Tag Archives: failure

THE PERSON IN THE MIRROR

 

When things go wrong for us, we often look around to place the blame on others. It’s human nature to do this, but in reality, others may not have had anything to do with us falling short of our goals. We must look deeper if we are to find the real culprit(s).

It’s usually the last item we are willing to consider, but the one thing that might be preventing us from reaching the level of success we desire in life is often the person we see when we look into a mirror. That’s right—you and me!

So, instead of wasting time looking for reasons to blame others, have a pep-talk with the person in the mirror and then get back on road to success. Identify and work on what caused the less-than-desired results and always, always,

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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YOUR DREAM BEYOND THE WALL

Let me start by saying I think it is wonderful when anyone achieves his/her dream in life. It doesn’t happen by chance; it requires a lot of hard work, passion, ability, and sacrifices to make it become a reality—maybe even a little luck to boot! Their accomplishments are certainly commendable because they never gave up. They faced many walls and succeeded. Congratulations!

However, for many others, pursuing a dream in life is much like playing a game—sometimes we win—sometimes we lose. No one ever said turning a life-long dream into reality was going to be easy. It’s great when we are successful, but many of us have to learn how to cope with disappointments.

We’ve all heard things like: we should never give up; the next door will be the one; keep trying; don’t believe it when others tell you it’s impossible, etc. Those are very positive-well-meaning-encouraging comments. I not only agree with them; I also say them because I believe them.

However, when I look at things realistically, I know pursuing a dream requires making a series of midcourse adjustments and “game-changing” decisions along the way. Although “staying the course” may work very well for many folks, it may not always be the best option for everyone.

What? I can’t believe I just wrote that! Have I turned into Chicken Little in my old age?

No, the sky is not falling, and I’m not Chicken Little either, but the statement is true in many cases. Many of us reach aTimeinLife when what we have worked so hard to become or do in life may not be possible to achieve. Saying it nicely, sometimes things just happen, and often times, they are beyond our control. I know because I’ve been there—many times. The path to our dream in life involves a long journey with many twists, turns, and “brick walls” that can make achieving them very difficult, although not impossible.

When reality comes knocking on our door, we must decide whether to continue playing the game the same way hoping things will improve, alter our strategy to achieve better results, or try doing something completely different. Being flexible and making adjustments during the game can actually be a good thing. In fact, that’s what life is all about—making decisions and necessary adjustments—finding ways to topple the “brick walls” we encounter.

To clarify what I mean, allow me to share a true story about John Dalton (not his real name).

John spent the first eighteen years of his life pursuing a dream to play major league baseball. He had big plans for making his dream become reality. He worked hard, gave it his best each year, made tremendous sacrifices, and battled through injuries because he was determined to fulfill his childhood dream. He was doing everything right. People in his community even encouraged him by telling him he was a great baseball player—he had natural ability—God had given him a special gift. Such comments helped John believe in himself and his dream, which was definitely a good thing.

When John was a senior in high school, a Division 1 university sent a scout to watch him pitch. It was late in the season, but John had remained hopeful he could make his dream in life come true because he was playing well. This was his first opportunity to display his baseball talents in front of an interested scout; it was his moment to put his special gift on display. The many years of blood, sweat, and tears pursuing his dream had come down to a single performance during one game. It was John’s judgment day for his life-long dream.

Unfortunately, John had a miserable outing and only pitched three innings before the coach had to take him out of the game. His “spotlight” performance did not reveal his true talent. What happened to John that day is anybody’s guess, but the result was he didn’t receive any scholarship offers to play college baseball. Reality was knocking on John’s door. He kept fighting a mental “go or no-go” battle to keep his dream alive, but time was not on his side.

His best friend Derrick said,

“Bo, you have to face the fact that you just aren’t good enough to play college baseball, and you better forget about playing big-league ball too. You need to start looking for something else to do in life.”

Derrick’s remark sent John into a downward spiral until he hit rock bottom. Reality had not only knocked on his door; it came into his room and punched him in his stomach. John’s dream was slipping away and he felt Derrick had betrayed him at a time when he most needed his friend’s support. The forbidden word “failure” entered John’s mind for the first time and his dream in life was quickly turning into a nightmare of reality. He was confused, dejected, and felt all alone. He didn’t know what to do next.

