Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘no excuses’

Graduation Brings New Challenges!

During the next two weeks thousands of seniors will be graduating from high school. Some have been planning their next steps for some time, some for only a couple of months and some not at all. The fact that this stage in their life is ending can cause sadness, nostalgia and even fear – especially for those who are not immediately moving on. It can feel like a void has developed in their lives.

As a culture we have come to expect that college or training after high school is essential – and it is – if the student is ready but that’s a big IF. It takes emotional readiness to move on and if pushed too quickly the student can fail or drop out because they were not mature enough to handle it. That image of failure can last a life time in their memory. Typically, students who have a pattern of seeking immediate gratification need longer to grow up. Just as young children learn to walk at different times – some at 10, 12 or 14 months and it’s okay at the same time we realize that we can’t simply hold them on our hips throughout life but must allow them to fall, pick themselves up and to persistently keep trying to achieve success. Well, the same goes for maturity. It doesn’t just happen but can be helped along the way by the attitude of a parent or loved one.

As parents or family members we don’t want to see them flounder and want to ‘fix it’ for them. We naturally want to take away their angst about the tomorrows in their lives. This is when it takes all of our courage not to rush in and attempt to ‘make it all better’ as we did when they were young. Life is not about constantly fixing things for our children but encouraging them to face reality and in this case that reality may be that they need a little longer to grow up. It is about loving them enough to take the time to talk with them until they get it. Don’t expect the first, second or even tenth times to be enough. Remember they are a bit immature and with immaturity comes lack of focus.

If they haven’t been planners in the past and were more into immediate gratification the only way for them to understand the critical need to develop and work a plan in their life now is to let them experience what it feels like not to have one. This is where tough love comes in. We must allow them to face the reality of not getting something they think they want especially if we know they are not mature enough to handle it. Moving on after high school takes physical, mental and emotional maturity which develops over time not over night.Those things are not something that can be bought, given or sold. It must come from the depths of the student who is so disappointed, maybe even a bit angry enough to do something about it. In goal setting it is said that we must become sick and tired and reach our depth of dissatisfaction before we decide to make a change happen in our lives.

Growing older is not an option but growing up and maturing is – it takes conscious effort to learn to delay gratification. Developing maturity usually starts by working at things that we don’t love or even like. But as we have to work at them we become more determined to change our path and develop short and long term plans to change our circumstance. Becoming a productive, responsible person is not simply about getting what we want it is about working through the things we don’t want or like to achieve our goals. That takes maturity and it only starts when we experience what we don’t want and force ourselves to face it head on. Jobs that simply sound like fun are therefore not the answer unless you want to see them permanently searching for the fun in life rather than the productive element of achievement that will cause them to feel more self confident and become happier people ultimately. Looking for a job because it just sounds like fun simply delays the process of maturing – sometimes permanently.

Watching a graduating senior flounder a bit can be the hardest thing we do but if we love them enough to stand firm and expect them to get a full time job in the meantime it can make all the difference in their lives. As a responsible, loving parent it is our job to get our kids to face the reality of their own situations not with excuses but with the truth. If not us – who, if not now – when? We all pay the piper in life it’s a matter of when and how. When these students don’t have their immediate gratification realized they can choose to make the best of the situation by becoming productive in what ever job they are doing, that’s step one in becoming a successful, independent and happy human being. Life we know is a great balancing act. It takes concentration, determination and work. No one can do it for us. We each have our own unique lessons to learn.

Have a great few days!

The Dynamic Duo

The never ending quest for self improvement to achieve greater joy and happiness in life involves an elixir of two essential elements – a healthy dose of playful enthusiasm combined with a strong dose of responsibility and focus. Some of us have lots of one and little of the other. But there is something special in those people who have figured out how to combine the two into the perfect formula for greater happiness and joy in life. They seem to light up a room when entering.

You can tell that they enjoy being in the moment and absorbing the energy and experiences they are having while simultaneously keeping their eye on the ball realizing that ‘if its going to be its up to me.’ These are the people we are attracted to because they give off such positive energy. They may see a cloud on the horizon but look past it knowing little in life is permanent and this issue, this challenge at the moment, too shall pass. They could be characterized as the ‘no excuse’ type of people. Life doesn’t just passively happen to them because they are actively engaged in the process by improving themselves and lending a hand to others along the way.

These unique individuals keep things in perspective. Rather than thinking in absolutes – all, never, everyone… they choose to see the shades of grey in others and in life by remembering that they have not walked in another’s shoes. Rather than assuming the worst in a situation they strive to look for the possibilities – the ways for improvement. They refuse to supersize a problem and handle the typical ups and downs in life with focused effort and confidence. They choose not to merely survive but to thrive.

These type of individuals are not simply born as perpetual optimist. But have learned along the way that they have the power to change themselves and their circumstances through a combination of goal centered hard work- the purpose driven life we hear about – combined with the ability to laugh at themselves at times with playful enthusiasm. They have learned to enjoy the moments in their life that will ultimately be their legacy. When they leave this earth, they will be missed, a void felt but soon filled with a lifetime of special memories.

We all have something to give to the world. At times it may be simply a smile or positive comment that can help a fellow traveller along the way. The amazing thing is that these folks that seem to have perfected the magic combo of enthusiasm and focused effort just seem to attract more of the same in their lives. They have perfected the understanding of cause and effect – as they give so shall they receive. After all, The Universe is an ‘equal opportunity’ employer.

During the next few days check out how many people you interact with that have this dynamic duo type of thinking. Who knows, you may be one of them!

Have a great few days!