Funny How Things Turn Out Sometimes

Rambling about nothing important here; but maybe something that can be used as a lesson someday.

When I was in elementary school I was really quiet and most times stayed to myself. I wasn’t included in games when sides were chosen and I was too shy to ask to be picked on a team. My perceived lack of talent also didn’t help. I stayed on the sidelines and would usually stand and watch as others had the time of their life taking part in games and having fun.

I also wondered later when I got older whether they thought I was dumb. Or if they thought I had a learning disability. But that’s a topic for another post.

As I moved through my middle school years I beganplayground to break out of my shyness and actually developed a love of sports. I’m not sure when it happened but by the time I was 13 or 14 it turned out I was very good at sports. And maybe it was there all along and I hadn’t been given an opportunity to display those skills.

In middle school I was also much better with schoolwork and could usually get good grades when I wanted. Although it did seem I had an issue with staying focused and not wanting to do more than I needed. I also didn’t push or challenge myself too often and was satisfied with just getting a passing grade. In other words, I was just average. Or maybe I was just an average teenager.

By the time I got to high school I was much more advanced athletically and much to everyone’s surprise – those same friends from elementary school that wouldn’t allow me to play – I could usually out-play most of them. In any sport!

I remember a particular day after an (American) football game during physical education class my freshman year where I made some plays at quarterback that others were talking about the rest of the day.

Another day I was hoping to sit out a volleyball match but the coach insisted I play. He made me play because he liked the intensity with which I played, and because I think he enjoyed watching me spike the ball so hard across the net and hit one of the guys in the stomach or chest. Oh, the joy of getting even! But who holds grudges, right?

Yet another time the tennis coach stopped everyone at practice and asked that they all come over to tenniswatch a match in which I was playing. I actually lost this match, probably the only one I lost when I got challenged. (Challenged is the keyword here. When I played for fun then that’s all it was, fun, and the competitor in me was left idly standing by.)

Anyway, the tennis coach commented every time one of us used proper technique and I still remember her saying something to the effect of “this is how you play the game guys.” What a thrill that was for me, with my elementary days now a distant past.

In the classroom I had a few teachers that would rearrange seating assignments on Mondays based on grades we received the previous week. And although there was this one girl that usually got perfect scores – and she happened to be in a few of my classes – I got a lot of satisfaction getting the first seat every once in a while. If not, I was usually in one of the first few seats. And this was about getting back at the guys and not the girls, so I didn’t mind coming in second to the girls.

So later on in life I wondered whether those same friends remembered our dogbiteyounger days, and if they knew they provided extra motivation for me to succeed. Probably not, but I’d like to think they did.

~But to all those I say, “Don’t pick on someone you may think is weak as it may come back to bite you in that special part of the anatomy sometimes referred to as your ass!”

Above and Beyond: Is it in your genes?

I’ve been researching this so called Above and Beyond trait, if we can call it that, and I’m leaning towards putting it in the same category as other more identifiable traits such as eye-hand coordination and common sense. Let me explain.

For those of us who have been blessed with exceptional eye-hand coordination, hitting a tennis ball, ping pong ball, or simply catching an object thrown at you without fully turning your head or following the object into your hands, it just comes naturally.

I’m one of those that gets shooed away at a carnival’s basketball booth because I’m making too many shots, clearing the shelves of stuffed animals, and handing them to kids as they walk by. True story, by the way. It happened at a jambalaya festival in Gonzales, Louisiana, many moons ago.

And so I think for those who always seem to go above and beyond, whether the task is big or small, it just comes naturally. For many who go above and beyond, it is actually a little awkward that it is pointed out because they didn’t take on a task and say to themselves, “Wow! For this task I’m going to do more than I’ve ever done before!” It just doesn’t happen that way.

Unless it’s an employee who’s trying to save his job, sarcastically speaking…

Anyway, see what I mean? It’s like saying, “Today I’m going to have more common sense than I did yesterday.” I think you either have it in you, or you don’t.

So then, how do you know when someone is one of those “above and beyond” persons?

One way of course is to ask. And it’s okay for a person to list some examples of when he or she went above and beyond, but if the person tries to explain how or why, just stop them. It can’t be explained. It’s just in you.

However, as with other human skills, you can always work on improving yourself, but just the fact that you have to work towards making yourself better in one area means you aren’t quite there. Right? It’s like asking a historically lazy person not to be lazy anymore. Yeah, right…

So like eye-hand coordination and common sense, I think you either have Above and Beyondness, or you don’t.

No? I’d like to hear from other folks about this. And if this is the first time you’ve thought about this subject, let me know. It’ll help my research. Not that I want to go above and beyond

Earn Your Mistakes

Here’s a short five-step guide on accomplishing the task at hand. Whether it’s big or small, don’t start something unless you’re ready to finish it. And hopefully you’ll fail along the way: how else do you expect to learn from your mistakes?

  1. START, AND STAY THE COURSE. Once you start a project, whatever it is you’ve chosen to do, don’t lose sight of the goal. Just swat the minor failures away like gnats, and keep moving forward. And pay attention to critical junction points, as they will determine whether you’re headed in the right direction or not.
  2. TOP YOUR EFFORT: In other words, always put in one hundred percent, all of the time. This way if you fail, you can at least be proud that you gave it your all. Make this a habit, by the way, and it’ll get easier every time. (To put in 100%, not the fail part.)
  3. EARN YOUR MISTAKES: Take every setback as an opportunity to learn something. It’s your mistake, you earned the right to learn something from it.
  4. VENT IT OUT: Find a mentor you can discuss problems and solutions with. When you find the right person, you’ll see that they’ve already failed so many times that it’s logical they will provide you the best advice.
  5. ENJOY: If you enjoy what you do, all the hard work you put into something makes it that much more gratifying. Enjoy your success!

Now go start and finish something! What are you waiting for?

For I Will Pray for You

I wrote this poem for a friend who lost her sister-in-law to a senseless murder. But to me as well, for the prayers I receive for a loss to a daughter’s senseless suicide.

For I will pray for you;
Life’s journey not dismiss.
Events we can’t control;
Events that ran amiss.

For those who look upon you;
For distress and weariness.
Instead will see before them;
A life of peacefulness.

Your life will carry on;
With honor and dignity.
For I will pray for you;
A life of peace and serenity.

In Heaven We Will Be

When life throws you lemons, throw them back, and here’s the receipt!

What do you do when you buy a television and take it home just to realize it doesn’t work? You load up the TV in your car, grab the receipt, head back to the store and with great conviction announce to the clerk, “It doesn’t work! I want my money back!”

Well of course, that’s what we all do. Or we ask for an exchange, but we definitely don’t just accept it and do nothing.

So then, why, when life isn’t going so well, or you’re dealt a bad hand in life, do we not stand up and stand firm and say, “I’m not accepting this! I can do better than this!”

When life throws you lemons, throw them back, and here’s the receipt!

The next time you’re confronted with a difficult situation don’t just sulk and feel sorry for yourself. Instead, pretend you just spent your entire paycheck on a TV that didn’t work. I guarantee you, you’ll stand up for yourself, grab the receipt, and announce to the world “I’M NOT ACCEPTING THIS! I CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!”