn to give yourself (and others) this AmAziNg tHinG cAllEd GRACE.
Sometimes you just have to CuT YoUr LoSsEs and move on. Easier said than done, I know. But I’m working on it. My friend, D.J. says to “ReFLecT nOt ReGrEt.” That is how we are to view the past. I don’t know about you, but I get those two switched around from time to time.
Here is what I have come to learn: When you reflect on the past it becomes your TeAcHeR. When you regret about the past it becomes your ToRmEnTeR. The beauty is that we get to choose the setting: cLassRooM or pRisOn CeLL. That choice is our’s alone.
Are you having a hard time reconciling the past?
Let it go.
Its time to MoVe On BaBy, MoVe On.
The year is 2111. Your history has been written. What does yours say? What is your legacy?
I think, for me, this may be the single most important aspect of dealing with an All-Or-Nothing mindset – seeing the BiG PiCtUrE. The best way I have found to do this is to “write my legacy.” I literally have put down on paper what I want my legacy to look like. Here are some of my random thoughts:
- My kids don’t have to LoOk PeRfEcT.
- I (and my life) don’t have to look perfect.
- My house doesn’t have to look perfect. (Definitely easier said than done!)
- People take PriOriTy over things – (Including schedules, my plans, etc)
- My purpose – loving God and others
I don’t nail this 100% of the time, but I’m doing my best to hit the mark as much as I can. Hopefully I get closer every day.
What’s your legacy?
We all seem to have that InFaMoUs GoRillA hanging around – that thing that is larger than life, distracting, paralyzing, and oh so annoying.
My 800 pound gorilla? “All-Or-Nothing” thinking. I’m not sure why I deal with this issue. I’ve tried to trace it back to my childhood, my personality and a host of other psychological explanations, but to no avail. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter “why”, you just need to get on with it and deal with the “what”.
This issue first surfaced for me as af freshman in college. In high school I was a good student. I did exactly what my teachers asked and as a result got A’s and B’s. However, when I went to college and realized I could not read the 1,000 pages assigned in a particular class for one week I threw up my hands and simply gave up. I never got any D’s, but I did get plenty of C’s – something that previously was foreign to me. My “All-Or-Nothing mindset just wouldn’t let me AdApT aNd AdJuSt to the situation. I made it through college alright, but did so disappointed, knowing that I did not reach my potential and definitely did not give it my best.
As time went on my “All-Or-Nothing” thinking continued to plague me in other areas of my life until I finally said, “EnOuGh!”
(I’ll share how I’ve learned to deal with this issue in future posts. So, stay tuned…!)
I may not have mastered this entirely (YET) but the one thing I have to say is. . .
“GOOD RIDDANCE MR. GORILLA!!”
Adapted from my book on peace with food.