The Curse of Won’t

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I cannot imagine that anyone wants to be a flop in life. Instead, most of us would like to achieve some level of success. Maybe not climbing the highest peaks, but it is definitely not falling into the lowest depths. Yet the moment we set out to do something big with our lives, we are met face to face with challenges. These obstacles are often due to external forces that are at work against us. We must then figure out a way to get around or over them.

How much resistance comes from within though? If you are anything like me, you have lived with the curse of won’t. The smallest things can prevent us from accomplishing worthy endeavors, not because we cannot, but because we will not. Circumstances may work tirelessly to derail us, but that is no guarantee that they actually will stop us. Most of what happens next depends on us.

I remember playing flag football in grade school. As small of a memory as it is, it has remained all these years later because of its powerful message. A guy in my gym class was a force to be reckoned with. Although shorter than others on the field, he did not let that affect his performance in the game. He was the only one on the field who ran straight toward his opponents. Even when he had the ball, rather than maneuver around people, he simply charged straight at them. It did not take long to realize, that guy took the game to a whole other level.

Fortunately, there are a select few people who are the trailblazers of life. They do things most others will not do. They will not be stopped by circumstances, nor the enemy of self. They demonstrate the possibility of what we could achieve if only we stepped out in faith. However, it cannot be an occasional event. We must be consistent in our daily routine, fighting the curse of won’t. That is the only way we can ever overcome it.

When we choose to act, it breaks loose the chains of this curse. There are many things that we could do today, if only we stopped right now and did them. If we made the choice each day to continue, remarkable things could happen. Instead of shrugging our shoulders, passively dismissing any form of action, we could awaken from our slumber and declare something new for a change. I will!

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Dream Not Yet Explored

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When was the last time you got really excited about an idea and decided to share it with someone? Did it feel like you were trying to light a wet match? Not everyone will feel the same fire the way you do, if at all. Don’t put too much energy into trying to get them to. We all have different passions and abilities, so it makes sense that others may not be enthusiastic about it. Instead, spend the time and energy into your idea.

It is questionable whether some dreams (ideas) should even be shared. It really depends on who you tell. If it is someone who gives you unconditional support, then it may be okay. But be careful when you try to share a big dream. Most people do not have vision for such things. Some may not be able to see it all, even after they can see strong evidence. Their input early on could be detrimental to your dream, causing you to quit before even getting started.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. Don’t get stuck on anyone’s input, whether good or bad. If you always find yourself chasing other people’s opinions, you will look like a dog chasing its tail, only to never catch it. You are free to dream about new products or services. Innovations are always around the corner, waiting for the right person to act on a thought and bring them to fruition.

When an idea comes along, it must be nurtured, kind of like one of those tiny humans . The idea itself is fragile and should be handled with care. But do not misunderstand me and keep it locked away in a vault. Action must be taken! I remember watching a television show about wild animals in Africa. I cannot remember what animal it was, but I watched one of the females kick her baby. The look on my face was one of horror. The commentator explained that if the baby did not get off to a running start, its risk of getting caught by a predator was much higher.

The same is true for your idea. There are people waiting to steal the dream away from you, whether intentional or not. Some think they are doing you a favor, sparing you from the disappointment they once experienced. It is good to receive input, but in the end, it is up to you to make up your own mind. As for me, I know the dream is out ahead of me, and I am going to chase it. I hope you do too!

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Waiting for a Feeling? Part 1

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Fear is sometimes a challenge. Many fears are irrational and unlikely to lead to grave consequences when we choose to face them. Yet there are others that can be deadly. Can we know the difference? If we genuinely want to be rid of our fear, then the onus is on us to research it. Facing fear requires courage, but if we wait for a feeling to tell us to make a move, it may never come. This is why many make the choice to bravely act, despite how it makes them feel physically, mentally, or emotionally. The ones that do, often experience an overwhelming sense that words don’t quite do justice explaining.

