Sometimes it defies logic beyond belief…
While other times it makes perfect sense.
Some people see it as a gift. Then you have others who see it as a curse.
There are also people who know it exists…
And as strange and outrageous as it sounds, there are people who claim it will end any second.
No matter how you look at it the fact is, this does exist and we’re all in it together.
Even though it is different for each of us it’s still the same for all of us…
Except for one thing.
What am I talking about?
That’s the part which is the same for all of us. Life exists all around us.
What part is different?
The memories and experiences that you encounter during your life’s journey. Yours may be similar to others but the fact is that they’re all different.
But here’s something that is the same for all of us…
We all have things we’d love to remember and immediately forget. Keep this in mind as you ask yourself the following question…
“What do you remember most about your life?”
1. The bicycle of life
I still remember the day when the training wheels were taken off my bicycle and I was able to peddle away…unassisted and without falling down. I was four going on five. What I didn’t realize at the time is that life is like a bicycle. What I also wasn’t aware of is that most people see life as a unicycle.
When I rode that bicycle with the training wheels on it was easy. It became more challenging when those training wheels came off. Because now I went from four wheels to two.
If I had to ride a unicycle it would have been much tougher. And no matter how good you can get at riding a unicycle, your chances are still greater that you’ll fall off because it’s only one wheel. It’s less stable than a two wheel bicycle.
So what does this have to do with what you remember most about your life?
The moments that you remember most about your life are two sided. These include what you may see as a moment being more positive in any way…
It also applies to those moments you may see as being more negative as well.
You see it’s easy to remember the “positive” moments and forget the “negative” moments. It can also be easier at times to see more “negative” moments and forget the “positive” moments. But the fact is that even those so called “negative” moments had the positive in them.
The same can be said of the so called “positive” moments. As they also have the negative in them as well.
This is incredibly important to be aware of because it will give you deeper insights into your life’s journey. It will allow you to “connect the dots” in you life.
And what’s the result of this?
You’ll have that “aha” moment that transforms your life. And it can be in any area of your life. And on top of that it will open the floodgates of other moments that you were never aware of…
That triggers off even more of these “aha” moments.
This is what happens when you ride the bicycle of life instead of riding the unicycle.
2. Helping hands Helping hearts
It’s pretty obvious that your life’s journey and what you remember most involves the people you come across during your life. And it’s safe to say that you come across tens of thousands of different people—ranging from family, friends, acquaintances, and everyone else in between.
But of course they’ll be certain people who stand out most. These will be the people who have mattered most to you. These are the people who have impacted your life in some way.
And once again this will involve the bicycle of life.
Now at first you may see the people who have mattered most to you as being nice, supportive, and kind. This is very important.
Equally as important is that you realize that these same people were mean, challenging, and cruel to you in some way…
Think about this…
Take a look at someone who really had a “positive” impact in your life, someone who even perhaps made the difference between you being here today versus you not being here today.
Along with the times where you saw them as being nice, supportive, and kind…
Look to see where and when they were mean to you. Where they really challenged you. Where they were cruel in some way.
This isn’t something you ever thought of doing, right?
Well when you do you’ll see something pretty amazing that you weren’t aware of.
And here’s what it is.
The only way that you could possible see this special person as having a major impact in your life is if they were both nice and mean, supportive and challenging, kind and cruel to you.
At first you may not noticed or wanted to see the “negative” but when you look you’ll see that they provided the bicycle of life to you. If they didn’t you would not see them as being that special person in your life.
And this works the other way too.
The people you perceived as being mean, challenging, and cruel also impacted your life in a large way. It may seem “negative” on the surface. But when you look deeper these types of people were there to get you to be stronger, to stand up for yourself, to be your true authentic self.
Each of these types of people are not only helping hands, but they are also helping hearts.
And this is something certainly to remember most about your life.
3. Dust in the wind
The memories you have along with the special moments that occur during your life are very important. To some people they may not seem that important. But to you they are and that’s what matters.
Therefore whatever you remember most about your life is something that occurred which is unique to you. To others it may seem like “dust in the wind” or not that big of a deal. But it is a big deal. Because it involves you being the amazing person you are.
What’s equally important in all of this is that what has occurred in the past—or as some would call the “good old days”— has it’s equal today in what I like to call the “good new days.”
Instead of looking back and wishing things were like it used to be, it is very wise to look at today and how you can create what is today—the “good new days”—which ten or twenty years from now will be considered the “good old days.”
