You Can Dig A Hole To China!

I have a 7 year old son named Ethan! He is an absolutely amazing child. He is at the greatest age right now, an age where everything and anything can happen. There is no "impossible" and there is no limits to his reality! Although he is incredibly smart and already quite inquisitive, and even though he seems to know certain things defy logic and are out of bounds, even in his "nothing's impossible world", he still believes them to be true! Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, he believes in them all, he believes in little leprechauns and that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My wife Vicki recently bought Ethan the "Elf on the Shelf", he sits in various locations each day, watching Ethan's behavior before heading back to the North Pole each night to report his findings to the "big man" himself. So, that is how the story goes, detailed in a hardcover book that the elf came with. When we first received the 10" tall Elf, we placed him on the mantle, just above the fireplace and waited for Ethan to notice him. It did not take him long and each and every morning since then, It's Ethan's first waking thought, "let's go find the elf..." he'll say, as he dashes from the sheets of his bed. It's the last thought before bed as well, Ethan will exclaim "..I can't wait to see where the elf goes tomorrow.." The excitement in his eyes about the elf is inspiring and brings smiles to the faces of his Mom and Dad! While, of course the elf is not real, does not move around from place to place by himself, but by the efforts of his parents, does not go to the north pole and certainly does not report on Ethan's behavior. Ethan somehow just knows that he does. and that's that. Even if someone were to tell him the truth, he won't buy it, well, not at this age, anyway!

Back in the late 70's and very early 80's of my own childhood, I remember watching cartoons on Saturday morning and seeing Bugs Bunny dig a hole all the way to china. "Wow! I want to do that" I thought, with that same childhood excitement my son has now. My first try to make my way to China, down through a hole was in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. My Mother took me and my siblings there every summer from New York to visit my grandparents. One day, on the beach in the hot sun, I was prepared, armed with my bucket and my plastic, yellow 4 x 3 inch shovel. I was ready, and so the challenge began!

Today, most of us have lost that childhood wonder and excitement we once held onto so tightly.
We stopped believing in those childhood fictional characters, most of us gave up on digging our hole to China, and somewhere along the way some of us even stopped believing in ourselves. We stopped believing that we could do the impossible, that we could go the extra mile and achieve more than we ever thought possible. Why? What happened? I believe some of us were told we couldn't do it, we didn't have what it takes, or we were not strong enough, we didn't have the skills, and many other reasons people say, or we say to ourselves, we can't have what we want. And at some point in our life, we bought it! And thus, all our dreams came to halt, or simply vanished all together. While we started off believing that we could have dug that hole to china, we ultimately laid down our shovel at the nay-sayers feet, simply walking away, never to look back.

Since my early 20's people have always commented that I was a "go-getter", I was never really sure what that meant other than I worked hard at my job, or searched them out aggressively. Being a "go-getter" is fine but it is when I decided to become a life long learner that things really started to change for me. Being a "learner" is an attitude, a state of mind, an understanding that, I don't know it all, and that's okay. What's not okay, is not being open to these learning opportunities when the are presented to us, from within or externally. Saying "I can't" or "I don't know how" is an excuse, a way out, it's failing by being afraid to fail. I remember when my wife Vicki, decided she wanted to replace the carpet with hardwood floors. "hardwood is expensive" she said "do you think you can install it"? "Absolutely" I replied "How difficult can it be?" I forgot to remind myself that I never installed a hardwood floor before! So, we bought the wood, the tools necessary to do the job, I did a little research and I got busy installing the floor! Well. it was hard work, not to mention, I cut floorboards too short and  cut them too long. I broke a baseboard or two as I removed them from the wall. But in the end, we had one heck of a gorgeous floor, Australian Cypress! We still get compliments on it today and one of our friends liked it so much they even had it installed in their own home. I remember another home improvement venture my wife wanted can see the pattern here, right? If not for my wife, I would be a lot less skilled! Well, we live in a 1970's style brick ranch and it was still sportin' the same 70's wood framed windows that the house was built with. They were not very energy efficient and needed to be upgraded. "I can do it" I said with confidence, never having changed a window before in my life. I called my father-in-law, who does this kind of thing in his sleep and had him come by once I had all the windows I needed, all 22 of them. He showed me how to do two window installations and I did the rest. By the end of the weekend I had installed 20 beautiful windows in our home.  I share these two stories, not to say that it was some great achievement, because it wasn't, people do this everyday. But to illustrate that I learned something new when the opportunity was presented to me. Believe me, construction and home improvement is not my thing, but I increased my level of skills in this area by simply learning and trying, and still stand up and take action today whenever I see an opportunity to learn something new. Are you cashing in on every learning opportunity presented to you? or are you telling yourself you couldn't possible do that. It's too hard or you don't have what it takes. Or maybe, "it's not your thing".

