So many of the things that I’ve long ago crossed off my list of must-dos my kids have found a way to slip back on. Years ago, I crossed off the desire to rock-climb only to find myself tethered hundreds of feet up on Whitehorse Ledge in North Conway two years ago looking up and down a sheer cliff face! Last year, I peered down at the ground from over 10,000 feet up before plunging out of a perfectly safe plane and challenged the skills of the parachute packers who sat safely on the ground. This week we were towed up behind an ultra-light airplane one at a time at just over 3,000 feet, hit the button to be released from the plane and enjoy a 15 minute hang gliding excursion back to the ground.
While it’s ok to re-evaluate and decide some things we once thought were great ideas aren’t so important after all, we should make sure that we aren’t, in fact, selling ourselves short. Although a well-lived life can be partially defined as the frequency and intensity of experiences, too many of us either do not plan for new experiences or continuously shorten our lists so that over time we find ourselves literally hanging around with little new going on in our lives.
And yet, it is this pushing forward and attempting to reach new limits, to create new relationships, and appreciate new experiences which can help change things for the better. Indian statesman Mohandas Gandhi shared, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” John Maxwell continues, “Closer to home, it would suffice to solve most of our individual problems.” Too many of us fall far short of our true potential. Author John Powell, estimates that the average person reaches only 10 percent of his potential, sees only 10 percent of the beauty around him, hears only 10 percent of its music and poetry, smells only 10 percent of its fragrance, and tastes only 10 percent of the deliciousness of being alive. Most neither see nor seize their potential.
Cartoonist Charles Shultz offered up this comparison: “Life is a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.” While industrialist Charles Schwab observed, “When a man puts a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.”
What it takes to experience new things is simply belief in yourself. William James asserted, “The one thing that will guarantee the successful conclusion of a doubtful undertaking is faith in the beginning that you can do it. ”Your beliefs control everything you do. John Maxwell calls it the “sure enough” syndrome. If you believe you can do it, sure enough you will! Maybe architect Frank Lloyd Wright says it better, “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
– Jim Rohn
Harvey McKay tells the story of a professor who stood before a class of thirty senior molecular biology students. Before he passed out the final exam, he stated, “I have been privileged to be your instructor this semester, and I know how hard you have worked to prepare for this test. I also know most of you are off to medical school or grad school next fall. I am well aware of how much pressure you are under to keep your grades up, and because I am confident that you know this material, I am prepared to offer an automatic B to anyone who opts to skip taking the final exam.”
The relief was audible. A number of students jumped up from their desks, thanking their professor for the lifeline he had thrown them.
“Any other takers?” he asked. “This is your last opportunity.”
One more student decided to go.
The instructor then handed out the final exam, which consisted of two sentences. “Congratulations,” it read, “you have just received an A in this class. Keep believing in yourself.” It was a just reward for the students who had worked hard and believed in themselves.
In If It Ain’t Broke … Break It! Robert J. Kriegal and Louis Patler write, “We don’t have a clue as to what people’s limits are. All the tests, stopwatches, and finish lines in the world can’t measure human potential. When someone is pursuing their dream, they’ll go far beyond what seems to be their limitations. The potential that exists within us is limitless and largely untapped …when you think of limits, you create them.”
What have you been putting off? What goals are you going to revive? Hanging around is not an option. Grab that ‘A’ offered by believing in yourself and the things that you want to accomplish and put it to good use to reignite your passion and your drive to get to experience something new!
Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.
– Jim Rohn
With excerpts from Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell.