Posts Tagged 'work'

The Can Do Man

Courtesy of KVOA.com

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
John Wooden

I love to cook, but have a hard time boiling eggs.

Over the years, I’ve tested every method I could find to make them.

The internet has been a bust.

Food Network was no help, either.

If the Queen of England came over tomorrow and wanted one for dinner, we’d be ordering in.

For someone who enjoys being in the kitchen as much as I do, this is a bit distressing. How can I consider myself a decent cook if one of the most basic tasks eludes me?

I am frustrated by this fact until I remember what I am able to do.

Chocolate chip pancakes with blueberries.

Scallop and shrimp salad.

Pork tenderloin medallions with asparagus.

All of these dishes are palatable, to say the least. Why be concerned about something else?

The best use of my time — for myself or anyone else — is the things I do well.

Something about the American ethos glorifies the idea of turning weakness into strength. The legendary figures of this culture are perceived as heroes for rising above all that would hold them back.

Guided by this assumption, we come to believe triumph is rooted in overcoming faults.

Most of the time, it’s quite the opposite.

Success, in any walk of life, is about leveraging what we do really well to create the desired result. All of us have done so — and will continue to — time and time again.

Greatness is the repeated expression and magnification of skill. Attempting to improve lesser talents takes time away from the pursuit of excellence in those that matter.

And, if we’re not careful, what we cannot do keeps us from doing what we can.

The Annual Review, Part 2

Image Courtesy of The-Reel-McCoy.com

What follows is the second in a two-part series to celebrate my 31st birthday. In it, I’ve sat down to discuss the last year with my guardian angel, a malakh called “M.” The opening was posted yesterday.

JE: Having faith is challenging for us. Believing something without seeing or feeling it — without some way to quantify it — is the opposite of what we understand best.

M: (sternly) Which is precisely the point of it.

JE: I know this is kind of off topic since we’ve been talking about faith, but what’s the worst sin?

M: Disobedience.

JE: Not murder?

M: Think about what you just said. The Ten Commandments lay out “the big ones,” the major offenses — all of which are meant to be obeyed. Disobedience is the root of all sin. If you want to get very technical, it’s the only one.
Everything from a white lie to homicide is turning away from His will, it’s just by degree. Most of the time people ignore small things, little instances where God intends something for them and they’re either too scared or too self-centered to follow through. Of course, it’s not the same as taking a life, but it’s a transgression nonetheless.

JE: That depends on what you mean by “taking a life.”

M: What are you getting at?

JE: Well, if we deny His commands, aren’t we taking our own life, in a manner of speaking?

M: I don’t follow.

JE: Let’s assume God, in His love, has intended tremendous blessings along His path for us. There’s still ups and downs, obviously, but He would generally shower us with abundance.

M: Fair enough. Go on.

JE: If we shrink from a task, we’re “killing” that life He’s laid out, slowly but surely. I’ve been thinking a lot about how avoiding the gifts He’s given us is pretty bad. Can you see how I link that to disobedience and sin?

M: Absolutely. That is one way to look at it, if a bit different than most would expect. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing you brush up against your purpose and then turn away from it.
Humans are phenomenal at suppressing the instinct for what He has made them to do. You all find reason after reason to avoid something big.
I can’t speak for Him, but if it were me, I’d feel pretty insulted by that.

JE: Grandma always said, “God’s plan will not take you where His grace cannot keep you” or something like that.

M: Right, but what you struggle with most — beyond the fact you’re gifted — is understanding you have to cultivate whatever He’s given you. Michael Jordan had God-given ability, yet he worked all the time to squeeze everything he could into his game. Leonardo da Vinci would have robbed the world of tremendous art if he left his ideas in his head.
It takes time and effort and consistency and desire to be what you’re made to b–

JE: The fullest expression of God as He made me. That’s something worth living for.

M: It goes way beyond that. It’s worth working and dying for. What is that for you? What sets your heart alight like that?

JE: I don’t know. I mean, I know I have something but I feel like I don’t know what it is. You must know better than anyone how much that weighs on me.

M: You bet I do. What are you looking for? What is it you’re waiting to see?

JE: A big neon sign. Something to prod me in the right direction.

M: That’s not the way it works. Faith is minimized by explicit commands. Does He use them? Sometimes. He knows — and this is very important — it takes a lot more trust to follow a hunch than a shout.

JE: My heart aches to do a good job for God, to fulfill my purpose for Him.

M: I know. How do you plan on going about making it happen?

JE: I’m making a conscious effort to hear Him, for one. I strive to emulate Jesus’ example as best I can. Honestly, that’s what motivates me, Christ is a stunning example of complete surrender to God. It’s why I love his prayer in Gethsemane so much.

M: When he asks the Father to let the cup pass from him?

JE: Exactly. He lays out his desire to go another way, then follows God’s will. I’m drawn to that. It’s very human, the only place I think he is in the whole Bible.
People seek what they want from God a lot of the time. I’m sure I do more than I even think I do. Forgiveness is great, the crucifixion humbles me more all the time, yet I’d hate to rest on it. We all struggle against our own nature, our selfish and misguided choices. Everyone wants to know there will still be someone who loves them despite all their mess ups. Who am I to say that’s wrong?
When I die, though, I want to know I’ve given all I can of this soul in the time this body affords it. I want to have been a messenger, a servant. To have made lives better. To have been a good example and helped others find their own way to fulfill the massive potential God gives each of us.

M: What stops you?

JE: Me.

M: Correct. He believes in all of you. More than you know and sometimes, I think, in a way you’re utterly unable to comprehend. He made you. He is sure you have the ability to do the job.

JE: It doesn’t seem like it sometimes.

M: Again, that’s you. You don’t believe enough in yourself.

JE: Huh?

M: Like a lot of people, you hardly think of your capabilities beyond what you can see in front of you. You want to climb a mountain, then stare at the top and say you can’t make it instead of looking at your feet to figure out the first step or two.
You may be required to scale something else first, but I guarantee you’ll find a way from that peak to the summit you wish to stand on if you allow for the journey to be something other than a straight line. You — all of you — have the tools. You, finally, have really begun to accept the fact He gives you guys a compass instead of a map.
For the longest time, I couldn’t decide if you didn’t know what you were being told to do or if you were willfully ignoring them. I know what the answer is now. It wasn’t always so obvious.

JE: What if things don’t work out?

M: They do. All the time. Not always the way you expect, but they do.

JE: I get that. What does He think of criticism, then?

M: Criticism?

JE: He must hear people complain when results don’t match up to prayers. How does that make Him feel?

M: Much of life is built on how you react. Though all of us are surprised by how people interpret events, He realizes some will see opportunities where others see doom and gloom. It’s been that way since the beginning — somebody decries what’s beyond their control, then uses it as a crutch instead of a springboard.
There will always be some who shake their fists at the rain forgetting it waters the flowers.

JE: It’s tough to accept going the opposite direction of where we want to.

M: It is. Remember the scene in Dogma where the lead character finds out she’s a distant niece to Jesus and goes running off into the woods?

JE: You seem to know that movie pretty well.

M: (shaking head) Sadly, it’s the best frame of reference I have for you. Anyway, remember how angry she is at God?

JE: Yes.

M: Do you recall what the Metatron asked her?

JE: Not at all.

M: He asked her if she could have believed him without seeing everything else first. She had to be brought to the point she could face the truth.
The script wasn’t too far off, either. For some, there’s a process of observation and evidence-gathering until you’re even slightly capable of understanding what you’re called for. You had to be broken, humiliated — even if only within the confines of your own head. A lot of people have to suffer before they can conceive of the fact nothing great gets accomplished without Him, regardless of whether any of you acknowledges the fact.
Then, after all the pruning, when you’re ready from His perspective most of you still don’t feel you are. Others accept quickly. Some, not at all.

JE: People are generally turned off by the idea following Christ means a shift into piety worthy of sainthood, I think. The stereotypical holier-than-thou Christian undermines the reality. I mean, it did for me.
Though I’ve noticed a shift in my thinking as I’ve sought to really follow Jesus — a direct result of my gratitude for God’s grace, I believe — I realize I’m still me. I still like jazz and astrophysics and Newcastle Brown Ale. I simply have incorporated faith into my decisions and, hopefully, make better ones with more consistency.
When “it” hits you, you know. I’ve been amazed at how it’s permeated everything about me.

M: Take all of that and tell the story. Imagine what it’s going to be like when you really step into what He has for you.

JE: I try to.

M: I know. It’s the best part of my day. What do you think your task is going forward?

JE: Keep studying and growing into my faith. Talk to Him. Really listen. Do my best to screw up less. Be grateful He uses my faults and failures for His glory.

M: All of those are good things. What I’d like to see out of you in the next year is new confidence in all there is within, all He blessed you with, all He has for you to do and is aligning for you. Show some courage and commitment.
God loves you and has made you to be great, to live well and joyously. Why do less?

JE: OK, I understand. Can I ask a question?

M: Go ahead.

JE: I have this theory wealth in all ways — physical, financial, spiritual — is proportional to how close we are to living on purpose. Is that true?

M: (smiling) Give it a shot and find out.
Well, we’ve come to the conclusion of your review. I have a few more questions to ask you, if you’re willing to answer them.

JE: Why wouldn’t I be?

M: They’re optional. I hate to admit it, but I really like the Proust questionnaire.

JE: The what?

M: The Proust questionnaire. You’re probably more familiar with the modified version at the end of interviews on Inside the Actor’s Studio.

JE: (rolling eyes) Are you serious?

M: It’s one of the few indulgences I’m allowed.

JE: In that case, far be it from me to deny you the pleasure.

M: Thank you. What is your favorite word?

JE: “Nebulous” or “flourish.” The first rolls off the tongue well. The second has a way of breathing life into whatever it’s describing.

M: What is your least favorite word?

JE: (thinking) Hmm. I’m having a hard time choosing just one. Most of my examples are contextual.

M: Try for me. Please.

JE: How about “orientated” or any other non-word that’s worked its way into the lexicon. People get disoriented. No one has ever been “disorientated.”

M: I see. What turns you on?

JE: Passion. It is amazing to watch someone work out of love instead of obligation.

M: What turns you off?

JE: Negativity. I seem to shut off almost immediately when I sense a string of it coming.

M: What sound or noise do you love?

JE: Joy. It’s different for each person, but distinguishable nonetheless. It’s like my soul can identify with theirs for just a moment. It’s great.

M: What sound or noise do you hate?

JE: Intolerance coupled with aggressiveness. There are few things which upset me more than people screaming loud with massive ignorance.

M: What is your favorite curse word?

JE: Dammit. It’s my default word for exasperation or disgust, primarily with myself.

M: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

JE: I’d play soccer. I doubt that answer will ever change. It’s my first love. I still dream some nights of suiting up for my favorite team.

M: What profession would you not like to do?

JE: The law, I think. Maybe collecting trash. Wait, those answers are kind of the same, huh?

M: What would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

JE: “Well done, son.”

The Annual Review, Part 1

Image Courtesy of BeyondHollywood.com

What follows is the first in a two-part series to celebrate my 31st birthday today. In it, I’ve sat down to discuss the last year with my guardian angel, a malakh called “M.” The conclusion will be posted tomorrow.

M: Good morning.

JE: (sighing) Good morning.

M: Something wrong?

JE: I figured God would be doing my review. No offense.

M: That’s common. Everyone forgets He said “no man shall see Me and live.” Watching you is my job. Who else would you talk to?

JE: You mean that thing in Dogma where they’re unable to hear the actual voice of God is true?

M: (grumbling) Sort of. He didn’t go through five Adams, though. Does Exodus 33:20 ring a bell?

JE: Is that when Moses finds the burning bush?

M: No, it’s when the Ten Commandments are written. It’s nice to see your Bible study paying off. The Father is quite pleased you’ve begun taking it seriously the last few months, though. You’ve undergone a lot of necessary change in the last year and, to begin your review, tell me about it.

JE: Wow, a lot went on. Before I start, can I ask you a question?

M: Sure.

JE: Do you already know how this conversation will go?

M: Yes.

JE: Then why are we having it?

M: Because you don’t. That’s the value in it. You’ll see things you were unaware of. Now, talk about about your last year.

JE: I’ve been through the wringer a bit. It seems like the whole year has been a process of self-examination, a real quest to figure out how I made such a mess of myself. I look back now and see how much my life had been guided by the desire for riches instead of happiness.
I’ve been humbled a lot by that realization. It’s probably the most important thing that occurred, other than moving to California and discovering a real, living faith.

M: This is a bit ahead of where I would normally ask, but what was the difference? What about that really brought you to Christ?

JE: The message is presented in a way that reaches me. I wanted desperately to really accept salvation for years, I just didn’t know how. I felt unable to let it in, if that makes sense, like I’d have to surrender my brain — my best asset — for it to happen. I wondered if that was possible. I knew I was the roadblock, yet felt wholly incapable of getting out of my own way.
Then I fell into WestGate and everything lined up. I was “home.” I got baptized and, well, the phrase “eternally grateful” has taken on new meaning.

M: You’ve all got to find your way and I’m very happy you did. Here’s the thing: all of you have been saved. Everyone’s already got a seat on the bus. God sent Jesus for that reason. He died and was resurrected, then everything was washed away. He’s the bridge God built between Himself and all His children.
What I find most amazing is, after all that, God lets you decide whether you’ll accept it. I mean, both of us were made to worship Him, but you guys get a choice. I envy that sometimes. The trade-off for free will is being unable to see Him work all the time, to comprehend the enormity of His power the way I do. If you could, there’d be no choice at all — the amazement would convert even the hardest hearts in an instant.
Because I’ve seen what I’ve seen, there’s no other option for me. You guys are allowed to make a decision and — in all His mercy — He loves you either way.

JE: I get that now. It’s incredibly powerful, but a lot of people seem to have trouble understanding it.

M: Why do you think that is?

JE: Because we attempt to compare what we know of love with what He has for us?

M: Precisely. Even the best human relationships have conditional aspects to them. The love of the Father does not.
Let’s get on with the review. Describe a situation in which you feel you’ve contributed well to the company.

JE: I always have problems tooting my own horn. Pride has been my biggest downfall, you know.

M: Yes, it has. There’s a fine line, though, between confidence and arrogance. To be very candid, you’ve spent way too much time thinking you’ve crossed over in some areas and being blind to the fact you actually have in others. So, I’m going to ask you again: What do you think you did well this year?

JE: The best thing I did was teach. Being a professor is one of the more meaningful experiences of my life. The students’ response, at the time and continuing today, has humbled me. I am really blessed to have had the opportunity. I feel I did some good.
Though I had no idea at the time, Providence shined very bright upon me.

M: Absolutely. I love watching you roll your eyes at the little connections which bring things about to eventually benefit you. Honestly, seeing people disappointed or suspicious of something while knowing how it will end up is what I love most about my job.
What do you think are your three biggest strengths?

JE: A poet’s heart. A scientist’s mind. Those both seem so cheesy, but I know they’re true. I spend entire days wondering how I can put them to use.

M: I know, we’ll get to that. How about a third?

JE: Loyalty. Maybe respect. I think the two are cut from the same cloth. I am fiercely loyal to my family and friends. I do my best to honor simple human dignity like my grandfather, but know I fall short a lot.

M: What are your three biggest weaknesses?

JE: Impatience. Fear. Lack of faith.

M: I asked for three. You only gave me one.

JE: (counting in his head) I’m pretty sure I listed three.

M: No, you did not. The first two are extensions of the third. Impatience shows a lack of belief an outcome will arrive. Fear is the result of thinking you’re unprotected. The kind of faith I know you and a lot of people wish to have stamps both those out. Even in the darkest hours of your lives, it gives you the glimmer of hope to keep going.
While we’re on the subject of faith, describe your relationship with the Father.

JE: I’ve felt abandoned. I’ve felt confused. I’ve felt certain. I’m very happy to say the connection is growing, though. I still feel disconnected sometimes, like I’m way off base or my mental radio is tuned to the wrong frequency and all I hear is static. I hate feeling distant from God, like I’m not making the right choices. I hate feeling uninspired, unworthy, unable and unhappy.
My work seems to be so far away anything good right now, which is frustrating. I think all of us can do many things well, be great at four or five and truly excellent at one. It seems to me that “one thing” is where ability and passion blur together. I really want to do that with the rest of my life. That thought inspires me. Why can’t I get a burning bush to direct me?

M: Inspiration works both ways. In reality, it’s defined by what you do with it. Think combining tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is an accident? No, it’s inspiration applied for deliciousness. Sometimes the application is a couple of steps, sometimes it’s a couple thousand. It’s up to you to stick with it.

JE: Finding my purpose is up to me? That seems a bit counterintuitive. I figured it would be revealed to me.

M: Consider Matthew 7:7, “Seek and ye shall find.” The only way to find any answer is to really look for it. Sometimes that means going to the wrong places.