And in both cases it involves something and someone that you’ll remember most about your life.
You were put on this planet to be a shining star, not dust in the wind.
You are here today to be a glowing ray of light, not a speck of sand on a beach.
You are here to contribute something of tremendous value to the world, not to just sit on the sideline and watch the parade pass by.
Every person, every situation, and every idea has served a purpose in your life.
While certain people, situations, and ideas may stand out more than others, the fact is that all of them count and contribute to the magnificence and brilliance of who you are and what you’re here to be, do, and have.
This is also why you are a blessing to the world and the people around you.
It starts out innocent.
No one notices.
Few if any even listen…except those who really know you.
And then what happens?
People start paying attention.
And then next thing you know the true…and mostly false assumptions show up… and only the people who know you…really know the truth.
This is what happens when you take the time and just “chip away” at your life.
In other words…
You take those “baby steps”…the little “day in and day out” steps that are part of the big picture which are involved in you reaching your goals.
Sometime this is referred to as “what goes on behind the scenes.”
Most people only go by what they see on the outside…have no idea of what it takes…and then mislabel the person who reaches their goals and attributes it to something other than what it really is.
What this means for you is…
Your ability to live the type of life you’d love to live involves your ability to keep “chipping away” each day.
This leads to the question…
How much of your life is being chipped away?
1. Your statue of life
There are many people out there who say that happiness is your birthright. That’s not true because it’s whatever you love to do is what’s involved in bringing out the happiness in you.
In other words…
You have something you’d love to do…something that inspires you…something that gets you up out of bed every day “raring to go.”
Whatever that is for you, you’ll find yourself saying “I love doing this”, “I’m inspired to be doing this”, “This is what I’ve always dreamed of doing”…
This can be in any of the 7 areas of life…your spirituality, mindset development, career, finances, family, social network, and physical health.
These form what I’m calling your statue of life.
And it’s here where you’ll be “chipping away” day in and day out.
Then of course if you find yourself saying “I have to”, “I’ve got to”, “I’m supposed to” you’ll find yourself “dragging yourself” throughout the day looking to be motivated to do something you don’t love.
Therefore and obviously…
The more you’re doing what you love…the higher the probability of you “chipping away” at it.
Then comes the other part that’s involved…and often misunderstood…when it comes to “sculpting” your statue of life.
And what I’m referring to is seeking support and praise.
There’s no doubt about it that having support and praise is important.
It’s also having the challenges and criticism is what’s vital in order for you to sculpt that “perfect” statue of life.
Because no matter what you do you’ll get people support and challenging you…praising and criticizing you…along with people liking and disliking you…equally.
When you’re doing what you love you’ll embrace both sides equally in pursuit of your goals…and you’ll stick with it instead of giving up.
2. Virtuoso in action
As you’re “chipping away” on a daily basis, you may at times have a tendency to “beat yourself up” as to why things aren’t getting done fast enough.
Along with this…
You are likely to look at what other people have accomplished and compare yourself to them…while wishing your life was just like theirs.
This leads to what I call “wanting things done yesterday.”
As a result…
This can and often does lead to desperation in the form of looking for overnight “miracles”…or looking for that big “home run.”
What happens here…you start getting emotional and do foolish things.
The virtuoso…the person who “chips away” day in and day out…the person who takes the “little big steps” each day is the one who all of a sudden seems to come out of nowhere.
This leads to what I said at the beginning…about the true and mostly false assumptions showing up…and that only the people who know you really know the truth.
And that is this…
The people who are on the outside looking in will have a high probability of seeing the person who has achieved “success” and attribute that to things like “luck”, “born into a wealthy family”, or some other false assumption.
The bottom line is…
When you’re true to who you are…while doing what you love…and embracing both sides of life equally…without comparing yourself to others, you “chip away” each day and the results that seem like they’re taking forever for others…will come to you faster than you ever imagined.
And if you should have those moments when you “beat yourself up”…we all do at some point…
When you acknowledge that what you admire in others…that you have it as well and in your own unique way…
You’ll be grateful and appreciate yourself much more.
The “chipping away” each day will have you “in the flow” and you’ll be a virtuoso in action.
And those true assumptions…that you earned what you’ve achieved…will be appreciated by those around you.
