Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Cost of Making a Difference

Deacon Ken, of my parish, posts an article in the parish bulletin each week, and if you have read my emails, you will note that I have forwarded many of them. Well, he did it again. Here is a good one:


Don't pray that God will make your life easy – instead, pray that he will make it worthwhile. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. There is a price tag for any measure of accomplishment. I have never met a successful person who coasted to their desired destination. You can't win if you merely float. The only fish in the river that float along are the dead ones.

Some folks think that if they just sit around in their Lazy-Boy recliners long enough, success will come knocking on the door thinking, "Someday my ship will come in." Perhaps you have great ideas swirling around in your mind. You have great visions, dreams and intentions; however, if you don't do something about it, you're just daydreaming. You're acting like a dead fish. If you wish to go the distance, and make your dreams happen, you must pay the price. There is always [a] price tag for achievement. What is the price?

1. Hard work. People who [win] in life generally work harder than those who don't. Those who squeaked by fulfilling minimum requirements will never rise to the top. "Success," said Thomas Edison" is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration."

2. Stick-to-it-ive-ness. When a job gets hard and problems pile high, we are all tempted to quit. The difference between those who make it and those who don't is whether or not they cave into that temptation. Instead of giving up, give it your all.

3. Misunderstanding. Anybody who rises above the ordinary will be misunderstood. Critics come out of the woodwork when someone begins to accomplish something new and worthwhile. People often question the actions, motives and even integrity of the brave soul who dares to make a difference. Consider the whale. When he rises to the surface and spouts, he gets harpooned. There is definitely a price to pay, but it's worth the cost. Wouldn't you rather go out in a blaze of glory then die of dry rot?

This article hit home. I see so many people, most of them young, who just seem to be coasting along, like a dead fish in the water. I worked all during high school and college. In fact, my first jobs in seventh and eighth grades were at a neighborhood youth center where I “manned” the coat room for the other kids who were there after school until their parents came home from work. I then swept the activity rooms and halls and stairways. During the summer I helped the adults with the children on the summertime day trips – all for five dollars a week.

I did this not only to supplement the family income and have some pocket money, but to save money to buy a car. I had to have a car to drive my dates around. I have to wonder where is the enthusiasm and motivation of today’s youth? Mostly, I see the girls driving the guys around, probably in her father’s car.

Happily, I have a neighborhood kid who is always coming by asking to cut my grass, snow-blow my driveway, or some other odd jobs. He has bought himself a cool bike, neat shoes, and buys his brother and friends treats, like McDonald’s.

I know the physics; all objects want to remain at rest unless another force moves them. We get into a comfort zone, we like familiar things, watch the same TV programs, drive the same way to and from work every day. I think the trick is to break those patterns. We need to get used to change, so we don’t get traumatized when new challenges arise.

I’d like to share two things that have to help me along. My friend Pat told me about a dream board (I think that is what she called it) – to post a picture of something you would like on your refrigerator. This will remind you of your goal several times a day. Perhaps a picture of a car or a new sofa, perhaps a picture of a thin person to lose weight, or a cigar with a circle and line through it to stop smoking.

The other is what I call “Page for the Day.” The night before I will write down what I need to address the next day. It is funny how easily we can forget the things we need to address. Then there is what I call “One Thing.” I ask myself what is the one thing I can do that day to address some problem or get something accomplished that day? Even if it is something small – it provides a sense of accomplishment and progress.

I hope Deacon Ken’s article and my random thoughts are helpful to you.