Abolishing Limiting Beliefs: Achieve The “Impossible”

From the beginning of our lives we learn a lot of things knowingly and unknowingly. What and how we learn influences our belief system and worldview. How our personal belief is shaped varies and is greatly influenced (but not determined) by our culture, family life, social groups, genetics etc.

In a way, this cultivation process basically develops and shapes the way we perceive ourselves, others, and the world.

Sadly, at times what we have learned and how we come to see ourselves is limiting. We hold these limiting beliefs as unalterable and accept them as fact when in reality we are capable of so much more than we initially believe or were taught we could do.

Still, people hold onto their beliefs as though they are etched in stone, unable or unwilling to see beyond their mortal viewpoint. Not to be too metaphysical, but what we see and understand with our senses is not all that there is to reality (that is blog in and of itself).

Many simply buy into their limiting belief system and see the influences of  environment, resources, genetics, wiring of their brain, etc. as determining factors. Thus doing little or nothing to stretch their perspective to grow beyond themselves.

I will be the first to admit I have fallen into the trap of accepting external influences as fact, and that there is nothing I nor anyone else can do about it.  But! I would also be the first to say that abolishing limiting beliefs is exhilarating!

So face your limiting beliefs head on and tell yourself the “Impossible” is possible. There are great movies and epic stories of great magnitude that have this theme:

It’s inspiring to hear stories of individuals who have dared to see beyond their personal limiting belief system and change. It is exciting to hear about those willing to see beyond their limiting beliefs or a cultural norm and how they changed the world.

flightLook at the Wright brothers! How absurd would it have been if years before their first flight someone had implied that machines would be able to carry 100s of people from New York to San Francisco in less then 6 hours through the air. “Impossible!” is what they would have said. “Never going to happen,” is what you would have heard. Yet here we are, living the impossible and seeing the impossible be possible simply because two brothers believed flight was possible.

There is a sense of liberty and empowerment when one goes beyond that which is believed to be impossible and accomplishes it—abolishing limiting beliefs!

You can research the other stories listed above yourself, but I am going to invite you to honestly evaluate yourself and abolish your own limiting beliefs!

Norman V. Peale once said “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own power you can’t be successful or happy.”


Character: “We have to build it piece by piece”

At a small town school called Union High School, the football team scrambles in for what they think is a debrief from their game. Instead of the typical review of game footage, the head coach Matt Labrum, had a much more important game plan in mind. With a pre-written letter in hand for every player he marched into the room where his players awaited him.

He barged in the room with the fury only a football coach can display—not due to the loss of the game or the breakdown of the plays, but because of the breakdown of the personal character of his student-athletes.

He demanded all of the player’s jerseys. They were ALL suspended for participating in cyberbullying, having poor academic discipline, and being disrespectful to the teachers with overall lack of character. They weren’t able to earn their spot back on the team until they fulfilled the criteria outlined in Coach Labrum’s letter.

The letter required the students to attend required study halls instead of practice, take a character development class, and do service for their families, the elderly, and the community to practice other skills.

The letter explained that “Humbleness, thankfulness, humility, respect, courage, and honor are much more important than winning ballgames. We can achieve both if we act with others’ feelings in mind and focus on how we can make someone else’s day instead of just being wrapped up in ourselves.” The Coach continued

“WHEN WE ARE WORKING ON THIS AND ACHIEVING IT, WE WILL BE MOLDING OUR CHARACTER IN A POSITIVE WAY! Right now we are way off as a collective group. We want change and are going to make changes now.”

Coach Labrum’s letter came to a conclusion with a quote by John Luther that all 80 students were required to memorize by Wednesday night to earn their jerseys back to play in the homecoming game.

The quote reads:

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talent is to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece—through choice, courage and determination.”

We currently live in a world where success, a charming personality, and reputation are king and seen as more important then character. When we live in a me-centered society character and principles take a backseat; being torn down by blame shifting and justification of situational ethics.

I give props to Coach Labrum, for he lives Woodward’s resolution to choose character over reputation whenever they conflict. Most players finished the required tasks and earned their jerseys back. Due to the service projects and study halls they didn’t practice much football that week and lost their homecoming game 41 to 21. They practiced other skills and learned other lessons instead.

I invite you to, as Jim Collins puts it in his book Good to Great, “confront brutal reality” with an honest and real evaluation of your character:

  • Are you internally building personal character or are you living by the morals and personality of prime time T.V.?
  • Are you striving daily for excellence or going down the path of mediocrity like my previous jellyfish post?
  • Do you have the courage to do the right thing despite what others may think of you?