3. The illusion of miracles
Earlier I mentioned about miracles. On the surface a miracle seems like something extraordinary. However, what appears to be a “miracle” to one person may actually be a “normal” occurrence for someone else.
Additionally and surprisingly to most people…
“Miracles” and striving for miracles can convey a feeling of desperation.
Think about it…
Take a person who knows what they’d love to do…has a mission…along with a strategic plan on how to carry out their mission…and “chips away” each day.
What happens over a certain period of time…they’ll follow through on what they set out to do…right?
Take a person who has no idea what they want to do…has no idea what their mission is…has no plan…shoots for the big “home run” and overnight results.
Here you’ll have someone that has a high probability of feeling desperate. This person will be in search of miracles.
While the first person I mentioned…
They would have created their own so called “miracle”, except they haven’t because they took the time to plan out their life and then began “chipping away” each day.
You have one person who isn’t desperate and doesn’t see things as being miracles.
You have another person who is likely to be desperate in search of miracles.
This is why miracles are in a large sense an illusion…
Because when you acknowledge the true and divine order of the Universe…while also “chipping away” and being persistent day in and day out…while living according to what is truly most important to you…
You eliminate the need for so called “miracles” in your life.
You’ll see life as a blessing…something to be grateful for…and something to appreciate.
And the same applies to you.
The fact that you’re reading this right now is something to be grateful for…because you’re alive.
And since you’re alive you have something of value to contribute to the world.
It may not be obvious to other people. In fact it may not even be 100% obvious to to you right now.
There is something about you that’s special.
There is something about you that’s unique which allows you to be special.
And it’s this “unique specialness” that demonstrates how much you do matter in the world.
There were three of them.
And even though they’re still physically standing…they’re gone.
It was a place families brought their children…
A place that brought a community together…
A place that had what sounded like an air raid siren go off at 6pm every night…still to this day.
And a place that is today missed by those who lived there.
What I’m talking about are the baseball fields that I used to play little league baseball on.
They’re the fields that all the kids who lived in my housing development where I grew up played baseball on…but no more.
I just recently found out that the Madison Park Little League is long gone. It was taken over by mostly people from out of town…who did away with the little league.
And with it a tradition that was started back in 1955.
After I heard about this…I was surprised…because here you have a housing development of a little over 700 houses…that has its own church….it’s own elementary school…it’s own first aid rescue…it’s own fire department…and it’s own little league.
The church was refurbished…as was the elementary school…the fire department next to the baseball fields is still there…but the little league was let go.
And all of this had me thinking about keeping the tradition alive…not just with the little league I played 6 years in that’s no more…
But with life in general.
With these thoughts the question that came up was…
How can you bring the tradition back to your life?
1. Taking over or taking under
There was an annual tradition that took place with the little league every May. It was a parade that took place on opening day. It started at the church, which was 2 blocks from where I lived, and went all the way to the baseball fields…about one mile away.
This was a tradition that brought out the kids, their families, and even the people out of their house to watch on.
Whether you were interested in little league baseball or not, it still brought together the community on that day.
Now I know this may sound like some local thing. However, it still involved a tradition of a close knit community.
Think about your own life.
What is it in your life that has this type of tradition. It doesn’t need to be something that has to do with little league baseball. It can be something in your own town, a social club you belong to, your career, or perhaps seasonal events you love going to.
Ask yourself, “how much of the tradition is still alive in these for me…how much of that tradition can we keep while at the same time moving forward?”
You don’t need to get rid of an entire tradition of something. It’s a matter of taking over whatever it is you’d love to keep alive, while at the same time keeping it fresh and moving forward…
Because it’s either that or you’ll have someone else come in and take it over.
This is what happened with the Madison Park Little League.
And it’s the same thing that will happen in any area of your life that you don’t empower.
I mentioned change a moment ago.
This is certainly important.
At the same time it’s important to preserve the history because without the history how can you even allow anything…to include yourself…to evolve and grow?
Those who come in and take over, many times do so while in the process “wiping out” any remnants of the past…the history…of what made something special in the first place.
It’s understandable at times why someone would do this…however at the same time it still goes back to what got you there…the history.
And this is all about keeping the tradition alive.
As it relates to your life…the same thing…which leads into why you’d want to do this.
2. Fields of dreams
The last time I was at my old little league baseball fields was back on January 6, 2012. On this particular day I took a walk on to the main field…which seemed quiet and desolate.
It also seemed alive…especially when you consider what I was thinking about while walking across that field.
