Monday, November 7, 2011

The wretched status quo

Is it just me or are there a lot of people living their lives at a level much lower than what they are capable of?

I hope that does not come off sounding condescending or arrogant because the question is not meant that way. It is a question that I ask myself a lot.

At some point in life, we all pause and take stock of the talents we have. We all have at least one talent, and most of us have several. When we recognize the talents we have, I believe most of us make a good faith effort to use them.

However, it is not enough to simply use them. We get in trouble when we only rely on talent to accomplish what we want. If we are honest, we understand our talents will only reach their full maturity when we pause to develop them. I know I am guilty of coasting on my talents too much.

Sports are a great example of this. We all know people who are naturally athletic. It is obvious that God touched them in such a way that they have a natural advantage against the competition.

However, pure talent can only take them so far. The truly greats in athletics often have a relentless work ethic as they develop their talent.

When Tiger Woods was at the top, he was a good example of this. He obviously has been blessed with talent, but the stories are legendary when it comes to the amount of practice he dedicated himself to as he developed his talent.

Though his decision making off the golf course has been shaky, he understood what it took to elevate himself from an excellent golfer to a legend.

The same goes for quarterback Peyton Manning. As the son of legendary quarterback Archie Manning, he was blessed with physical gifts most people do not receive. Like Woods, he understood he could not just rest on the skill with which he had been blessed.

Both in college and the National Football League, stories are well know about his dedication to film study and working out in the offseason. In this case, his willingness to commit will likely result in enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Of course, we can find examples from all walks of life in which people did not coast on their talent. There are plenty of examples involving spiritual leaders, businessmen, and politicians. All these examples show people who wanted to be exceptional instead of ordinary.

Obviously, most of us will not have lives that will play out on a large public stage like the examples just provided. However, this does not mean we should be any less dedicated when developing our talents.

This is because we all are examples to those around us, and we touch each others lives in ways we do not even realize. It is easy to forget that because we cannot see into the hearts of the people around us. We can only see the outer shell, and because of that, it is tempting to believe we do not have much of an impact at all.

We have a choice. We can settle for the wretched status quo or we can strive for greatness. Do not roll your eyes when I use the word 'greatness.' Even though a person’s name will not show up in the history books, it does mean that somebody cannot achieve greatness.

Never underestimate the importance of being a great father or mother or police officer or store owner or friend or secretary.

The decisions we make can have long lasting consequences. It is a decision we must all make.

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