Give It All You’ve Got – Even if You Come Up Short, You Still Win

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

I was watching my youngest grandkids the other day, simply amazed at how much they’ve learned. To hear them talk, to watch them play, to hear them sing complete songs and spell out words – it’s incredible what they’ve been able to master in such a short time.

I thought about those first days in school, when the teacher taught us the letters of the alphabet, to sound out simple words, and to add with our fingers. It was the basics of what we’d need to know to complete complex mathematical equations and read anything that’s put in front of us. Or even to sit at a computer at 6:00 in the morning and hammer out a mildly coherent motivational message.

We were proud of those accomplishments. I remember feeling pretty grown up at the ripe old age of 6. Because with every success, every little thing we learned, every little mistake we had to overcome, we learned a much more valuable lesson – there was absolutely nothing we couldn’t learn. It gave us the motivation to take on even bigger challenges. And look at us now.

In his book, The Miracle Equation, Hal Elrod makes a point our teachers knew way back in kindergarten … the purpose of a goal isn’t to accomplish that particular goal, but to become the kind of person who can accomplish any goal. Once you know how to add small numbers, you can add any set of numbers. Once you can sound out a few small words, there’s nothing you can’t read.

I’m sure the teacher’s goal wasn’t to make us memorize the multiplication tables as much as learning the mechanics of multiplication. They wanted us to know enough about how the process works that we could tackle any problem, and how to work any problem to the end. It formed the basis for areas of math I never really learned, but long after a building crumbles, the foundation is still there.

My first week in the Navy, we were taken to the gymnasium for a run. The goal was simple – we had to run for ten minutes. It didn’t matter how fast we ran. It didn’t matter how far. All they cared about was that our feet were moving in some kind of generally recognized running pattern for ten minutes.

Later in my training, distances and times became more important. But the whole purpose of that first exercise was to teach us how to run – to begin building the foundation of a person who could run any distance. And make no mistake, several of us couldn’t run the entire ten minutes. But along the way, we learned how to pace ourselves and work through those moments of sheer exhaustion.

Have you ever been given an impossible assignment – something you know you won’t be able to accomplish, but you still have to work like crazy anyway? Maybe you surprise yourself and beat the odds. Maybe you pull it off and accomplish the impossible. And maybe you don’t. But, along the way, you tapped into a couple of important characteristics – focus and determination.

It’s the same focus and determination that taught us the alphabet and how to perform simple addition. It’s the same focus and determination that taught us how to sing a song or play an instrument. Believe me, there is nothing “successful” about a person’s first attempts at playing a violin. It can literally wake the dead. But all that screeching helps them become the kind of person who can master one of the world’s most beautiful instruments.

When you tackle a goal, you flex those invisible muscles that allow you to accomplish any goal. You may not achieve your desired objective every time. But let’s say your goal was to build a house by a certain date, and when that date arrived, you’d completed everything but the roof. Would you stop? Or would you work even harder to finish what you’d started?

Every marathon runner knows the fastest two parts of the race are at the very beginning and the very end. You burst out of the gate, full of energy and conviction. As the race wears on, you’re not thinking about the end – you’re only focused on that next mile. But once the finish line is in sight, you get a burst of energy that pushes you to run a little faster toward that once elusive goal. You’ve made it!

Set goals for yourself – challenging goals. Work toward them as if failure isn’t an option. Give it everything you’ve got. You may come up a little short, and that’s okay. The work you’ve done still stands. And along the way, you’ve become the kind of person who can accomplish any goal. Success at anything you choose to do is no longer just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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