I remembered the baseball games I played there back when I was 11 and 12. I still remember some of the plays…the one All Star game I played in…the coaches…the kids I met…the friends that were made.
It also brought to mind some of the traditions…such as the concession stand right behind home plate…which is still there in structure…but gone in function. When in function it served as the place where we would get sodas and candy.
It also served as a place where some of the moms would volunteer and help out…which added more to the tradition of what this little league brought to a community.
And yes, the firehouse with it’s daily 6pm air raid type siren is still there.
See, back then the kids didn’t need the cell phones or text messages as a reminder to get home for dinner…we had the 6pm siren…the same siren that was deafening if you happened to be the team playing at 6pm that night.
What also came to mind while walking across these fields were the dreams that kids have of being a baseball player.
To most that would never happen.
It still gave a young kid reason to believe that it could. And even if it didn’t turn out to be baseball, it still gave an opportunity for a kid to believe in doing something that’s most important to them…something that’s near and dear to their heart.
Now even though the little league is gone, the fields do remain. So whether it’s the Madison Park baseball fields or something that’s near and dear to you…it’s still a matter of keeping that dream you have alive…
And especially to give thanks to those people and places during the course of your life that served as a stepping stone for you.
In my case it was playing little league baseball…which led to getting involved in fitness…which led to meeting certain people that become my friends….which led to moving to certain places…which led to what I love doing today.
The same is true for you.
The difference is…what was your field of dreams? What is still your field of dreams?
3. The ballgame of life
Another one of my favorite quotes is fitting right now…which happens to tie in with this entire “balanced tradition.”
First the quote…
“The more things change the more they stay the same.”
This ties in nicely with keeping the tradition alive in your life because it gives you perspective on how to incorporate the “old” which allows for the “new” to take place in your life.
It’s obvious that we as humans crave the “new” and it makes perfect sense…because who wants to remain stale and stagnant…right?
At the same time you also want to preserve some of that “old” which has been part of your life’s journey…because without that how could you possibly evolve and grow?
This now brings up how the quote I just mentioned ties in with having “balanced tradition”…
And it has to do with something that’s familiar to you…the “good old days” mentality.
How many times have you said or heard someone say, “I wish it was like the good old days?”
Because the same people who are craving the “new” and fresh while saying, “oh that was the past” are the same people who frequently wish it was the good old days.”
Even more interesting…
Both of these are needed to some degree in keeping your tradition of life alive.
Whether you’re talking about today…the present…or yesterday…the good old days…each still has an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks…
Each still has the supports and challenges…the pleasures and pains…the things you like and dislike.
The only difference…the way they tie in to what’s most important to you.
I like calling this your “ballgame of life.”
And in your ballgame of life you have a mission of what you’d love to be, do, and have.
Included in your mission are those both sides of life that you, I, and every human being faces day in and day out.
It’s what makes you who you are.
It’s what tests your will to see if you’re living according to what’s most important to you.
It also gets you to get in touch with what your intentions are.
And whether those intentions are to bring the tradition of little league baseball back to a community…or to keep certain traditions within your own family…among your friends…within your business…
Or whatever it is that inspires you most…one thing remains the same…
It comes from the uniqueness of who you are…along with the value you contribute that serves others and humanity.
It involves bringing the history into the inspiring mystery of moving forward.
You never have to give up who you are or what you believe in to make an inspiring impact in the world.
It’s a matter of honoring the magnificence of you…while bring out the magnificence of others…
And in the process you form a new tradition in your life.
At first you think and want it to be easy…
Only to find out that it’s more difficult at times than you would like.
Along the way you discover how strange and downright weird it really can be because you see it with your own eyes…
And then you come to realize how “normal” and beautiful it really can be.
Then come those moments when you get so frustrated and angry that you just want to give up…you’ve reached your boiling point where you’ve had enough and just want to end it all.
And while it gets quite tempting to take that negative way out, something happens that changes your mind.
In fact, even you can’t put your finger on “why” but you decide to just keep going anyway…
And then comes that all important final result.
Just so you know…
I’m talking about two things here…a jigsaw puzzle and your life.
You may be thinking, “What do these have to do with each other?”
So, as you think about that I’d like to pose the question…
“Is your life like a jigsaw puzzle?”