As a teenager, I rode several roller coasters with my brother and our friend. The first one was utterly terrifying. My favorite hat flew off within seconds of the ride starting. The ride jerked me around at ridiculous speeds and it felt like death lurked around every turn or drop. At the end of the ride, I was saturated with terror and felt lucky to be alive. Then they took me on the next ride, where I stood up the whole time as the thing hurled me around and upside down. When I got off that ride, I said to myself, never again. That turned out not to be true and I later rode a kiddie roller coaster that did not bother me the slightest. But as for the thrill rides, I considered my days of riding them over.

Many years passed since that day. A few months ago, though, I went to a theme park I had never at before. At the urging of those with me, I reluctantly joined them for another roller coaster. I was curious how I would react twenty some years later. One thing is that I am no longer am afraid of what is on the other side of death. It almost felt like an experiment to test my faith to see if I could overcome my fear. The way the line worked out, I ended up having to ride by myself. They went on ahead of me and their ride quickly took off. For the next thirty seconds or so, I was left alone to dwell on my decision. The next ride came in and the people exited it. For a few seconds, I glanced at the exit. It was my final chance to turn and run from what I was afraid of. Instead, I got in the ride and pulled the bar down over myself. It clicked in place and I knew there was no getting out now.

The ride took off, but this time I had my hat lodged underneath me. For part of the ride, I actually enjoyed myself, although I must admit, a few times I still closed my eyes. But I no longer felt like death was waiting for me. I was able to get excitement out of the fast speeds and turns, all the way until it flipped upside down. After that, things went downhill. It felt like something in my head was suddenly out of whack. I could feel the dizziness when I got off the ride. I knew after that; it was over for me once again. Ever since a bad case of vertigo years ago, although I recovered, things were never quite the same for me again. The good news was that I faced my fear.

It seems simple, even silly, to anyone who isn’t afraid of roller coasters. Yet there are lots of fears that seem silly to some. But do not be fooled by anyone; we all are afraid in some area. Be wise in what fears you choose to face. Then take the next step and face them. When you overcome them, it will prove to yourself that you really do have what it takes to face your fear and not back down!

Don’t Go in There!

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Recently, I watched some movies and was astonished at the foolishness of characters in them. They found themselves in certain situations that ultimately led to their demise. I sat back on the couch and watched them do the stupidest things. On the outside, I was quiet. But on the inside, I was screaming at the top of my voice, “Don’t go in there!” No matter how much I wanted them to do or not do something, they did the opposite. It made me so upset. I wondered how they could be so stupid.

However, the even bigger idiot was me, expecting a different outcome from movies I had already seen numerous times. I knew the storylines written long ago. The movies were already filmed. The characters’ minds were already made up. No matter how badly I wanted them to make a new decision, they simply could not. I can’t believe how many times this happens to me when watching movies that I have already seen. Each time viewing, there is hope that the characters will choose differently.

It turns out I actually do the same thing when looking into my past. It is like a movie, playing the same plot, with the same characters, making the same bad decisions. When I replay the movies in my mind, I find myself asking a question. Why? No amount of hope is ever going to change those scenes because they have already been made. I can pray for them to change. I can hope they will. I can even beg for them to change. Yet, nothing seems so permanently written as our past.

What are we to do with these movies from our past? Study and learn from them. Then put those movies back on the shelf to collect dust! If you play the old movies repeatedly, nothing will ever change in your life. You cannot look into the past and see a different outcome. What you can do is look ahead and think hard about what movies you will want to replay someday. If you want to change the outcome of your life, write a different story from here on out. Today’s decisions will usher in success or failure. Make new movies, ones that won’t make you scream beneath your breath.

It’s true your past has already been written. But life isn’t over yet. If it is time to end one movie and begin another, my question is this. What are you waiting for?

Winged Beast

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Sometimes I lie awake in bed at night and type notes for future blog posts on my phone. One night, I was writing, and it was pitch black in the room. My bright phone screen was the only source of light in the room and all the area surrounding was completely dark. The room was silent as well, with the exception of an air humidifier fan running in the background. I busily typed notes on my phone for another post. That was of course, until a dinosaur hopped on my screen. I fought the urge to throw my phone across the room.

