Today’s Wisdom: “Stop letting other people’s wind determine the direction of your sail.”
By Bill D. Ward
Way back in seventh grade my friends all decided to go out for football. They talked me into joining them. In those days, junior high football was seventh through ninth grade. I was likely the skinniest guy on the field.
All was well until I was put into a scrimmage. The other players basically ignored me, which was fine. Then all of a sudden, someone fumbled and there it was. The ball was laying on the ground right in front of me. I picked it up and took one step toward the goal line. Glory was just 20 yards ahead in plain view. That one step ended up being my entire football career.
The next instant I was airborne, me going south head over teakettle, and the ball going north. I had been clotheslined by a ninth grader at full speed.
That was when it hit me that no amount of practice or determination was going to make me a football player. My talents would lie elsewhere.
One of the things I have learned in life is that following the crowd and trying to be the same often leads nowhere. It is nice to feel included, especially in junior high. Later in life, inclusion is still nice, but better when we bring unique talent and character to the party.
In seventh grade, I could not see all the unique attributes that would develop in me over time. It is only looking back that they have become visible, many in ways I could not have anticipated. I suspect your stories are similar.
I no longer care if I am the same as everyone else. I figure it is their gain when I am not. Today, our value is in how we are unique, not in how we are the same. By now you should be familiar with your own unique talents. Retirement is the perfect time to cultivate them. I’m just sayin.’