Well, Derrick actually was being supportive of John. When the shock of Derrick’s remarks finally wore off, John realized Derrick was right. In his cold-crude-negative manner, Derrick had actually encouraged John to stop wasting time and to start pursuing a different game in life—to make adjustments.

It wasn’t easy, but that’s exactly what John did—he made some tough decisions and changed his game. He chose to start pursuing a degree in engineering and wanted to become a pilot in the Air Force. He played the engineering game well, but the pilot thing never materialized. John’s less than 20/20 vision was another dream killer—he never became a pilot. Another dream vanished for reasons beyond John’s control.

John completed his “desk-flying” military commitment and started his engineering career with a large corporation. He worked hard, advanced through management levels, and retired thirty years later. Although John never achieved two of his major dreams in life, his game-changing decision to pursue an engineering career proved successful.

After John retired, he began reflecting on his life and realized the vicissitudes he experienced during his journey had provided him with valuable knowledge about life. He started pursuing another dream to help others by sharing his knowledge through writing inspirational/motivational novels and articles about the game of life. He felt helping those who were willing to learn from his life-lessons was the best use of his talents—it was God’s plan for him all along. He had to learn hard lessons before he could effectively help others.

When asked if he had any regrets about spending all those years chasing his dream to play major league baseball, John smiled and gave this response:

“Should I have regrets? God blessed me with a talent for baseball and I developed it to the best of my abilities. Yes, it was my dream—my plan to play in the majors. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t God’s plan for me. His plan was for me to use my baseball talents to coach youth and help them pursue their dreams. I’ve done that and it has been a blessing for me. If I could do everything all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Regrets? I don’t have a one!”

So, what is the point of John’s story? The point is that all of us need to have dreams in life, and we should pursue those dreams with passion and courage. It’s wonderful when our dreams come to fruition. However, we should also be willing to recognize that having backup plans are also important in case things go awry. It’s not the end of the world if they do; it just requires a change in direction.

One significant thing to understand about John’s experiences is that he didn’t fail to achieve his dreams. Instead, he simply made mid-course adjustments in life to pursue something different. Bottom line, John actually succeeded.

Part of being successful in life is recognizing our limitations and not being afraid to alter our dreams when it becomes the best option. Just because we have dreams in life doesn’t mean we possess the talent, abilities, or luck to make them happen. The cliché about continuously beating your head against a brick wall expecting different results each time isn’t a crazy statement. If you don’t alter your strategy when trying to topple the brick wall, the only thing you will have at the end of the day is a horrible headache.

YourDreamBrickwall2

When pursuing your dreams, be willing to adjust your strategy or accept the fact that you may not be able to knock the wall down. Changing your dream is not an acceptance of failure; it’s intelligently recognizing that you need to spend your time pursuing a different dream. You only fail if you decide to do nothing or give up completely. Move on with your life by making adjustments that are right for you. Then, hold your head high and celebrate your successes!

You Can—you WILL achieve your dreams in life!

Consider following John Dalton’s recommendation:

“If you want to be inspired to pursue your dreams in life or to help someone else, I recommend you read On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream. This clean story features a young boy learning life-lessons while pursuing his dream with the help of a dedicated mentor. The plot is wholesome, thought provoking, and filled with practical content for all age groups—teens, parents, friends, and coaches. It’s available at the Amazon author link below. Read it and share the experience. Someone out there is in need of your help.”

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

TEAM – A FOUR-LETTER WORD

TEAM – a simple four-letter word a child can say without getting into trouble—no matter how young they are. In fact, the sooner a child understands the importance of the TEAM concept, the better. The old cliché “all for one and one for all” might be a bit trite, but when it comes to TEAM, it’s an absolute requirement for success! Otherwise the team fades into a blur…

TeamBlurred

Every person (player) on a team has God-given talents and they should use those talents to the best of their ability to help contribute to the overall outcome of the team. Adults should teach youth to play as a team—to win as a team—to lose as a team. If a child’s talents vaults him/her to shining-star status, that’s great for the player and the team, but the child should remain true to the team concept.

Unfortunately, being a good team player is not always easy for our youth—thoughts of “self” takes control of the mind sometimes. The following personal experience is a perfect example of the importance of each individual’s contribution to the team.