An enormous mosquito landed on my screen and immediately taunted me. This winged beast had to have been at least a thousand years old and named in the legends of folklore. In a split second, I thought if this monster stings me, I could swell up like a hot-air balloon and die. I am telling you, I wanted to throw the phone so bad. However, at the prices of phones these days, the struggle to hold on did not last long. After I realized I would punch myself in the teeth if I broke my phone over a bug, I decided to do the next best thing. I threw the phone on the bed and ran.

I turned the light on and searched for my bug zapper. When I returned, do you think that sucker revealed itself again…. I don’t think so! I spoke to it like it could hear and understand. “So, you like light, huh? I got your light right here.” Thinking cleverly, a trap was set. I sat close by in the dark room and waited for the beast with an electric tennis racket in hand. All you have to do is hit the button and swing. It was not meant to send a love tap but a clear message. Stay far away from the crazy guy with the electric tennis racket. The phone was brightly lit playing a video as I listened. Not a single thing came near my screen again the rest of the night. Go figure.

We are repeatedly bothered by annoyances. Isn’t it funny how in a moment when we finally decide to do something about it, we discover what was buzzing around us no longer wants anything to do with us?

Goals Really Work, part 1

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Set goals! All our lives we’ve been told to set goals, yet no one bothers! Does anyone else wonder why that is? I know why I have not in the past. It takes discipline and effort to plan your life in a diligent manner. There were more compelling reasons not to set goals. Personally speaking, it is easier to set on the couch after a long day of hard work. We deserve a break, right? Most of us can come up with any number of excuses that fit our lives perfectly; reasons not to strategize how to make our lives better.

If you are like I was, you find yourself at a crossroads numerous times. There are indicators that help you know when you are at one. For me, I found myself repeatedly saying how I should do something. It got to the point where I drove people around me crazy talking about all that things I was going to do. Although I received encouragement, I could feel a storm brewing. One day I realized, maybe I should shut up and do something, rather than always talking about what I should do. That’s when I realized I needed to turn my mental “should-do list” into written goals.

If you’ve never set goals, I recommend looking up SMART goals before you begin. This method creates an excellent framework to build your goals in a way in which they will benefit you the most. I was previously exposed to these types of goals in the business world, so I already had experience setting goals like these for years. For whatever reason, I chose to ignore applying this same practice to my personal life.

During the last week of the year, I make it a point to reflect over the entire year. That part has never been a struggle for me. Like most people, I would get motivated and start thinking about setting new goals. It’s easy to get fired up when a new year is coming. We convince ourselves that we will do it right this time. If we already screwed up this year, we are tempted to wait to start until the new year. The whole idea of waiting is totally illogical and irrational! Start now!

The whole reason for setting goals is because our lives are not where we want them to be. After some deep reflection, all it takes is some strategizing and then putting a new plan into action. There have been so many times in my history when I did not set any goals at all. When this happened, I never did anything consistently to bring about a better life. Through the years, I’ve set numerous goals that soon drifted off in a matter of time and never amounted to anything worthwhile. At the end of 2019, I began my deep reflection again. This time, I came up with a better plan. For the past four months, I found out an exciting fact. Goals make me a doer! I’ll tell you more about my experience in part 2.

Seeing is Believing

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Many times, we have said, “I will believe it when I see it.” That statement is overwhelmingly true. There is a struggle between two sides. The majority are those who choose to only believe something when they can physically see it with their eyes. The few are those who can see it in their minds, long before it could ever be seen with their eyes. We should not hastily judge those who cannot see things. We all have those “ah-hah!” moments when we finally see things, either as they are or how they could be.

