We are constantly making decisions in LIFE. Decisions that will either enslave us or pay us great dividends down the road. Many in our society are living in a coma of complacency. Having given up great for good, just to find out that down the road good wasn’t so good after all. Many have just become comfortable being uncomfortable. I once heard the definition of hell is “the person you are, meeting the person you could have been”. Something to think about.
Last week, Debbie and I took some of our children and our grandson on a field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano (see picture above). We had an amazing day. We learned some wonderful things, ate some fantastic food, and had another great day of loving on each other and building memories as a family. As I reflect back to twenty years ago when I was getting up at 3:30 am and driving three hours round trip to work and back, Debbie was working night shifts at the hospital and we were two ships passing in the night. We were so busy making a living that we had no time to make a LIFE. We got married to spend time together, but the little time we had seemed to be spent arguing about money. I remember wanting more children, but all I saw was the cost . Through God’s grace, he put some people in our lives that taught us that if we wanted to change our outcome we would have to change our thinking. They plugged us into high levels of LEADERSHIP training and our lives were forever changed.
I want to share something with you that I read years ago that helped me define my priorities.
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about your sticker shock! That doesn’t even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says don’t have children if you want to be “rich”. It is just the opposite. What do you get for $160,140? Naming rights. First, middle, and last! Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold, usually covered with jam. A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day. For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading “The Adventures of Pooh” and watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day. For $160,140, there is no greater. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date and first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal, you get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to heal a booboo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so that one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. – Unknown
I am so very grateful to the leadership material that LIFE produces that helps people learn something as simple as DEFINE WHAT I WANT, FIGURE OUT WHAT IT COSTS, AND PAY IT!
Growing up, my dad used to say; “Curt there’s the possibility and the probability. There’s always the possibility.” Do we focus on the probability so much that we question whether it’s even possible?
We have to stop counseling with ourselves, when we know nothing on the topic.
As an example, do we say things like…
– “I could never do that”
– “I could never be like that”
– “Well of course he can do it, he’s a natural”
– “Things never work out for me”
I used to think that the whole world was filled with Olympic gold medalists and astronauts, and that everyone else was either very smart or very talented. In school I had to study very hard just to get an average grade, while some didn’t study at all and got A’s. The words my dad spoke to me as a kid,”There’s always the possibility”, started to fade away because I started to think I wasn’t good enough to compete and the possibilities were not endless.
Then I plugged into a Leadership system and realized once again that things are possible and I can achieve anything I want. It doesn’t matter about I.Q. or how talented a person is. It only matters how hungry one is. From the words of Henry Ford “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… your right.” or from Napoleon Hill “Whatever a mind can conceive and believe it shall achieve”.
So if everything’s possible, where do we start? How do we pursue something as broad as possibilities? Well, we need to simplify. “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least” said Goethe. As Dr. Norman Vincent Peale writes, “Seek knowledge and clarity. Once you can visualize clearly, your attitude and your confidence soar. Therefore, your probability to succeed soars also”. We have to visualize our dreams. We need to get emotional about the logical. So pick yourself out a few of the trillions of possibilities you would like to accomplish, because people are like dynamite… the powers on the inside, but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a skinny young man that failed to make the high school basketball team, that others some day would know you as Michael Jordan. Or if you were a humble little girl by the name of Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu who wanted to help the poor and wondered what she could possibly do on her own. The world one day would know her as Mother Teresa. “You become what you think about”. said Earl Nightingale
I would like to end with a story I found called “The Young Eagle”.
The nest of young eagles hung on every word as the Master Eagle described his exploits. This was an important day for the eaglets. They were preparing for their first solo flight from the nest. It was the confidence builder many of them needed to fulfill their destiny.
“How far can I travel?” asked one of the eaglets. “How far can you see?” responded the master eagle.
“How high can I fly?” quizzed the young eaglet. “How far can you stretch your wings?” asked the old eagle.
“How long can I fly?” the eaglet persisted. “How far is the horizon?” the mentor rebounded.
“How much should I dream?” asked the eaglet. “How much can you dream?” smiled the older wiser eagle.
“How much can I achieve?” the young eagle continued. “How much can you believe?” the old eagle challenged.
Frustrated by the banter, the young eagle demanded, “Why don’t you answer my questions?” “I did.”
“Yes, but you answered them with questions.” “I answered them the best I could.”
“But you’re the master eagle. You’re supposed to know everything. If you can’t answer these questions, who can?”
“You”, the old wise eagle reassured.
“Me? How?” The young eagle was confused.
“No one can tell you how high to fly or how much to dream. It’s different for each eagle. Only God and you know how far you’ll go. No one on this earth knows your potential or what’s in your heart. You alone will answer that. The only thing that limits you is the edge of your imagination.”
The young eagle puzzled by this asked, What should I do?”
“Look to the horizon, spread your wings, and fly.” By Tom Reilly
We shouldn’t only look outside ourselves and dream, but look inside ourselves and awaken.