However you answer these questions, I beseech you to build your character even more “piece by piece” through conscious effort. Our communities NEED more people of character and honor and less of superficial, egocentric, shallow personalities that care more about outward looks and reputation than integrity and courage.

Like another great football coach, Vince Lombardi, once said “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Resolve today to choose character over reputation whenever they conflict!

First Things First—Hard Things First

When it comes to personal development and being a leader and entrepreneur, it is important to use your Adversity Quotient (AQ). Like many others I have been fascinated by the concept of mental toughness. More recently I have been introduced to the AQ which is much the same concept. The concept of AQ is a spinoff of IQ (Intelligent Quotient). In fact, the formula for Adversity Quotient is AQ = IQ (Intelligent Quotient) + EQ (Emotional Quotient) x WQ (Will Quotient).  Your ability to be mentally tough in the face of adversity is related to your level of intelligence and your ability to handle your emotions with a willingness to push on.  

Developing this state of different types of quotients may take many avenues to develop, but here is one thing you can do right now in this moment to work on developing your AQ.

First Things First—Hard Things First 

hard thingsBy doing hard things first you can develop, as Vince Lambardi famous NFL coach, put it the “disciplined will refuses to give in.” It is human nature to avoid hard things. I do not believe I need to provide much evidence for you to know that statement is true. However, there are rewards or reinforcements for avoiding hard things. In fact, when I was in school, the culture taught that success was defined by doing the least amount of schoolwork for the highest grade. (yep, in high school I was ignorant enough to buy into that idea). Doing hard things first will help you break out of the bounds of normalcy, what seems natural, and/or the mediocrity of human nature. In fact, the ironic thing is those who avoid the hard things end up under more pressure and stress. On the other hand, when you do hard things first it motivates you, and you feel like you have accomplished great things. That sense of achievement will help you as you take on the next hard thing and before you know it you will have a “snowball effect” on your hands. At first when you start to roll a snowball it starts out small but the more ground it covers the bigger it gets and the more snow collects on it.

snowApplication: Make a list of things you need to accomplish tomorrow or for the week, pick the hard thing and rank the rest of the tasks you need to do in order of hardness and then start at the top of list and work on down. You will begin to see the snowball effect. When going to workout, start with the hardest workout first—target your weaknesses. Remember the words of Fred Devito “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” When doing the hard things first you will begin to improve your AQ.

The IT factor. The Intangible. The Power of AND!!!

In today’s world there is a specialist for almost everything from a foot doctor (Podiatrist) to an auto mechanic who only works on transmissions. Having specialties has benefited the western world and it has its place. It has improved people’s quality of life by dividing the workload into manageable parts and has created some interesting advances in particular fields. Nevertheless, there are some downsides to this culture of specialists.


Two prize oxen pulled almost a 1/3 more weight together then the sum of their individual efforts alone

As a result of specialized culture there is a compartmentalization mentality that lacks a wholeness. From wholeness comes the possibilities of synergy. Synergy is the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Let me explain this some more by giving an example of a story my dad once told me. A bunch of oxen were entered in a contest to see which ox could pull the most weight. The top ox pulled 9,000 pounds the next top ox pulled just shy of the prize amount of 9,000 pounds. Well, later in the day a few of the people got into a debate on how much the top two beasts could pull together. Some where saying 18,000 since 9,000 + 9,000 = 18,000 right? Well, the only way to know was to hook them up and find out. Together they pulled 26,000 pounds! That’s the power of synergy, and is essential to developing the it factor and other intangible qualities.

Its pretty simple to see synergy in a team setting, for example, Ray Kroc started up the franchising of McDonald in the 1950’s. Kroc knew his best ideas would not come from him only nor his corporate leaders but also from the franchise owners. He asked and listened to their ideas and suggestions. From this synergistic team/bottoms-ups approach came McDonald’s best selling items like the Big Mac, the Egg McMuffin, and the Filet-O-Fish. Still, understanding the team approach leaves one wondering, “How do I develop personal synergy?”

Steven Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, explained that there are four domains that you can find throughout literature, psychology, character development materials, and life. These domains are physical fitness, education, relationships with others, and spirituality. Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, the authors of Launching a Leadership Revolution, explain in their seminars and teachings that there are 8 areas that need to be focused on for personal growth in order to create a well-rounded leader and person. They are known as the 8Fs: faith, family, finances, fitness, freedom, friends, following, and fun. Only focusing on one area and neglecting the others comes at a cost and is detrimental for an individual. In order to build the intangibles, the it factor, you need to build yourself in breadth and depth of these areas.