Anything a person ever created with their hands started out as a thought in their mind. From there, it was formed into an image of the desired result pulled from their imagination. In construction, a builder does not just show up and start pounding nails into boards. First, they must start with plans. What is the building supposed to look like? What must be done to make it structurally sound, so it will not collapse on those inside it? These questions and many more are asked long before buildings go up. The architect works off their vision or even the vision of the end customer to formulate a building plan. From there, they pass off those plans to the builder, who carry out the vision, turning what was once a picture in someone’s mind into a reality seen in the physical realm with one’s eyes. Realize that it all started out as a vision in someone’s mind.

Look around at nearly anything, whether it be houses, buildings, bridges, all sorts of inventions and you will find the physical manifestations of thoughts. Invisible thoughts were formed into executable plans and actions. Someone took what they couldn’t see and turned it into something that could be seen by those who could not see it before. Some people seem to have a gift for doing this. We all have different gifts and abilities, but live separate lives made up of sometimes vastly different experiences. Even when we share similar experiences, our lives are our own and no two are the same. Each of us is unique and therefore we need each other to see the full realm of possibility, not just of all that is, but of all they could be.

When you are given a vision, for every person that may support you in fulfilling that vision, there may be ten, a hundred, or even thousands who may think it impossible. Be careful who you share your dream with, as not all will support it. Even those you thought would be the most excited for you, may turn out to be critics. Don’t get upset or mad at them. Remember, they just cannot “see the vision.” Its up to you to turn your vision into a reality that they can see. Then, who knows, they might become believers!

A Life of Excellence, part 9

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When you wake up in the morning, what is your first thought? I hope it’s not, “Oh no, I’m awake.” It is sad to think that many people wake up and feel this way all the time. Some days it feels this way, but we could agree that it shouldn’t be a daily occurrence. If it is, then it’s time to make some changes in your life. After we reach adulthood, most of the decisions we make fall on us from that point forward.

When you look at any other living organism, its purpose is not always clear to us. If a tree went to sleep at night, when it awoke in the morning, it would still be planted in the same spot as the night before. No shock there, right? No matter how ambitious it got, it would still be right there in the same spot. By our measure of standards, we’d look at it and say it isn’t going anywhere. But we would be wrong. Trees may not be able to leave the environment they were planted in, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going anywhere because they rise upward in whatever capacity they can.

If you walk into a river and suddenly get upset that the water only flows in one direction, people might think strangely of you. If you started yelling at the sun for coming up in the east and not the west, people would think something was wrong with you. There are certain things we’ve come to expect from what we see around us. Have they always been this way? I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty certain based on what we know so far. I’d venture to say most things, like the tree, have a purpose. It doesn’t take us recognizing its purpose for it to fulfill it. Lifeforms live out their purpose every day, with or without our knowledge or approval of them doing so.

Humans, though, are different than any other creation. We were given minds with free will. This means we have the power of choice, which can be exercised in a split second. We don’t have to live programmed the way other lifeforms live. If you wish to stay up north in the winter and play in the snow, you have the choice to do so. You are not biologically programmed in the same way an animal is. When you leave your house every day, there could be an obstacle that trips you up every time. Let’s say it was a cheap doormat that had the edge folded up. Every stinking day, on your way out, it trips you up. It caused you many times to spill coffee on yourself, drop your keys, slip, and trip. If you continue to live with this faulty doormat, you’d be living just like an animal, thinking that’s the way things are. But you aren’t just an animal, are you? You are a human being, gifted with intellect and reasoning.

You could philosophize about why people put doormats in front of their doors in the first place. You could debate with whomever it was that put it there. You could theorize a possible solution to weigh down the corner that causes you to trip. Or, rather than continue to put up with the blasted thing, you could declare that enough was enough. You could roll up the doormat and throw it in the trash. How you choose to deal with your obstacles is a choice that you alone have to make. If you decide to wait on others to come fix your problem with the doormat, it may never happen!