This sad way of thinking is even far more true when it comes to our dreams, when we really do want to achieve something significant in our lives. You may have wanted to become a Lawyer or Doctor and somehow that got away from you and the years just went by because the time was never "just right" to start or maybe you wanted to go back to school. Maybe you always wanted to write a book but became overwhelmed at the thought of such a feat, you didn't or don't have the time. You were going to train for that Marathon, but before you knew it the day had arrived and you never got around to running.  Why not, instead of coming up with reasons why we can't do something now or make up excuses, why don't we just do it. Go for it! Who cares how good you are or how far you get. Make the effort NOW! Stop procrastinating and start living your life to the fullest. Heck, this is the second blog I have ever written and for all I know, It stinks! But guess what? I don't care! Because I know every time I do this, one paragraph at a time I will get better. And so will you, no matter what you do in life. You may not want to write, but you do want to do something, what is it? We all have something inside us, a burning desire, a passion , a purpose and a hidden talent! The sad thing is, if you never get going, you'll never get it done, You'll never find out what it is, and you will regret what might have become, if you went after the girl or guy of your dreams, wrote the book, went back to school, got the degree, ran that marathon, learned how to cook, lost the weight or anything thing that has ever burned deep inside you, longing to get out, only to be trapped by your self-doubt and insecurities. Napoleon Hill  said "Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right'. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." The one thing you need is a belief, a belief in yourself. And when you truly believe in yourself, you can become unstoppable! The gap between who we are and who we can become in our wildest dreams is very small. It has to start with our thinking and having confidence in ourselves, and then we must take action. We can't sit idly by and hope and wish for life to get better. We have to get better and we get better by standing up and taking action, putting one foot in front of the other toward our goals. Things just don't work themselves out, you have to work them out and it isn't always easy, in fact most of the time its quite hard and we do fail, but we get back up and we keep swinging, we don't give up. I believe its John C. Maxwell who said "The greatest mistake we make is living in constant  fear that we will make one!"

If you have laid down your shovel (dreams and goals), why not pick it back up today and get reaquainted. If you have never thought about what your life can be, and you have just always, well, kind of settled for the way things are... I challenge you today to dig deep inside yourself and ask the question: "what do I want out of life?" and then begin taking the action to get there. As for me? I am still digging that proverbial hole to China. I have not got there yet but at least I am still digging! And oh the things I have found along the way! Because in the end, its not the destination, but the journey that matters most.

Update: My wife Vicki was proof reading this blog when she was reminded of a story she had heard earlier in the day on NPR about a lady and a plane...
(from "A few weeks ago, Anne Osmer left her home in Hendersonville, N.C., went to a local airfield, climbed into the cockpit of a Diamond DA20 and took off on her first-ever solo flight. Nothing unusual in that, except Osmer is 83 years old and didn't take her first flying lesson until she was 80."
To learn more about this amazing lady click here and be sure to listen to the interview!


Popular posts from this blog

Yeti 100! Our first 100 Miler

How I Got to the Marine Corps. Marathon.

Dam Yeti 50 Miler!