Just Stay in the Game!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I have two different routes I take on the way home from work each day, depending on what time I leave. Okay, I haven’t even left for work yet and I’m already thinking about how I get home. My manager probably won’t be too impressed by that but bear with me. There’s a point and it’s not how quickly I can end my day and get out of there.

As I said, I have two routes. There’s the express route, a six-lane highway that everybody else seems to find convenient as well. If I get out early enough and beat the traffic, that’s the easiest way to go. But lately, “early enough” doesn’t seem to be quite … well, early enough. I guess a few other people have caught onto that trick.

My other route takes me through residential areas and small country roads which, by coincidence, are right along the path of a huge tornado just a few weeks ago. There’s a lot of devastation along that route, and the last thing I want to do is get in the way of the cleanup. They’ll be at it for months.

But even in the few short weeks since the storm rolled through, a lot of the damage has been removed and reconstruction is well underway. Power lines are back up, stores are open again (for the most part), and people are back in what’s left of their homes. Blue tarps cover a lot of the buildings, and downed trees still dominate the landscape. But slowly, life is getting back to normal.

There’s a professional restoration service specializing in disaster cleanup whose slogan is, “Like it never even happened.” That’s a comforting thought, and I’m sure there comes a point where the visual reminders are largely gone. But there’s more to rebuilding than putting things back the way they were. The emotional restoration can take a lot more time and effort.

I’m sure nobody went to bed that night thinking they’d be awakened to the sound of tornado sirens, or that, before midnight, they would be standing outside what’s left of their home checking one another for injuries. Life has a way of throwing us a knuckleball now and then, and they tend to come without warning. One minute we’re on top of the world, and the next we’re fighting to survive.

Thankfully, most of life’s ups and downs aren’t quite that severe. You have a bad day at work, or the kids are being especially disobedient. The car has a flat tire, the power goes out, or the weed-eater won’t start. That last one happens a lot. Any one of these things can stress you out and take the smile off your face. But in the overall scheme of things, they’re pretty minor.

And all it takes is a small change, and the problem is gone, like it never even happened. Your day at work ends and traffic is light for a change. The kids give you a hug and tell you they love you. The spare tire is on, the power comes back up, and the weed-eater starts. All the frustration is behind you and you get back to whatever it was you were doing, without giving it another thought.

It’s too bad we can’t dust ourselves off so easily when it comes to other things … things that are probably just as important, if not more, but that we tend to take much more personally. Relationships would be at the top of that list. “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.” Okay, but if what you’ve “forgiven” keeps coming to the surface, odds are you’re still not quite there.

And we do the same thing with ourselves. We try something new, only to fall flat on our face. Whether it’s a new skill, a new business, a new job, or simply a new way home from work, we don’t go into anything expecting to fail. If we did, we’d never even try. That makes it all the harder when we do fail. Instead of learning from the experience, we beat ourselves up for even trying.

Success isn’t about avoiding failure. It’s about looking failure in the eye and saying, “I’m not afraid of you.” It’s about picking up the pieces when things go wrong and coming back even stronger. It’s about taking a look at what went wrong, and then turning your attention back to the goal. It’s about refusing to be beaten by something you didn’t even want in the first place.

Life isn’t always kind, and anything worth having will undoubtedly present some challenges along the way. But success isn’t about avoiding challenges – it’s about overcoming them. Keep your eye on the goal and never give up. You can do this!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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