This morning, Shawn and I were going for a walk (I know, we’re trying to be those kind of people!) and suddenly we heard a sound pierce the stillness. To my untrained ears, I thought it was a crow and asked Shawn if he could see it. His reply? “That sound is one of the greatest joys possible.” Based on his response, instantly I knew my rookie mistake and realized it must be a bluejay. Immediately his mood was elevated and in his mind’s eye he was reliving past happy memories associated with hearing the bluejay’s call.
We all have moments like that, right? Smells, sounds and sights that evoke a strong emotional reaction. Maybe it’s the smell of cookies baking that remind us of Grandma’s house or a sunset that reminds us of a vacation we took. Immediately we are taken back in time, reliving that moment.
When life doesn’t go according to plan
But what if our memories aren’t happy ones? What if our past is troubled and filled with forgettable moments, and we’re crippled by our past interactions, relationships and experiences? What if we can only see the negative? We all know people who walk around with a cloud over their head. At any given time they can only focus on their potential problems, not their potential growth; those people that are naysayers regardless of the situation, who feel like life is out to get them. How do we avoid the trap of being stuck in this self-destructive cycle?
When life doesn’t go as planned, do we see an obstacle or an opportunity? Do we see a setback or a stepping stone? Ultimately, when we have a roadblock on the journey of life, do we see it as a fence or a gate?
Experience is a strong teacher. But does it limit our future potential? If experience shapes our perception, how much more important is it then for us to change our perception in order for us to shape our future?
Let that sink in for a minute. We need to change the perception of our past in order to shape the potential of our future. This growth mindset is integral. As Napolean Hill said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” If we want to achieve it, we have to first believe it! No matter what our past experiences are or what limitations we view in our path, we can soar new heights and work towards reaching our potential!
Conceive, believe and achieve
Recently our daughter Emma decided that she was going to join the cross-country team at school for the FIRST. TIME. EVER. This girl’s a gymnast, through and through. Whenever someone would bring up running, she would always make a derogatory comment about her abilities in this area and then follow it up with a bunch of excuses: I can’t run, I get tired, it’s too hard, it’s too far. Do any of these sound familiar? Despite her past negative experiences when it came to running, she decided to change her perspective. She made a goal for herself: she was going to join the cross-country team and participate in her first cross-country race. Not only did she attend weekly practices, she also practiced at home and last week she did it! She competed in her first ever cross-country meet and finished the race! It was cold, windy and rainy but it didn’t matter. This girl had set a goal and she was committed. But even more important than that, she had changed her perspective. She didn’t allow her past to dictate her future; instead she built the future that she envisioned for herself.
This morning when I heard the loud, incessant cry of a crow, Shawn heard the melodic call of a bluejay. So it is with life. We need to move past the perceptions that may be limiting us from reaching our potential, so that we can experience the joy that is there waiting. It’s worth it.
What perceptions have you had to move past in order for you to achieve success?