Let us look at Woodward and Brady’s 8Fs (because the more the better right? And it seems just an extension of Covey’s four domains). Each domain correlates and magnifies each other—synergistically. Thus, allowing greater production and output then if it stood alone. If you have all the money in the world (finances) but do not have any time or have poor health (fitness) the money really is not as relevant. Or if you’re a really successful boss at work but at the cost of degrading family relationships, your life as a whole is going to be in disarray and shambles. Take it from J Paul Getty, a billionaire with a handful of divorces who said, “I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.”

As you have a well-rounded and balanced life in these domains, you will see the power of AND come out. You become a great leader and a good parent and a superb spouse and wise with money and… you get the point. Therefore the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—that’s how you get the personal intangibles and develop the it factor.

Many athletes and leaders seem to miss the power of AND, merely focusing only on their sports or area of expertise. Although they markedly work in one or two of these domains; they work minimally on a few areas and sometimes neglecting others altogether. This crucial mistake creates head cases and mentally weak “leaders” who crumble at crunch time due to the lack of the breadth and depth in their lives.

“CrossFit is not who I am, but what I do.” And I might add its not the only thing I do. You are only going to have the synergy quality that comes with the power of AND as you are well rounded in your Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Freedom, Following, Friends, and Fun. What is your weak link in the 8Fs? Work on it and begin to see the intangible qualities that come from the power of AND.

I most recently watched a video about a CrossFit athlete who seemed to only do fitness activities. I love working out and, in fact I love CrossFit, but not to the degree of this girl. She seemed to stress about her times, the number of reps, and was disappointed in herself to the point of anxiety and distress. This person’s life was so uni-dimensional that her identity was not separated from fitness. She was being competitive not to win but to cover her self-image, protect her ego, and protect her self-esteem. She was mentally weak because there was no depth and breadth in the other 8F domains mentioned above.

One individual who is a great example of the power of AND and is multidimensional is Tim Tebow. IF you look into his life he has a great Faith, and wonderful family relationships, and using his money to build a 3 million dollar hospital in a 3rd world country, and he fit, and he is a great leader, and…you get the point.

Tim was known for putting scriptures reference out for all to see!

Tim was known for putting scriptures reference out for all to see!

During Tebow’s freshmen year he helped the Florida Gators go to the national championship game. Hardly ever has a freshmen quarterback taken a team to the national championship. That alone is impressive. However, during the media day before the game a news reporter ask Tebow about the pressure of being a freshmen quarterback in a national championship game. Tebow’s response showed his breadth and depth. Remember he was only 18 years old at this time in his life. He explained that it was not pressure, this is was fun! He compared the stress of a football game to his service at his father’s orphanage and missionary work in the Philippines. He told the reporter something like, “Pressure is waking up not knowing where your next meal is going to come from or how you’re going to feed your family. That is pressure.”

Tim did not only specialize in football, but is a well rounded in many of the 8Fs who got drafted in the first round in the NFL as a quarterback, not because of his throwing abilities, but because of his intangible qualities. He was predicted by a lot of experts to not to go in the 1st round due to his poor throwing mechanics. Still, despite the nay Sayers we was pick up more for his leadership qualities. During his second season with the Denver Broncos Tebow got his changes to start. During this time he had more come from behind wins, 4th quarter come-backs, from greater deficit then the Denver Bronco’s legendary John Elway. His plays was magnificent the shocking. He was truly the come back kids! The ability to come through in crunch time comes from his breadth and depth of a multifaceted life–the synergy that comes for the power of AND!

A Mission Driven Life and Jellyfish

Do you have a mission driven life?

I remember earlier this year I went to an Aquarium in the L.A. area with the school that I work for. In this aquarium were fish, sea stars, sharks, turtles, crabs etc. But the most interesting creature there, to me, was the jellyfish.

The joys of hands on learning ;)

The joys of hands on learning 😉

The jellyfish was in a round and circular tank. Whereas, most of the other tanks were your typical rectangle shape. One of the students and I asked an Attending Researcher why the jellyfish tank was shaped different from the others, which was followed by several other questions by this student and me. Here is a brief summary of what we learned that day.

