Have you ever come home after a long day of school or work and wanted nothing more than a big, home-cooked meal? You wanted a steak, or a homemade salad, or a casserole just like your mom used to make. You see that you have all the ingredients that it takes to make it, but then you start thinking about all the work. You’re going to have to prep the food, then you’re going to dirty up a bunch of dishes, and plus it’s going to take at least an hour to cook all of it. As much as you want it, is it really worth all of the work? You look at it and think about what it takes to get it and say, “You know what? I’ll just make a Hot Pocket.” Why do we do this?? You’re going to feel terrible, it’s not what you want, plus you’re going to hate yourself for settling and not getting what you truly craved.
We do the same thing in life all the time. We see what we want and know we have what it takes to get it, but then think about how much work it’ll take and settle for less. Stop being satisfied with “good enough” and go after what you truly want and deserve.
I heard a story when I was young that always stuck with me. If I took a $100 bill out of my pocket and offered it to you, obviously you would take it. What if I crumbled it up and dropped it on the ground? Would you still want it? Absolutely. Now what if I told you that $100 bill had been used in drug deals and prostitution and belonged to the worst people you could imagine? Would you still want it? Of course! Why? Because the value isn’t affected by its past. The value isn’t determined by who it has been around or what’s been done to it. The value can’t be depreciated by anyone else.
You have to realize that no matter what others have done to you or what labels they put on you, they can’t determine your value. Your past doesn’t determine your future and, even though you know your mistakes and you know where you’ve been let down, you are still valuable and nothing can change that.
One of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever read took place in Brazil. A woman had gotten pregnant and after experiencing some severe pains she went to a healer who treated her. After that he stomach no longer began to grow so she assumed she had lost the child. 44 YEARS later she started having horrible pains in her abdomen. Doctors were shocked when they took an x-ray to see that there was a fetus inside this 84-year-old woman’s body. Obviously it was no longer alive, but the story is fascinating. How could you go this long with something inside of you and not realize it?
We do the same thing all the time. Not with a child, hopefully, but with our own talent and abilities and dreams. My friend was an amazing drummer but was so hesitant to pursue his passion. Everyone knew he could be great, but he never went for it. Now, years later, I’ll talk to him and occasionally he’ll mention drumming, but it’s not with excitement, it’s with regret.
Your dreams and talents, just like that fetus, are going to come out one way or another. The thing you have to decide is if they’re coming out when they’re supposed to and being an amazing part of your life, or coming out years later and being a horrible regret of what might have been.
Has anyone ever looked at you and said, “Wow, you could be the next _____?” You hear the compliment but think it’s never possible where you are right now.
Back in 2004 Peyton Manning broke the all-time touchdown record. I remember hearing an announcer say that what made Manning so great is that he never threw the ball where his player was, but always threw it where they were going. He knew their route and even if they were covered by defenders right now, the defenders didn’t know where the receiver was going next. Peyton did. There’s a Hebrew word that was often used in place of the word future that roughly translated to “an expected end.” Which means when you’re planning for your future, you aren’t just hoping these things are going to happen, you’re creating an expected end for yourself.
Stop doubting yourself because of your current circumstances. Just because a dream seems too big for you right now, doesn’t mean it will always be too big. Not only are you preparing for your future, you’re setting up your expected ending. If Peyton Manning was throwing the ball where his receiver was headed, that means the only way they’d miss it is if they stopped and gave up.
Just know that you’re closer to your dreams than you realize. Your present circumstances don’t define who you are. Don’t give up and no one else can stop you.