Have you ever received an email from someone, whether they be a good friend, someone you knew briefly, or maybe even a stranger, and the message they left you, while simple, turned out to be something much more meaningful than you thought when you first casually opened it.
Well, today I did..
Today, I received an email that led me to pause in my desk chair and ponder its words for some time.
Megan is an old friend of mine. We used to hang out all the time, especially in 8th grade. She’s going to be a doctor and I think she’ll be a great one. The only great doctors are first great people before anything else. Her Dad, who I’d like to think looks back on me the way a father might look back on his daughter’s goofy teenage friends…with a slight chuckle and smile and a thought that says I hope/I’m sure she’s doing okay, sent me a message on Facebook. And this is what he said:
“...What I have told our children (not children anymore) is that it’s difficult to see potential in yourself at this early age. Recognize that you can do MUCH more than you can currently imagine. Set high goals. Also – realize that there is no correlation between income and happiness. There actually may be an inverse correlation although the studies simply show 0 correlation. Don’t make decisions on income, make them on where your passions lie.”
Each one of the seven sentences that makes up the above paragraph can and should be taken whole-heartedly. No, there is not a grain of salt to be taken with these words..
Not Our Children Anymore
“What I have told our children (not children anymore) is that it’s difficult to see potential in yourself at this early age. Recognize that you can do MUCH more than you can currently imagine. Set high goals.”
(Not children anymore)…I guess both children and parents can consider the statement that fills this paranthesis with a bit of nostalgia. These were the days of being a kid when we didn’t have to worry as much about what our potential was. All that mattered then was getting an A for decent work, the crush we had on the boy or girl a grade above you who lived down the street, and stupid gossip.
And for parents…well, parents are always trying to help show their children how much potential they have (At least we hope they are). But now we are older and we are wiser. And we have the opportunity to find out what this potential is ourselves.
The Potential of our Big Ideas
Yet I must admit, I do struggle at times with even allowing myself to see my full potential. I, like many, have big ideas of things I want to do, places I want to see, and ways I want to change the world. But dreaming, while a start, is much different than doing. And here in lies the problem.
We can do MUCH more than we currently imagine. Whether your a twenty something like me, in your 40’s or 50’s, a senoir citizen, a high school student, or in that weird 30’s decade where you’re trying to balance between an immature twenty-something and a mature 40-something, we all have the opportunity to unlock this potential. Its never too late. Its never too early.
So, what stops us?
Maybe you’re afraid that if you put yourself and your ideas and values on such a high pedestal, and then you fall, you’ll never be able to get up from that fall.
Maybe enough people in your life have told you that you can’t do it, or maybe you’ve told yourself enough times that you can’t.
Maybe no one has ever told you that you CAN do it.
Whether we doubt ourselves on our ability to accomplish our goals, in our appearance, or on how people will think of us if we do this or that, in the end, all that matters, is the fact that at least we were honest with ourselves, we gave it our best shot, and we gave ourselves the chance to reach that never-ending potential.
Think about this for a moment:
Babe Ruth is remembered as the “Home Run King.” He was also the “Strike-Out Champion,” having failed at bat 1,330 times, more than any other player in the major leagues at that time.
In 1962, an executive of Decca Records made the following statement about a singing group: “We don’t like their sound. Besides, groups playing guitars are on the way out anyway.” He was talking about the Beatles. Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by twenty-seven publishing houses, and Seuss considered burning the manuscript he called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. He went on to author more than forty best-selling children’s books including Oh the Places You’ll Go and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
J.K. Rowling lived with her infant daughter in Edinburg, Scotland where she lived on welfare benefits in an apartment infested with mice. She started writing Harry Potter on a napkin, and you all know what she’s up to now.
Let’s Do It Dammit
So, here’s the thing, WE CAN DO IT. I CAN DO IT. YOU CAN DO IT. So, let’s just do it dammit.
Let’s stop making up excuses. And hey, if we fail, we’ll try again. And if we fail again, we’ll try again. And if we fail one more time, well, maybe we’ll take a breather and then try again, and again, and again.
And every time we try, no matter what happens in the end, the experience is always worth far more than the final result itself.
We are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
As E.E. Cummings said, “We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
Until Next Time,
And on one final note, if anyone out there has an idea, dream, philosophy, etc, whether big or small, but there’s that little thing called doubt stopping you from making it happen, well, send me an email, because I’d love to be the one that tells you that you can do it.