Jellyfish have no brain. In fact, the opening and closing of their bell is just an instinctive response to movement around them in order to increase its chances of finding food. They literally are at the mercy of the waves of the sea for where they travel. In captivity jellyfish are put in round aquariums because if kept in a regular boxy tank they will get trapped in one of the corners and die–rubbing its fragile tissue to the point of disintegration on the walls of the aquarium.

jellyfishI walked away from this conversation with the researcher in contemplation about these brainless creatures. The jellyfish are basically dependent on the directions of the waves of the sea, and its only contribution to its own movement is merely an instinctive response. I just could not help but think of the parallels of the lives of these jellyfish and the way some people conduct their lives.

You and I have both met people who live their lives like these jellyfish. They are tossed to and fro by the emotional waves of a given situation, extremely dependent on external forces. They simply respond to their instinctive drives in an aimless direction. They need a “specialized aquarium” or their surroundings to be “happy.” And then they wonder why their lives feel so empty,  depressed, and lacking content in their lives.

We as humans were meant and designed for so much more then living like jellyfish. WE are bigger than our problems AND we have a specific mission in life!  Victor Frankl wrote in the afterwards of the 1998 edition of Man Search for Meaning “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”

Steven Covey sees it the same way as Frankl and explained that our mission or “concrete assignment” is something that we uncover and discover rather then create.

Individuals that do not know or live true to their mission are tossed to and fro with any direction or whim of emotions. They do not know what to say yes to and what to say no to in order to fulfill their mission. They are more susceptible to filling their lives with stuff to cover the void. I wonder if more Americans are living this jellyfish life then we think. Many Americans of today are in large amounts of debt, overweight, and consume more anti-depressants when comparing them to previous generations.

Why? Because they have not exerted themselves to uncover their God-given purpose. Their lives are not congruent with what they were designed or meant to do. Only through striving to fill their specific assignment and mission will a person find meaning and purpose in life.

How do we find our purpose? Victor Frankl said in his book The Doctor and the Soul “In our opinion we have here an essential characteristic of the religious man: he is a man who interprets his existence not only in terms of being responsible for fulfilling his life tasks, but also as being responsible to the taskmaster.” Huh? We get our purpose from God? I guess it’s not surprising when we look at it like that. There are so many people that have jellyfish lives. It is because we are not just the most self-medicated and comfort food eating group of Americans; I would venture to say we are the most reluctant group of Americans to acknowledge God in our lives due to the desire to be politically correct. I will personally admit that I used to be reluctant, but now I am going say it simply and logically, what the next step to finding our mission? Ask God. What is your specific task–your mission? He will tell you, and it will be clear. In fact, He has already been trying to tell you, but you are most likely not in tune to hearing it or unwilling to hear it.

Once you have a mission driven life, it will become easier to decide what you are going to do and not do because your choices will get you closer to completing your tasks or further away.  Also, you will have fulfillment and meaning in your life regardless of your circumstances because you know great things do not happen without discomfort and trials at times. You then become bigger then your problems. You face adversity from a position of strength because you know that God ONLY gives an assignment that he is willing to support and help you with. Because someone with a mission driven life does not want to go back to the meaningless life of a jellyfish.

A mission driven life is much the opposite of what Frankl wrote: “There is something particularly pitiable about the man whose faith in the meaningfulness of his own existence totters in a…crisis. He has been left without moral reserves. He lacks the spiritual fiber.” and as a result of lacking this spiritual fiber Frankl continued “…he is unable in difficult times to ‘take’ the blows of fate and to set his own strength against them. He is left morally unarmed and unarmored, prey to the full terror inherent in the concept of fate.” Much like the jellyfish. In conclusion: have a mission driven life and don’t be a jellyfish!

Avoiding Self-Deception & Stagnation

Those who have refined this are more successful and happy and those who haven’t aren’t:

The book How to Win Friends and Influence People tells the story of a man called “Two Gun Crowley” who had barricaded himself in a New York apartment while 150 to 300 cops and detectives laid siege on him. Why was Crowley in this situation? Well, the police commissioner said, at a press conference, that Two Gun Crowley was one of the most dangerous criminals and would kill “at the drop of a feather.”

A short time before the siege, Crowley shot and killed a police officer after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop. No warning! Nothing! Shot and killed the young officer in cold blood, and this was not the first time Crowley had shot someone. It’s pretty clear how dangerous he was to the public. Yet, it’s important to note how Crowley viewed himself.

Two Gun

The look of self-deception

At the end of the siege Crowley opened fire on the cops exchanging bullets for hours. During the siege he wrote a note that gives insight into how he viewed himself. It said, “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one–one that would do nobody harm.”

What!?!? That statement is just oozing with self-deception and justification.  Hours after killing someone he wrote, “I would do nobody any harm.” Why is there such a deception between reality and Crowley’s personal view?

Although this is an extreme example, people get trapped in justification, pushing blame on others, and avoiding personal accountability. It reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote:”When a man is getting better he understands more clearly the evil that is still left in him…A moderately bad man knows he is not very good, and a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.” Cowley seemed to think he was never in the wrong. He had even been quoted to say after being sentenced to the electric chair, “This is what I get for defending myself.”

Today’s culture values the facade of how something or someone appears to be than what it really is. This drive to protect one’s image, ego or reputation comes at a great price–stagnation in their personal growth and self-deception.

Through brutally honest evaluation people can evaluate their mistakes and weaknesses in order to turn the problem into an opportunity to grow. Furthermore, through identifying and accepting our personal weaknesses and faults will our life results change.

I once went to a training seminar on a therapy model called DBT. As we learned new skills and practiced them it was easy to feel awkward, clumsy, and vulnerable. I think in an attempt to help us trainees see the purpose in our discomfort the trainers had a little saying they would share, “Do you want to look good or be good?”

This mantra is great because it took the focus off the spirit of performance and on the mastering of unfamiliar skills. Stephen Covey explained that this focus on personality instead on principles and character is one of the issues stagnating leadership and self growth.

Orrin Woodward in his book Resolved quotes a guy who gave a speech to Harvard Business School entitled, “Why Harvard Can’t Teach Ethics.” The speaker Chuck Colson said, “I expected a riot after my 45-minute talk in a packed lecture hall. But the students were docile; I didn’t hear a single good question. Were the students so unfamiliar with moral philosophy they didn’t know enough to challenge me? I left Harvard worried. What would happen to these students when they became leaders of American business? One of the students at Harvard during that period was Jeffery Skilling, the now-discredited former Enron CEO.

Enron’s collapse exposes the glaring failure of the academy. Ethics historically rests on the absolute truth, which these institutions have systematically assaulted for four decades.”

The Buck PausesEnron’s deceitful Skilling and Two Gun Cowley fell into the trap of justifying their behaviors using situational ethics to make their decisions “appear right” and justified themselves “to feel good” in breaking absolute truth. Although there are not always immediate consequences for justifying, in the long haul they fell short of what was really desired. Why? Because they avoided looking in the mirror and saying, “What I am doing is wrong, I made a mistake.” Instead they most likely said, “I am above that and I am always right.” Cowley didn’t become a killer overnight. Skilling didn’t cook his books in one afternoon.  Both got there by telling themselves little lies and justifying their actions–therefore slanting the truth blurring fantasy based thinking with reality. Little by little they most likely tricked themselves to where they could not see the cause and effect of their choices. This inability to take accountability and responsibility for their actions, and thus avoiding necessary adjustments, lead Skilling to make one of the largest white collar crimes ever, and Two Gun Cowley to make the distorted statement that “[I] would do nobody any harm.”

The sad truth is that many have fallen for this same type of justification. We live in a world that turns from absolute truth and preaches that life is amoral and there is no definite right or wrong. How sad! C.S. Lewis said “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” When we look ourselves in the mirror we need to see our crooked lines and strive to align them with absolute truth (the straight lines) by outdoing our yesterdays with today.

Dell’s Former CEO, Kevin Rollins, took this approach owning up for his part of the problem. After not reaching expected production that lead to an estimated loss of several hundred million dollars during the 2nd quarter in 2005. Rollins made statements much different then Skilling, who skewed the numbers to show profits in Enron’s book. Rollins said at the press conference, “Frankly, we executed poorly on managing overall selling prices.” What?!? He took accountability for a multimillion dollar issue? Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward said in their book Launching a Leadership Revolution, “Properly defining a problem is the biggest part of solving it.” This is not the first time Rollins showed his desire to strive for excellence by properly defining the problem.

The Buck Stops Here We are losing the art of building men and women of character today. It is not uncommon to know, see, or hear of individuals that justify their actions to protect their reputation. The saddest thing of this poor practice is that this type of behavior leads to more justification. Stephen Covey taught that whenever we see the problem outside of us, that is the problem! This leads to a cycle of poor results. I think it is about time for us to say, “I made a mistake.” Let’s turn the mistake into a learning opportunity, and stop making excuses. Let us grow beyond ourselves, so we can be ourselves.

Determine Your Legacy

Many of us want to have a legacy. In fact, I’ve even worked with youth for years at both boarding schools and residential treatment centers who want to. I’ve heard students say with declaration and a sincere desire that they want to leave a legacy after they leave or graduate from the school or facility.

Erik Erikson, a famous developmental psychologist, explained in one of his psychosocial developmental stages about the natural drive to leave a legacy—being generative and not stagnate. This desire is rooted in caring for the next generation and being remembered in a significant way. Let me ask you this…

How do you want to remember yourself years down the road?

How do you want to be remembered by your family?

How do you want to be remembered by your children?

How do you want to be remembered by your community?

I think these are important questions to keep in the front of your mind. In so doing, you can then be intentional with the legacy you create. By being intentional and beginning with an end in mind, you can make the imperative decisions of what to say yes to and what to say no to in creating your legacy or vision.

Former Dean of the Harvard College of Business, Dr. Kim B. Clark, spends an hour a day writing a book. It’s not a book to be published for the world to see, or to gain more publishing notoriety for Harvard. (Although he did do that type of writing too.) This book is for his children and grandchildren! As he reads from the Bible and other Scriptures he writes his thoughts and commentary on the written works; now that’s intentionally building a legacy! Here is a man that worked for one of the most prestigious business colleges in the world, where the demands of publishing are really high to keep his employment, and he spent the little free time he did have to write a book about something very special to him.

On the other hand, John Maynard Keynes, the father of Keynesian economics, seemed to have left a different type of legacy. His economic policies addressed issues with only a here-and-now mentality. Only leaving a mirage of “help,” avoiding the deeper issues, not making the necessary adjustments for long term economic success. In fact, his policies and ideals make economic issues a great problem for future generations to fix. Simply passing the buck on to the next generation leaving the burden of debt and economic hardship on later generations. When questioned about the shortcomings of Keynesian economics he replied “In the long run, we are all dead.” With his response I have often wondered what Keynes’ relationship was with his kids, if he had any, or with is parents. Maybe they were all just fine, but that is a pretty lousy legacy to leave on the next generation.

One night my wife asked me a poignant question. Her question made me search internally and really think. The question went something like this “What do you want our kids to remember about us years down the road?” I honestly never thought about that before. I did not know how to answer her. At that time I was not intentional with that area in my life, and did not know the answer to her question. The answer did not come until some weeks later while I was at church.

To whom I intentionally build my legacy. For whom are you building your legacy?

To whom I intentionally build my legacy. For whom are you building your legacy?

I remembered some research I had read years back on resiliency. (The personal quality to go through hardships, recover quickly virtually and/or seemly unscathed and climb onto the prosperous course of success.) It talked about children who were resilient as oppose to others that allowed difficulties to hedge up their way, become bitter, and stagnate. Seeming to alter their course due to hardships or trauma, and begin going down the path in life that is less effective, depressive, and a destructive course.

Well, the resiliency research is interesting and informative, but the points I reflected on were how one develops this quality, why others do not, and what predicts resilient behaviors. One of the essential elements or ingredients of building resiliency in individuals is that they have at least one person (but more is better) that they look to up to—”the apple of their eye”, their mentor, someone they were securely attached to, a role model, etc. I determined in that moment, and made the intentional decision that I wanted to be one of those people in my children’s lives.

Maybe I would have aimlessly become that person in their lives, but if I strive for that relationship I will do a better job. That is why it is so important to determine now what legacy I want to leave for them and not later.

When I think of resiliency, I think of my good friend Quinton from graduate school. From hearing his life story he’s had it tough.  I mean the hard knock life. He did not have much financial resources. He was raised by his great grandparents. He never met his dad. But he does not let that stop him from achieving his dreams even though he had excuses in the world not to push through his trials. Still, he used football to go to college, and coaches others not to let football use them. He is a man of great courage going where no one in his family has ever gone before—finishing college, eventually getting his Masters degree and is working on his Ph.D. He attributes his success in overcoming great obstacles to his great friends, mentors, and God—the crux of resiliency in his relationships. I have to say I am proud of this man! Now I see pictures of him with the next generation on Facebook, helping them to overcome similar obstacles. This man has drunk out of the bitter cup but did not become bitter. He is passing that gift to the next generation. Today, determine your legacy intentionally. Leave the world a better place than you found it!

Leave a comment and let me know what type of Legacy you are going to leave?