I remember, when I was in High School, we had to memorize this poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
I have reflected on this poem often…I am not much of a poetry guy…but this one has stood out to me in regards to life and success. Often referred to as “The road less traveled”…this, in my opinion, is the clear issue in regards to success…the path or road that leads to the prize is Preparation…and yet so few actually travel that road. I have a few quotes and ideas to think on today.
First, ask yourself this simple question: What are you, or should you be, preparing for? If you are just getting by in this life than you must stop here and fully answer the afore asked question…the rest of this blog makes no sense without it being honestly answered.
“Everyone has the will to win, but it’s only those with the will to prepare that actually do win.” -Bobby Knight
Here are a few thoughts in traveling the Path of Preparation:
1. Go Devoted
If you are not committed to the journey…then you might as well not go. Devotion to the path, where ever it may lead, is critical. Excitement might get you going…a new adventure…a new direction…but devotion is what keeps you going. Devotion will push you when the path gets steep…or rocky…or unsure. If you aren’t willing to devote yourself to the Path of Preparation…then you will never attain the Prize of Preparation.
2. Go Deep
Shallow investments never produce deep insights. If I “prepare” by skimming material or even cramming lots of material…more than likely, I have no deep insight. Depth, not width, is the game changer. Many miss it on this point…just because you have an opinion does not make you an expert. Don’t mistake practice for preparation…you can practice the wrong things over and over and never be prepared. You must go deep. Know your Path…and dive deeply into the preparation to obtain the prize!
3. Go the Distance
If you are passionate about the path you will endure…you will go the distance. Take the word “quit” out of your vocabulary. I do believe there are things you should quit…like excuses, bad habits, victim mentalities, fanny packs…you get the idea…but the Path of Preparation should never be quit. As the old saying goes; “you can never be too prepared”! Push yourself beyond the normal preparation…go the distance!
If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail!
What are you preparing for?
What steps can you take today on the Path of Preparation?
…unless you never get back up!
Everyone falls but not everyone gets back up. Some choose to remain a victim to the circumstance that caused them to fall while others choose to learn from the fall and get back up…risking another potential fall.
This is what I love about athletes…the path to their success is paved with fall after fall…some quit cause it’s too difficult while others, the really great ones, allow it to build a resolve within to get back up. I cheer for Tiger Woods, yes the adulterous affair Tiger Woods…I want to see him get back up…I want to see him restored, not just in golf but in life. He has enough “haters” who want him to stay down…not me – GET BACK UP! WIN AGAIN!
You don’t have to stay down…today…GET BACK UP!
There are lots of people who want to see you fall…they want to see you stay down when you do (and you will…fall that is…unless you don’t try anything)…but who cares about them or their opinions? Ninety-nine percent of the time those people are envious of your courage to try, and try again…wishing they could be half as courageous but unwilling to risk, they sit back and hurl insults – they become the critics of everyone else…from the safety of their seat they “talk” of how they are experts…but reality is…they are not. Don’t listen to them…GET BACK UP!
I have been in environments where a “fall” is considered a “failure”…many times it is over-spiritualized by a dream or a suspicion…but every “fall” is not a “failure”…and every “fall” is not due to some spiritual short-coming. This scripture makes that clear;
“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” Proverbs 24:16
Notice…”the godly”…not the wicked…not the unrighteous…not the “I am sure there must be sin in your life or you wouldn’t have fallen”…but rather, the godly…and the godly, well, they get back up. GET BACK UP!
No matter what the situation is…if you have made gross errors in life or just missed the mark attempting something great…if you have fallen…GET BACK UP!
Sometimes you just gotta Execute the Excuse!
Excuses tend to make us lazy, they keep us from reaching our dreams or destiny. Excuses are the greatest assassins of aptitude and accountability. Excuses paralyze potential…sometimes permanently.
“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” -George Washington, American/1st U.S. President
As the old idiom declares; “we must become the judge, the jury, and the executioner“…of our excuses. It is your responsibility to change your life…no one else’s. It is your responsibility to chase your dream…no one else’s. It is your responsibility to have a great marriage…no one else’s. It is your responsibility to find joy, peace, and happiness…no one else’s.
