Owner's Corner: Third Quarter 2021
“Could I ask you something, mom?”
“Sure. What is it?”
“In your life, which two people do you want to make the most proud?”
“There are so many! Only two?”
After several moments of deliberation and thought, I responded, “My mom and dad???”
“Nope! The correct answer is yourself at 8 years old and yourself at 80 years old. You should make your 8-year-old self think that you’re having an awesome life and your 80-year-old self should be convinced that your life was worthwhile.”
Cut back to me- speechless and awe-struck by the wise insight coming from my 12-year-old. Where did this come from? Did he learn it on TikTok?
I’m snapped out of my daze of silence when he asks, “How would they think of you?”
This required a deep, thoughtful breath. I answered, “For my 8-year-old self, I guess she would think that I’ve had some cool adventures and traveled to interesting places.”
“How about your 80-year-old self? What would she think?”
“Oh my. That’s more difficult to answer.”
“Thanks okay! You won’t have to have that one figured out for another 40 years.”
What can I say? He was absolutely right and there I stood, astounded.
This year, for those of you who didn’t do the math, I turned 40. In all honesty, I dreaded the prospect of entering this new decade even though, in hindsight, I don’t feel all that different physically. All the while, I do feel as though I’ve changed in a mental sense, but it’s a change for the better. As they say, with age comes wisdom, which ultimately generates increased confidence as a result of more lessons learned.
You might want to roll your eyes at me for preaching when I only have 40 years under my belt, but there’s a chance that you might be in a similar position as me. Either way, I have five sentiments that I’ve picked up along the way and would like to share. In reality, it’s rare that I fulfill all of these on any given day, but if I average even one, I think that my 80-year-old self would be fairly impressed when she reflects back on her life.
- “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – A famous rockstar once sang, “It don’t come easy.” Anything worthwhile usually requires at least a little bit of elbow grease.
- “Do What Scares You Until it Doesn’t” – I devoted a whole blog to this topic last year. It’s important to recognize that many people attempt various endeavors and find success. Remember- if they can do it, you can too! Failure is always daunting, but one day, you’ll find that what once scared you isn’t so scary anymore.
- “Be the Buffalo” – Are you familiar with this metaphor? Cows and buffaloes face danger as it approaches in two very different ways. Buffaloes take off, running towards the storm, while cows run away in the opposite direction. The cow’s method isn’t helpful, as it can’t outrun the storm and painful frustration is the only outcome. What can we learn from the cow and the buffalo? Deal with problems directly as they arise instead of prolonging your suffering by running away from them.
- “It takes twice as long to build bridges you’ve burnt” – My sister and I found ourselves in a nasty argument on Christmas day in 1988 and the punishment that our mother gave me involved writing the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” no less than one hundred times. Many people, including myself, have burned bridges in their time. Afterwards, you can’t help but replay moments back on repeat in your head, hoping that you could hop in a time machine and change the course of events. What you learn from those situations is to face difficult circumstances with empathy, honesty, and complete transparency. Weight will be lifted from your shoulders and peace of mind will come to you if you keep the Golden Rule close to your heart.
- “No one wears the jersey of a Monday Morning Quarterback” – I recently read about “The Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt. One of his main ideas is that you can find critics pretty much everywhere, but it’s unfair to critique another person without having any idea of their situation. The real heroes are those who defy the “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” and, instead, decide to continue attempting, failing, inventing, and picking themselves up no matter what happens. Who do you want to be?
I tend to come across the words that I need to hear most when I’m least expecting it. This blog has been, on a small-scale, my means of paying it forward. I’d consider it a success if even one person walked away with a new perspective to consider.
When you think about impressing your 80-year-old self, what sentiments inspire you to become the best version of yourself that you can be? I’d love to know.