Find something that is worthwhile and good, that you can conquer. When we are challenged, it awakens something within us that likes to be stirred. It’s one of the reasons we like competition with others so much. It’s why many of us seek to outperform our previous best efforts. We enjoy growth, movement, and the rise to a good challenge. Stop waiting for the world to solve your problems and start solving them yourself. If you want to live a life of excellence, it means you have to take charge of your life!


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True greatness does not ask for the title, it just becomes so, often in the midst of conflict and pain. It takes a lot to stay on the path of success. With countless opportunities to run from adversity, far too few of us stick it out until the end. For those who do, a reward lies on the other side. Some seek greatness for glory, fame, or riches. While that pursuit has its own rewards, they are not to be measured with the same scale as those who pursue the betterment of life for everyone.

Search the countryside and you will find monuments erected in honor of someone’s achievements. This is not to say that every act of greatness ends in a statue of yourself and how wonderful you are. But then again, the monuments are usually erected long after one passes from this life. National parks all across the U.S. work to preserve some of these monuments to commemorate a person or group of people. Their actions, whether they be generosity, heroism, or a monumental achievement will long be remembered in history.

Not all monuments to honor greatness will be seen in this life. For some, they will never know the effects they’ve had on others. If you’ve had a positive impact on another, I doubt you will ever worry about having a monument erected to celebrate this fact. If it was a negative impact, you likely won’t want to know the effects you’ve had on others. Either way the legacy you leave behind will live on, whether it be one of greatness or the lack thereof.

We tend to think of greatness as making a huge, out-of-this-world contribution. However, greatness can also be revealed long after the consistent efforts of small, seemingly unimportant things. This everlasting impact isn’t seen in the mundane and trivial matters. It is contained in the broad spectrum from the start to finish of one’s life. To become a great father, you cannot do it simply by being there during the moment of conception. A great mother loves her children even when they do not deserve it. A great boss manages their people well and stands up for them when the chips are down. A great friend can be more loyal than a brother.

Even if a person spends the majority of their life living the wrong kind of lifestyle, it doesn’t mean they have to go out like that. It’s never too late to change how you will be remembered!

Only Me

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When upset or angry, there is often a temptation to become self-destructive in some way. We downplay things to justify our behavior. Whether we do it with intention or not, is not what this discussion is about. Should anyone care enough to call us out on our behavior, they are likely to receive a snippy answer. “What do you care, I’m only hurting myself ,” were the words I once heard, basically telling me to mind my own business.

It is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that the only harm will come to us. When contemplating cause and effect, there seems to be an infinite number of ways things could turn out. Every new variable added, adds a degree of complexity to any equation. To declare with absolute certainty a specific thing will happen is sometimes hard to prove. A common example of this is what people do with their bodies. Many people are quick to judge another by how they treat their bodies. Without getting into the different vices that affect our health, any and all of them have possible side effects eventually. In the short run, it may be true that you are not affecting anyone but yourself. However, if given long enough, something is guaranteed to happen that will affect another person or even many people.

Our health or the lack thereof affects our families, friends, and employers. They are the ones who visit us in the hospital. They are the ones who care for us when we cannot do it on our own. They too, pay a price for our decisions. When we aren’t feeling good, our productivity goes down. Our employers pay us the same wages yet get less output from us. We would never want to pay someone less when they are not working as hard, yet we expect employers to all the time. The list doesn’t stop there. It simply goes on in the unseen realm where any combination of things could happen.

It is a long chain of actions and reactions, linked together. When you actually care about someone’s wellbeing, it’s hard to accept that they sabotage themselves. But each person was given free will, who are we to take that choice away from them? We can pray for them and try to encourage them. Outside of these things, there is little we can do, since they may or may not accept what we want for them.

When it is you committing self-sabotage, recognize that others may suffer as a result of your action or failure to act. Neglecting what we ought to do in the name of self-sabotage is wrong and, in many cases, selfish. I’ve been there, done that and would be a hypocrite to say otherwise. Nonetheless, we should always strive to do the right thing, not just for ourselves but for others who may have to live with our decisions too.