1. Using all that you have
I used to like putting jigsaw puzzles together. I found them to be time consuming but at the same time a great lesson in patience and persistence. What I really liked about them was that it gave me the opportunity to anticipate what to look for in order to find the other piece that would connect with its compliment.
Along with that there was something else really cool that I liked.
And that is the idea that every piece counted towards making the finished product (the puzzle) the beautiful picture it was. Whether I was doing a puzzle of a beautiful countryside or of a bunch of flowers or something more unique such as the evolution of the Coca Cola bottles…the fact was that the finished product was a beautifully laid out picture.
So what in the world does this have to do with you and your life?
Well, just like each piece of that jigsaw puzzle was important to having a finished product (the picture), the same is true with every human trait that you possess.
In other words, you have both positive and negative traits. You have things you like and dislike about yourself. You also have things you like and dislike about others.
And every one of those traits are serving you in your life. Because without them how could you possibly be the magnificent person that you are? You can’t. And in there lies the fact that you’re perfect.
Just like that finished puzzle is a perfect portrait, the same is true for you.
Because you have it all. And when you know how to use everything you have—the positive and negative traits and emotions— you’ll live a fulfilled life doing what you love and be with those you love most.
But there’s more about these positive and negative traits that’s important for you to know…
2. Interlocking pieces of life
I can still remember the times putting together a jigsaw puzzle when it would be frustrating because I couldn’t find that one piece that would fit with the other. So what I would do is to look for the weird and strangest looking pieces and connect those first. These would typically be the corner pieces.
But I knew sooner or later that I’d have to come back to the non corner pieces and the ones that looked almost the same as each other. This is where it got difficult and at times I wanted to completely end it all and give up.
And even though you have weird looking puzzle pieces along with others that just look the same, the fact is that each are unique and very valuable to completing the puzzle.
The same is true with you as it relates to your life…and especially to those positive and negative traits you have.
The fact of the matter is that you’re unique and a valuable person in the world. And what makes that up are all of those positive and negative traits that you have.
And just like each puzzle piece needs to interlock with its compliment so it fits together, the same is true for you…
Each of your positive and negative traits will be needed in certain situations. In fact, in certain situations one trait may be positive and in another situation that same one may be seen as negative.
Let’s look at being dishonest. Of course most people would see being dishonest as a negative trait. And I’m sure you can think of many examples of that. But how about when dishonesty is a positive trait.
Here’s a true story that shows this.
A number of years back an executive of a very large company (I can’t say the name of the person or the company) was faced with a decision. He was in a position where if he was honest he would have to lay off hundreds of employees who were very loyal to him. He didn’t want to do that.
If he was dishonest and “lied” on the quarterly reports it would buy him a few weeks and he could turn the company around. In the process he wouldn’t have to lay off the hundreds of employees who were so loyal to him.
His decision…he took the dishonest route, turned the company around, and those loyal employees kept their jobs.
So when it comes to your life, just know that you’ll be faced with decisions where doing what has been taught to be the “negative” or “bad” thing can actually help the situation and certainly those you care about.
Now of course I’m not telling you to go out and do “unethical” or “bad” or “negative” things to others. What I am saying is that in certain situations those so called “negative” traits are not negative and are needed for the greater good of everyone involved.
3. The finished masterpiece
One thing I wouldn’t do after finishing a jigsaw puzzle was to take it apart and do it again. Instead, I would either leave it on a table with a cardboard background or I would glue the pieces together with a special glue and hang the finished masterpiece up on a wall for all to see.
The same thing is true for you.
That is, your life is truly a masterpiece. The only difference here between your life and the jigsaw puzzle is…is it a finished masterpiece?
And the answer is no.
Because your life is always evolving, it’s always changing. But what does stay the same is the fact that every trait that makes up your magnificent being is always there. It just changes it’s form over time.
You don’t don’t need to get rid of half of yourself to fully appreciate and love yourself.
In other words, it’s not necessary to get rid of your so called “negative” traits because as I said earlier they serve you and those around you. And besides, even if you tried to get rid of them you couldn’t anyway.
And that’s also a good thing because they are there as a guide to get you to grow over the course of your life.
This is what allows you to become wiser. It helps give you greater insight into your own uniqueness and magnificence. It also gives you insight into the brilliance of others which in turn helps you realize your own even more.
So, you’re still a masterpiece but not a finished one.
Because even long after you leave this planet, you’ll still be remembered as the special person you are and one that truly matters…
And one that makes such an inspiring difference in the world.