JE: Yet He talked to Moses through a shrubbery.

M: Mysterious ways are different now. It’s my opinion He’d be better off reaching your short attention spans with a text message. Alas, He still likes the old way.

JE: So you’re saying the Ten Commandments weren’t a product of one of your colleagues talking to Moses?

M: Of course they are, he wrote them down and shared them with his people, you know? Plato’s Republic came about when a friend of mine got him to scribble out his thoughts on the perfect government. The Sistine Chapel is the direct result of a near-constant conversation with Michaelangelo. Special relativity was whispered to Einstein.
Sometimes people listen with their ears when they’d be better off doing so with their heart.

JE: What about all those homeless people on street corners that say you’re telling them something?

M: They’re right. The message sometimes gets jumbled in their heads. He’s more concerned with those who are deliberately deaf and mistake that for Him being silent.

JE: That makes sense. I mean, I know He has something for me to do and has made a way for me to do it, even if I feel like I’m having trouble understanding what it is at the moment. Certainty and confusion is the uncomfortable paradox of faith.

M: That uncomfortable paradox is exactly what makes it faith.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

We have but one life to live.

Days often overwhelm us, 24 hours becomes a race to be finished.

It happens to me constantly as I hustle from one task to the next in a whirlwind of activity.

Every once in a while, a shock resets our brains.

A job is lost.

Property burns down.

Loved ones die.

For an all-too-brief period, we live in the space we wish to, cherishing relationships and indulging in simple pleasures.  We share hugs and laughs and bask in the joy of our mutual connection with others. Sunshine is a luxury and conversation is a treasure.

Then, a gentle wind blows us back into the same old, same old.

Routine draws us without fail into the familiar illusion of security over and over again.

Lately, as I transition from one place to another, my mind has been meandering around the central reason for my existence. All I can tell you for certain is that I wish to leave nothing undone, to slip through the veil certain I have given all I was able to all I could have.

How does one go about doing so?

I think about this regularly.

There are a limited number of chances to make an impact in this world. Each begins when we open our eyes in the morning and ends when we close them at night. The interval between begs us to fill it with meaningful action, so much so we are often overcome by the thought of making full use of it.

I’ve been challenged to act like I have a week left on this planet, to fill what little time I have with the ecstasy of a bold heart. To answer this call, I’m asking myself two questions as often as possible:

Who can you love?

What can you give?

Today is the opportunity of a lifetime.

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A Final Lesson

The following is a letter I published on the website for my students and, as it contains insights valuable to all of us, I have chosen to post it here, too.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My time on the NAU campus has come to an end. After two sessions, six classes and 60-plus students, this moment is very bittersweet. I must take a moment to thank Ruth Cook and Duane Petty for hiring me and offering me the opportunity to step in front of students for the first time. Of course, Paula Phelps deserves a big hand for the tremendous support she’s given me from the start, both inside and outside the classroom—it makes life as an instructor that much easier. Last, but not least, I have to tip my hat to the remainder of the staff and faculty: I appreciate all your efforts in making me a part of the community and continue to be amazed by what you contribute to the campus.

To my students, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the gifts and cards. I will cherish the memory of your hugs and words wherever I go for the rest of my life—and will maintain a sugar rush from all the candy and cookies for several weeks, at least. I feel privileged to have been trusted with the awesome responsibility of playing a part in your education. With that in mind, I would be remiss if allowed us to part ways without a final lesson, something I hope you apply as you continue beyond campus walls:

1. Have great expectations
Achievement of any kind, whether getting a certification or becoming President of the United States, begins with an idea. Success, then, is a reflection of what you fix your mind on. Set your eyes on something far in the distance and pursue it with all your strength, through every hardship. When you are tired and think about giving up, remember what Thomas Paine wrote in The Crisis: “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Understand the difference between a goal and a step. The first is the target, a fixed point you are heading towards, in the same way Kansas City will always be exactly where it is. The second is how you get there, a series of movements leading to your destination—be open to taking any road, regardless of how treacherous or far out of the way it seems. As long as you keep driving on, you will get where you want to.

2. Do your part
Whatever it is you’ve set out to do, realize the lion’s share of effort will be yours. Though there will be others that help you along the way, most of the work will fall at your feet–from meeting the right people to learning the proper skills to performing at a high level in the field. Understand this fact, concentrate on being your best and let the cards fall where they may; more often than not, things will end up in your favor.