The problem with excuses is that they tend to keep us from taking personal responsibility for our own life. You want to make more money…but, your boss doesn’t like you so you are stuck. We tell ourselves these things to numb the sting of reality. Reality is, you would like to make more money (who wouldn’t) but your inability to show up on time, your poor communication skills, your messy and disheveled desk, hair, and suit, your “milk the clock” mentality is what really holds you back. Take responsibility!
There are often good reasons for certain situations…and there can be grace. If someone shows up late that is never late…usually they are afforded a “get out of jail free” card…no consequence. A person who is a repeat offender – not so much. You must become the judge of what is a valid reason and what is simply an excuse.
The truly successful people are the ones who daily Execute the Excuses and take personal responsibility for their actions and outcomes. A great resource for those who want to learn how to live and function on a “no excuse” level is the book, “The Go-Getter” by Peter B. Kyne (you can purchase a copy here).
Track your excuses today…catch one and execute it! It feels great – once you execute the first one you will desire to do it again and again. Live life to the fullest…chase your dream…discover your destiny!
I saw this video today and felt the need to share it…Please feel free to comment:
Kill the “Wish” List! Sounds strong, I know, but hang with me for a moment.
The word wish means: to want; desire; or to long for.
Now, think for a moment about how you use the word “wish” or how you draw up your personal “wish list”.
Let me use myself as an example…I am working to kill the “wish” list mentality in my life. I am a singer, songwriter, musician…I can play multiple instruments (some more proficiently than others)…I taught myself how to play most of them. I used to say (quite frequently)…“I wish I could play the keys” (otherwise known as the piano but “keys” sounds cooler to me). This is a lie…and as long as I continue to declare it, I will never learn to play the keys. The fact is, I could learn to play the keys. After all, I taught myself to play guitar, bass, and drums…but because I have not made the keys a priority on my “to-do” list, well, I still don’t know how to play them and they remain on my “cop-out” list…aka “wish” list.
I have heard it said, and I believe it is true…“Proof of desire (wish) is pursuit” – translation: if I say I desire or wish for something, but never move to pursue that thing then I am simply lying to myself and using the phrase “I wish I ________” as a cop-out.
You are able to do the thing you wish for…but you must move it from your “wish” list to your “to-do” list…matter of fact, just Kill the “Wish” List altogether. If you really desire to do something…than prioritize your life to do it…stop making excuses…stop using cop-out phrases…get busy about doing it!
God Bless You!
“The greatest cause of ulcers is mountain-climbing over molehills.”
The worry has got to stop…it doesn’t help. Worry detracts from any and every possible solution…it never adds value to any situation. Worry is cancerous…meaning, it will eat you up and eventually kill you from the inside-out. It is a cycle, that for many, is out of control…viciously dictating the quality of their life. Stop the madness!
We, as a society, have become professional Mountain Climbers of Molehills. We take things that may need attention and turn them into a crisis situation in which worry and stress dictate the outcome. Many people wake up worried, get ready for their day worried, execute their tasks worried, unwind worried, and go to bed worried…worried about how they will repeat it all over again. People live in a habitual state of worry…it’s like they strap on their mountain climbing gear and keep it on so they can “Climb another Mountain”.
This quote says a lot about your worry:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” -Jesus Christ / Son of God, Prophet, King, Redeemer
In essence…the idea is…DON’T WORRY! Worry is an indication of a faith deficiency…that’s what Jesus said, in the midst of His dissertation of why not to worry, He clearly proposes a question directly connected to the idea…“Why do you have so little faith?”
I want to suggest a couple of ideas to kill the worry instead of the worry killing you.
1. Read your Bible (if you don’t own one…buy one…or download one for free here) If worry is a faith deficiency, which it is, then building your faith can help to diminish if not eliminate your worry. Romans 10:17 tells us; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
2. Read inspirational materials (books, blogs like this one, articles) We live in such an information age…there are so many tools available to help us overcome anything. Tools are no good in the tool shed…you gotta break them out and apply them. A good book that I am reading and I highly recommend is; “Today We Are Rich” by Tim Sanders…you can purchase it here.
3. Listen to inspirational materials (sermons, podcasts, music) Eliminate the worrisome media outlets…or at least minimize their effect. An occasional candy bar won’t kill ya…but a steady diet of candy bars more than likely will. Flip your mind diet…fill it with inspirational materials. Here is a message a good friend of mine, Pastor Israel Campbell, just ministered on “Worry Free Christianity”…take 50 minutes and listen:
God bless you!