Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Two men are walking in the woods when they come across a bear...”

At the point of conception we are endowed with a stew of DNA. It determines our height, our weight, our hair color, our eye color, everything about us. This includes our intelligence, our passions, our resilience and our desires. We have a DNA blueprint of how our lives could roll out. We are in part a reflection of our life experiences, but more importantly, if we choose, we are the product of who we are destine to be.

Every morning when we first wake we are given a chance to mold the rest of our day. We can choose to look backward at those things that have happen to us or we can chose to look forward to how we will change our existence into something of meaning. All too often I meet people whose yardstick of success is predicated on the performance of those around them. In the story of two hikers in the woods who come across a bear, the one hiker puts on running shoes. The other asked "why, you can't outrun the bear." The first responds "I only have to outrun you." I would suggest that we are all given the innate ability to overcome the bear in our own unique way, without sacrificing someone else.

The travesty of this "outrun you "mentality is that first of all it creates a win-lose scenario and second it robs us of our true potential and our self actualization. We go through life thinking that we have to be better than someone else to have meaning and value. The problem is that we will always know people who are better than us in many ways. Ways in which we are not naturally talented or gifted. The truly competitive people among us become good at marginalizing these talents in an effort to build themselves up.

I know that a better approach is to surround yourself with those much more talented than you and learn from them. "Fly with the eagles." Know that your destiny is as unique as your talents, passion and drive. Spend every day living up to your DNA. The great thing about following your passions is that it makes everyday an adventure. It's easier to get up, it's easier to learn, it's easier to excel and you can do it longer.

Nothing could be more tragic than a life wasted and yet I see it every day, people going through life trying to be better than their neighbors or co-workers, but falling short of their true potential. In time this constant competition, in which we are doomed to lose, wears us down. Retirement is that far off goals that signifies the end of the race. Those, whose focus is on living to their potential, don't want the race to end. They are still creating the person they ultimately want to be. Retirement means no longer working for money.

At conception each and every one of us has all the tools to be successful and happy. It is not externally driven, but internal. Madison Avenue, MTV or Vogue Magazine doesn't own your potential, don't let them form it. Find that which your inner-self longs for, nurture it, feed it and watch it grow. Jack Trout, one of the great pioneers in marketing says "If you can't be first to market, create your own market."

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