The will to succeed…

February 2, 2015

“Winning isn’t everything, Charlie Brown.”  “That’s true, but losing isn’t anything.”  (Linus and Charlie philosophizing) – As seen on the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

I guess it’s no surprise to see quotes about winning and losing the day after the Super Bowl. I watched the first half of that game, but couldn’t stay up for the rest, which apparently turned out to be a very good game. But, in any game like that someone or some team will football helmetemerge the “winner” and the other side will be labeled the “loser.” That’s too bad, since both teams gave it their all and in the process provided some great entertainment for millions of people.

Jack went on to write in his blog – Vince Lombardi didn’t say, “Winning is the only thing!”  He said, “The will to win is the only thing.”  So much emphasis these days is placed on winning or losing in sports or just in the everyday events of life.  Today’s “Vince” might say, “The main thing is the will to succeed!” …and that can happen in winning and also in losing.

That is so true. I have written here before about the benefits of learning from your mistakes or losses in life. In fact, learning how to deal with losses and how to learn and get better from them is one of life’s most important lessons; which, unfortunately, many never learn. Certainly you don’t see the losers cheering and celebrating in their locker room with Champagne. Instead you quite often see bowed heads and tears. As a temporary display of disappointment that is understandable; however, it should not be allowed to descend into attitudes of failure. The effort it took to get to that big game by both teams was and is commendable and should be recognized by everyone, including the players who were not on the winning team. Both teams had and have the will to succeed and that makes everyone on both teams winners.

Do you have the will to win? In everyday life that “will” might manifest itsingle momself in the drive to get up and go to the gym every morning before work (or after work) or it might be the discipline to get that homework done before watching TV or playing a video game. Sometimes it’s just the will not to be beaten down by the trials that life hands you. When I think of the everyday winners that I’ve met or heard about, I think of the many single moms raising a family by themselves and wonder at their will to win, not for themselves so much as for their children.  I also think of the caregivers, especially those caring for a loved one who can no longer even recognize them, but who have the will to continue trying to make their lives safe, secure and as caregiver“normal” as can be. And then there are those who leave the safety and security of this country to travel to foreign lands to help the children there find a place to live and to learn. They have a will to win in the face of overwhelming odds that will carry them through the trials that they face

Most of us will never be on a team in the Super Bowl or chose to take on the challenges of a missionary caregiver; but many will have the opportunity to provide care and comfort to aging parents or perhaps take on the challenges involved in providing foster care for children in need. Some never get to go to foreign lands to help, but work tirelessly here to be able to send things that will help make life better for children there. Whatever the level caregiver handsof service to others that we take on, it is important to have that will to succeed. Sometimes that means taking the time to quietly ask for help in a moment of prayer. There could be no better coach for your team than the One who will answer those prayers. We’re all winners when we play on that team.

Have a great week ahead. Be successful. Help is just a prayer away.

Don’t worry, be grateful…

February 1, 2015

Don’t worry, be grateful….

Don’t worry, be grateful…

February 1, 2015

“My life isn’t perfect, but I am grateful.”  (Unknown) – from a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

One can take this as it is and do a riff on how we should be grateful just to be alive, and I am, by the way. However; one could mentally substitute the word “and” in place of the word “but” and launch off on a whole different take on things, which of course is what I’m going to do.

As I get older the original meaning of this little saying becomes more important to me. Each new day is a gift of more time here with friends and family and the other things (not necessarily possessions) that I have had the time to grow to appreciate.  The extra time alsothinking woman is more enjoyable because I have come to realize that what makes like so interesting and precious is the fact that it’s not perfect and that dealing with those imperfections requires attention, creativity and problem solving skills. Out of the need to deal with the imperfections of life come adventure, excitement, and passion.

Almost everything that happens to us in life somehow involves another human being – someone who did something or didn’t do something that caused a problem or elicits a reaction.  Of course there are calamities (imperfections on a large scale) that are caused not by people, but rather by nature – storms and floods and earthquakes and such. And sometimes the things that we count on in life just break or stop working and that can be an annoying imperfection in life.

However, the real gut-wrenching imperfections tend to involve relationships with other people. Dealing with natural calamities or the happenstance of the stuff around us not arguingworking as it should is at least more straightforward – it is what it is and we have to deal with it. The imperfections that are caused by strained or failed relationships are a bit harder to deal with, mainly because we must have played some role in whatever caused the riff, either through something that we did or didn’t do in our relationship with that other person. There is no way that we can duck the responsibility for having some role in this imperfection, unlike being able to say, “Oh well what are you going to do?” as we can with a major storm or an appliance that has stopped working.

So, how does that make life more interesting and why should you be grateful for those imperfections? It’s because it forces us to get outside ourselves, to acknowledge that we live in a society and not a cave by ourselves. Our world involves more than just meeting our own needs and our needs involve more than just staying alive. We are by nature social animals and like many other animals we seek others with which to share our lives. We don’t call our social connections or “pack”, but the concept is similar. Our inter dependencies with otherscaring in our “pack” are usually focused on more than just hunting and eating and more to do with feelings of self-worth and belonging.

Out of our need for social interaction come the imperfections in life that we must deal with and which keep life interesting. There is inevitable friction in every social “pack” – someone doesn’t like me, someone didn’t invite me to their party, I forgot to send a card to someone, someone is talking about me behind my back and on and on it goes. Sometimes just keeping all of the issues that are involved can be a mental exercise involving more work that solving the Sunday cross word puzzle I the paper. Then figuring out how to deal with these things, and what to say to whom; whether to try to help resolve these differences or just avoid getting in the middle of it is a decision process all of its own. It can keep you on your toes; but it sure isn’t boring and we should be grateful for that.

It is not really surprising when you think about it that “reality” shows have become so popular on TV. Reality is what we are used to living with and some of these shows do a fair job of mirroring the interesting things that we all know go on in real life. They are certainly easier to relate to than many of the drama or comedy shows.  (as entertaining as they may be).  What we supposedly see are real people gong about solving the real, everyday girls huggingproblems that we all might face; albeit many of the situations and people chosen may represent the extremes in life.

Many times in life and we get to the end of a crisis or situation we will say something like, “I’m glad that is over.”  Few of us realize at the time that we might also be glad that whatever it was happened. We survived, we figured it out, we solved the puzzle and because of that we are stronger, wiser and better off. Life is full of imperfections small and large and dealing with them and learning from those experiences is what makes it worth living. And for that I’m grateful.