Slow And Steady

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For those of us with goals, the fact that most of them take time, lots of effort, learning and more time is a tough pill to swallow. In fact it reminds me a lot of the first time I literally tried to swallow a pill. I’m sure it was at least slightly amusing for my mom to watch. Needless to say, I’ve nailed the technique!

However, there are still several pills we need to learn to swallow. There are talents, concepts, information and other practices that all of us would like to be better at, if not master. I would love to one day be an expert in (or at) something. The hardest part of that kind of goal is the fact that it is not something one can master overnight. The road to expert-ism (yep, that’s made up) is long. Knowing that I’m going to need to pursue new things for a long period of time can be slightly disheartening. Knowing that failure and criticism is something I will need to become comfortable with is scary.

One thing I can say I do well, although I still can’t claim to be an expert at, is playing the drums. 14 years of work and practice (and lots of embarrassing screw ups) have given me the ability to become a fairly adequate musician. When I first set out on the road to be a drummer I had no idea I would still be playing to this day. I had no clue that I might one day be a professional. But I’ve done it long enough and put enough into it that I have found myself yielding a real talent.

Over the past year I’ve been taking steps towards new goals. I continually get lazy and fall off the wagon from time to time, but that isn’t stopping me from pursuing and learning. The fact is, goals take time. Goals require failure. You will never arrive. There is always more to be done.

Chasing goals is a slow and steady pursuit. Stay strong and stay focused.

Question:

What are some things you are working to be better at or learn?

For encouragement in this area I recommend Jon Acuff’s book Start.

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I Want To Be An Astronaut (Part I)

When I was four I wanted to be an acrobat in the circus. Unfortunately, a broken elbow due to my parent’s bed and a stubborn closet door put an end to that.

When I was nine I wanted to play professional baseball.

At 12 I decided to add professional basketball to the plan as well. I mean, that couldn’t be too difficult, right? Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders pulled off the multi-professional sport thing. Heck, so did Michael Jordan… sort of.

By the age of 14 I didn’t know what I wanted to be anymore. And frankly, I wasn’t worried about it. I figured my dream would find me at some point, hand me a detailed plan and a slice of cheesecake (cause that’s what dreams do), pat me on the back and say “ok, let’s be awesome.”

At age 20 I decided I wanted to be a professional musician in a national touring band. I even pursued that dream for 4 1/2 years. After some minimal success, that dream fell apart like all the rest.

Now, at the ripe age of 27, after several years of coasting, I know what I want to be. I want to be an astronaut!

Not literally. But I do want to have the same audacious attitude I had as a child. Why not?!

Most kids have “crazy” dreams to be something or do something incredible with their lives. They even believe they can accomplish those goals.

But somewhere along the road to “adulthood” we seem to loose the adventure and whimsical spirit of dreaming big. This bugs me to no end. I’m tired of doing just enough to be safe and get by. Safety is for suckas!

Ben Franklin said, “Some people die and 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”

When I first heard that quote I freaked out a little. A vision of myself as an older gentleman, feeding ducks in a park in between my games of chess (I’m sure I’ll learn the rules of chess before I’m 65), wondering what life would have been like if I tired something audacious came to mind. What would it be like to be an old man full of regrets? Stability is great and all, but at what expense? We have dreams, desires, and passions for a reason. If we do not pursue them, we are robbing ourselves of joy and fulfillment and potentially robbing our community and the world of great ideas.

In short:

Your dreams matter.

Your passions matter.

If it’s in you, it’s important.

It’s never too late. If you spend your time feeding ducks in the park and playing chess you can still do something “crazy”.

Making a dream a reality is a bridge to be crossed soon. But for now, just dream! And dream big. That’s the start.

Question: What has kept you from pursuing a dream of yours?