Throughout my youth, I thought I was a good team player. I played on baseball teams for many years; I was confident that I knew the team concept very well. Sometimes I was a shining-star and sometimes I was the goat, but I always supported my teammates and the team above self. However, when I participated in a Leadership/Team-Building exercise as a teenager, the results were most humbling. I allowed “self” to cloud my judgment.

THE EXERCISE

I was involved in an exercise on a team consisting of six guys seated at a round table. For this particular task, the instructor gave each person a puzzle consisting of ten pieces. The object was for all six members of the team to assemble their individual puzzles as fast as possible. The one condition given to us was there could be no talking among team players, but all players could use gestures.

The clock started and I completed my ten-piece puzzle very quickly. I sat there wondering why the other players were having such a hard time completing the simple task. Each of them had all but one of their pieces in place. I shrugged my shoulders at them in a gesture of “come on guys—what’s wrong with you people? Time is running out!” They all began pointing at my completed puzzle, raised their index finger, and then pointed back toward themselves. Remember—no talking allowed.

TeamPuzzle

Several minutes passed, and their gestures became a bit more animated. A few more minutes passed and the instructor asked me if I was finished.

“Sir, yes, Sir!” I replied

“Are you sure about that, Mr. Tatum?”

Yes, I was sure; the puzzle was right in front of me. Was the instructor blind? I replied, “Sir, yes, Sir! It was simple task, Sir! I don’t know why the other guys are having so much trouble with this, Sir.”

“Mr. Tatum, why do you think the other team members are pointing at your puzzle?”

“Sir, I guess they are in awe of how fast I completed my puzzle, Sir.”

The instructor then said, “Guys, Mr. Tatum’s performance caused all of you to be captured by the enemy. All of you are now prisoners of war. Your team failed the test and the future looks grim! Mr. Tatum failed to use his God-given talents to help the team.”

“Sir, what? What did I do, Sir? Sir, I completed my puzzle! I did my part, Sir!”

The instructor then proceeded to explain to the class the results of my actions, or lack thereof. I felt as though lightning had struck the foundation of my perception of the TEAM concept. I was devastated—my poor judgement and performance caused our team to fail. I failed the team!

As it turned out, my puzzle had five pieces that were necessary for the others to complete their puzzles. They each had one piece that would fit perfectly into my puzzle if we exchanged one piece. The only way to complete the six puzzles was for me to exchange one piece with each of them.

TeamPuzzlePcs

The instructor came to me after class and said, “I know you’re feeling down on yourself, but don’t. You were “setup” to fail, which actually made the exercise a successful learning experience. It didn’t matter which one of you had the ‘key’ puzzle. Any of the other five would most likely have failed also. I’ve given this exercise to hundreds of people and they have all failed.

“Before the exercise started, I told the others you had one piece of their puzzle and they had one of yours. Their task was to convince you to exchange your piece for their “bad” piece. They all failed to do that, which accomplished the second objective of the exercise—failure of each individual. Had all of you completed the puzzles, there would be no lessons-learned.

“Remember my instruction to all of you—no talking, but gestures were acceptable. I didn’t place any restrictions on the type of gestures that were acceptable. Nor did I say the team players couldn’t ask me questions. Had each team member simply asked me if they could walk around the table and exchange their “bad” piece with you, all puzzles could have been completed. You were on the hot seat today by design, but the other five will have their turn there tomorrow. Rest well tonight, son. You did exactly what I expected you to do.”

The first lesson-learned was simply being part of a team is not enough. It takes much more than that. Each member must give their best and work for the good of the team in order for the team to be successful. When one player doesn’t support the others, the entire team will likely fail.

The second lesson-learned was a good team leader looks after all team members by anticipating their needs and making sure they have all the tools necessary to complete the task at hand. Help those who are struggling is a must. You should always believe in yourself and your abilities. However, when you start thinking that you are the shining-star and your teammates are useless, your mind closes to the needs of others. Your God-given gifts no longer serve the team—you become selfish.

The third lesson-learned was to be open-minded—think outside the box and do not impose unnecessary restrictions on yourself or the team. Examine each situation and consider ALL alternatives available to complete the task. Do not limit the possibilities that can lead to success.

I failed on all counts, but I learned those three valuable lessons in the process. Since that day, I have always given my best to support the team and all my teammates. Although the team may still fail, it won’t be because I failed to give one-hundred percent of my best. Self-imposed failure is not an option!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

1 Corinthians 12:17-20 (NIV)

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels