Matters Column

To make a difference, we must view things differently

January 16, 2015
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We often receive an unexpected boost from motivational quotes. Many inspirational thoughts originate within the world of sports, but life is more than playing games. It is about dreaming what might be our reality, if only that which is could become what we wish it to be. It is about reaching beyond our wildest expectations to grasp a slice of reality from a pie not yet baked. It is about setting goals beyond what is achievable so we will be forced outside of the box in which we are comfortable as we move toward things yet to be considered.

We all stumble and fall while travelling through life, but the difference between success and failure is whether we stay down or get back up.

Some people seek comfort from every storm, preferring to remain within the safe harbors of life without venturing outside the protected coastal waters. They accept as their treasure the remnants and wreckage washed upon the shore. They accept what they have as all they may ever receive, while allowing others to conquer unknown territories and discover treasures far beyond their ability to imagine. They make the most out of what they have rather than reaching out for what could be available.

Others seek adventure, preferring to march into the storms of life head on. They prefer to identify opportunities as they move boldly forward in life rather than seeking comfort in what they have accomplished. Their need for autonomy and independence is far too great to accept the paths forged by others as being the best (or only) ways.

To move forward through life, we must fill our emotional pantries with thoughts of grandeur rather than beliefs that doing as we have always done will produce different results. Stagnation occurs when one believes that “where they are” is better than “where they could ever be.”

In order to move beyond this false ceiling, take time for the “little things” to become big rather than expecting all things to become significant without thought, effort or consideration. Do not move so fast that you fail to enjoy the journey while seeking a destination.

Make time to help others along the way — for when the going gets tough, others may be the only lifeline available to keep you going. Find peace and joy in all you say and do, seeking comfort (and reward) from your discoveries rather than discovering comfort only within the status quo.

In order to experience gain within our lives, we must realize change. We must keep our eyes on the prize as we move relentlessly toward it if we expect to grow.

The motivational and inspirational quotes referenced earlier often encourage us to move forward rather than giving up along the way. Some thoughts that have helped to remove my cloak of human limitation as I move forward in life include the following:

“Dreams take time, patience, sustained effort and a willingness to fail if they are ever to become anything more than dreams.” — Brian Linkoski

“We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it.” — William Osler

“The greater danger for most is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it is too low and we reach it.” — Michelangelo

“We know what we are but know not what we may be.” — William Shakespeare

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls while others build windmills.” — Chinese proverb

“If all you seek to become can be defined by what you have accomplished, with no expectation or anticipation of anything else in life, accept comfort in who you are while those who know you mourn the death of what you may have become.” — Dave Smith

There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we seek results and conclusions rather than recognition and credit. We accomplish many things not yet imagined and bring to fruition countless things not previously realized when we claim success during the journey, acknowledging each step taken as we run the race, rather than waiting until our quest has ended to find satisfaction in the results of our effort.

We cannot allow our eyes to drift from the prize if we seek to move from “good” to “great.” It takes commitment, determination and intentional action to move beyond the storms that darken our lives to the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

While there is nothing wrong with finding comfort in an accomplishment, we cannot move forward if we are so attached to short-term success that we allow long-term potential to pass us by. When we fail to seize opportunity it is often lost. When we chose not to act, we have defined a course of action by omission and must accept the ramifications of our contentment rather than enjoying the rewards not yet revealed.

Make a difference this year by approaching your life differently. Perhaps your life can become a “motivational and inspirational tool” to those around you as they, too, seek to change.

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