I remember graduating college, and thinking the world was mine, nothing would stop me, and it was “smooth sailing” from here on out. As special as I think I might be, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only young lad that thought this way. Boy, was I wrong!
I was certain before I turned 25 I’d be a multi-cazillionaire, traveling the world in first class style, and living the life “everyone else” just wishes they had. Sound familiar? Then reality hit….
I believe God gives us bumps in the road for a few reasons.
a. It allows us to draw closer to him (or run, our choice)
b. Makes us appreciate what we do have
c. Weeds out the wimps
d. Makes the strong more determined to overcome (with Gods help of course)
Per the second photo, which is more realistic on how life and goal attainment works, there are low points before and after high points. This seems symbiotic with my life, and many others who have attained goals important to their life. Like many, when in some of those low points its when I had to really draw closer to God, and grow spiritually before I was in a position to where God would/could put me in a place to reach a new mountain peak. This growth is necessary for us. For if we don’t recognize our shortcomings, and face them head on when we are in a precarious place, our ego will certainly not let us tackle that short coming when we are “at the top.”
The old saying “you often don’t recognize what you had until you don’t have it anymore” couldn’t be more true. We have this tendency as humans, and maybe moreso as Americans, to really take for granted some of the wonderful things we’ve been gifted with. I bring up Americans as maybe being more guilty, because we as a country have so much more of “everything” than anywhere else in the world. We gripe about being “hot” when the Air Conditioning isn’t working well, or that we don’t have enough money in the bank to take that special vacation the TV ads told us we deserve. At the same time, halfway around the world there are entire nations dying of famine and disease that don’t even have marginally clean water to drink. I’ve lost a few things in my life that I took for granted that I wish now I’d not taken for granted. Alas, they are gone and I can’t change that. But I certainly can appreciate what I do have, even when I do wonder what I’m “missing out on.” I have a wonderful wife whom I’ve been married to for 12+ years, two beautiful daughters that are growing up into incredible young adults, a God that forgives all my shortcomings and builds me up for the next task on this earth, a highly supportive family that loves me unconditionally, a business that is flourishing beyond my wildest imaginations, and the list goes on and on…. So my suggestion? When your on this path of yearning to reach your life long goals and you hit a few road bumps (or preferably before you do) Stop and smell the roses a bit. They smell a whole lot better than you’d think they do.
I make it a point to try and read and learn about 1-2 great leaders each month. This usually requires reading and studying about their lives, their upbringing, and their final successes. 100% of the time, there is this odd common theme among them all. They went thru some “stuff” in their lives that was hard. Wow! 100% of the time, every individual I’ve ever studied went thru some hard times, YET, they plowed through it and made something of themselves. Hard times has this natural way of weeding out the wimps. A wimp first complains about all the tough cards they’ve been dealt. A wimp spends an excessive amount of time talking about who and what situations have wronged them. A wimp eventually gives up on their goal and blames the failure on circumstances, or dismisses their goal/dream. This world is full of way to many wimps. No one knows for certain the exact number of filaments Thomas Edison tried before finally finding that one that created the lightbulb, but it numbered in the THOUSANDS. Don’t you think Thomas Edison might know a thing or two about hitting low points along the path of attaining his goal? Colonel Sanders (aka Harland Sanders) was a sixth-grade dropout, a farmhand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tire salesman, an amateur obstetrician, an (unsuccessful) political candidate, a gas station operator, a motel operator and finally, a restaurateur. It took “the Colonel” more than 10 years of attempting to get his first restaurant open and countless other “failures” in life before he “hit the jackpot.” Neither of these individuals were wimps. They did not give up on their goals, they continued on, again, and again, and again, until they got it right. Imagine if Thomas Edison and Colonel Sanders became wimps? Where would we be today? I can tell you, we’d be in the dark, and a little thinner in the waist line with dirty fingers because our food wasn’t fattening and “finger lickin good.” So… what do YOU have to offer the world, like these men did, that you are contemplating becoming a “wimp” over?
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Heard that before? Well it’s true. Look back up at that image. Would it not require some extra exertion of effort to get out of those low points, and back on top of the hill? You bet it does! I’ve hit low points, and I’m sure I’ll hit more in the future. The CHOICE I’ve made, and the choice you get to make, is if your going to use strength to overcome. I’m willing to admit, I don’t always have the strength on my own to pull myself out. I have a God that wants nothing but the best for me, and gives me all the strength I’ll ever need, and all you’ll ever need too. Being tough doesn’t have to mean showing no fear. Part of being tough is having the COURAGE to admit you might need some help along the way to attain your goal(s.) My suggestion? Spend time with God daily, in prayer, talking to him about your goals, and what YOU want to attain. If you are obedient, he will provide. No… I did not say if you ask god for a winning lottery ticket, your printer would magically begin printing one out… I said he would PROVIDE. You’ll get the provisions you need to attain the goals GOD DEEMS important to your life. After all, where do you think our goals that we dream up often come from? Just ask him, he’ll help align your goal(s) with the vision he has for your life.
Enjoy the bumps in the road. They may not feel fun at the time. But I can promise you, some day you’ll look back at them and smile IF you get up and keep on keepin on. I can also promise you if you give up on your goals, someday you’ll not like what you see when you look in the mirror.
Jeff Randol on Goals