3. Make the best of every situation
The cushion of extra credit is absent in everyday life. We walk a fine line in the healthcare environment, there is no room for mistakes. Failure is a learning experience, accepted as part and parcel of the high-stakes practice of medicine. For some of you, a coding error or HIPAA violation may cost your employer money. For others, a patient may be injured or die.

Sometimes things will not go your way. Take a moment to figure out what you can correct and what you did well, then use that knowledge the next time. Always keep in mind that if you’re perfect, chances are pretty good you aren’t really doing anything.

It is my distinct honor to have stood before you and witnessed your growth as human beings. Believe in yourself, work hard, spread kindness and I am certain you will go as far as you wish.

With sincere best wishes now and always,

Jason Eichacker, DC

Change Something to Reign Supreme

What is the value in being different?

One of my guilty pleasures is the original Iron Chef, a Japanese “cooking battle” dubbed into English. I find it entertaining because my brain somehow conceives of this as gourmet cuisine thrashing about on the set of Godzilla.

The show is loosely tied around the idea each contestant will push their knowledge and skill into new works of culinary artistry. In other words, they are charged with taking everything they’ve done before to create something unheard of.

Success is almost always the result of asking how an approach can be changed while making use of what is already being done well.

The thing is, taking old ideas in a new direction invites criticism and Kitchen Stadium is no different. Every episode culminates with the evaluation of each dish by a panel of three judges.

As the food is graded, the taster attempts to parse wholly original entrées against the backdrop of standard restaurant fare. Nibbling from plate after plate, the diners offer their appreciation and “suggestions” to the presenting contender, who–in a manner typical of the Far East–accepts both with understated gestures of deference and respect most of the time.

Really, though, everything on the table should be at least a little ridiculous.

A novel concept–regardless of how extreme–takes others some time to understand and value, whether in a fine restaurant or up-and-coming business. If it were too similar to everything else, it would blend into the landscape and lose out to what has done the same for longer.

Familiarity is a craving, too–particularly in a species as afraid of change as we are.

Humans must be confronted by fresh experiences periodically to avoid stagnation. When our worldview is widened by a unique encounter, we are forced to determine if there is any benefit in assimilating “now” into “before” to change “after”.

Modernity is the result of repeated exposure to uncommon notions.

Otherwise, Henry Ford would have been defeated by the horse and computers would be dozens of vacuum tubes taking up entire rooms in a handful of locations around the world.

The future belongs to those who let the unknown reign supreme today.

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Who Sharpens You?

There can be little doubt excellence breeds excellence.

I’ve often discussed my athletic career, sharing the connections I see between achievement on the field and in life. Last night I watched my favorite soccer team, Manchester United, face off against the best players from the United States’ professional league, MLS. The score line is unimportant, as it was just an exhibition, yet much of what transpired on the field reflects the importance of environment to success.

Over the course of 90 minutes, the gulf in class became apparent. The Mancunian Red Devils played faster and smoother than their opponents could hope to. Each movement oozed efficiency and precision. To put it simply, they looked they looked more than just better, they seemed smarter.

Testing yourself is crucial to the fulfillment of your potential.

There is something to be said for being immersed in an atmosphere which demands the best of every individual, regardless of innate talent.

The difference between these two teams, apart from the number of practices together (favoring Man United) and level of fitness (better for MLS), can be found in their training sessions. The team from the English Premier League employs some of the highest-rated players on the planet, while the MLS squad is surrounded by many young men who–though capable–are almost semi-professional by comparison.

The former is world-class, the latter is not.

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) tells us “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Think about the comparison again: one group goes up against elite athletes in session after session as the other competes with part-timers of varied skills.

Which is best positioned to make the most of themselves?

Though every one of us is born with a specific purpose, the impact of being forged in the fire cannot be underestimated.

Ability must be developed and commitment must be tested. Without either–or both–the likelihood we’ll grow from amateur to virtuoso diminishes markedly. The men in red have left behind family and friends, dedicating their lives to learning the ins and outs of being a “good professional” from their early teens to even sniff the chance of pulling on the legendary red jersey.

When facing off against long odds, you can wilt or seize the day.

By putting yourself in a situation that draws forth your best effort, you invite yourself to raise to your highest level.

If you decide against facing such a challenge, you settle for “what might have been”.

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