There is no prize for finishing first in life
The title of this article is a direct quote from my son’s drama teacher in high school (Rod Osiowy).
He was telling me how my son’s natural talent was what had prompted him to do the very gritty play they were putting on. His comment struck a note with me; it’s so true, you don’t get a prize for finishing first in life, it is necessary to live every moment to its fullest and to make the best of everything you have.
The secret to living life to the fullest is to enjoy every minute of every day knowing that you don’t get a prize for leaving early. Living a balanced life with time spent with family and enjoying the fruits of your labour is just as important as working hard. It takes patience to stop chasing success and enjoying what has been achieved. Learning to be patient with ourselves and with those around us is a character trait that needs to be nourished. North Americans are incredibly inpatient. The shortest period of time is the time between when the light turns green and when you hear the first horn honk.
The biggest roadblock to achieving success in any endeavour including life is the belief that if we work hard and do more that we will achieve more. Jim Rohn in his Vitamins for the Mind said, ”Some people plant in the spring and leave in the summer. If you’ve signed up for a season, see it through. You don’t have to stay forever, but at least stay until you see it through.”
I had a conversation with a rancher friend of mine that illustrated that point. He was talking about the hay he didn’t get cut that year and the number of cows he had to winter because of the border closure by the U.S. For most of us this would be a disaster but he just took it in stride, he bought hay, sold a few cattle and kept the rest to the next year. If you are a rancher you can’t just quit in the summer if it’s a bad hay crop, you are committed to all four seasons and whatever Mother Nature provides you with. You can react negatively to what life presents you or you can patiently work through the problems with your goals in mind.
Wayne Dyer in his book ‘The Power of Intention’ makes a statement that may be alarming to some. He says, “We are not of this world but only visiting in the human body that God gave us. We were never born and never die, we are spiritual ideas experiencing a material existence not the other way around.”
He also alludes to the concept that time doesn’t exist and that we need to live in the now; in the present moment. This, for many is a totally foreign idea, however when you surrender to being a spiritual idea experiencing a material life instead of a material being aspiring to being more spiritual, it brings a peace of mind that has never been felt before. If time doesn’t exist and if life is everlasting then experiencing every moment of every day to its fullest, including the problems, must be the objective. What would be your goals and dreams if you knew you could never fail?
If you are a spiritual idea governed by a superior being, (what title you use is your business, God, Allah, Jehovah, Universal Mind or Great Architect of the Universe) then you can’t fail. Why not stretch a bit and make your dreams and goals really big? Write down what you would like to accomplish while you are of this world. You can do whatever you set your mind to, begin with the end in mind.
Setting time limits lead to discouragement, it is human nature. As a spiritual idea as Dwyer alludes to, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to achieve success. The process and the system you develop to achieve the goal is as important as the goal itself. Resist the temptation to be discouraged, think like the farmer with too many cows and not enough hay, quitting is not an option.
Finally it doesn’t matter how old you are when you begin this process, age has nothing to do with it. Starting the journey is the most important step. If you have just graduated from college or if you are about to retire makes no whit, start dreaming, begin to record what you are dreaming about, take time to think and consider the possibilities knowing that you cannot fail and you will live forever.
Jim Rohn said, “ It takes time to build a corporate work of art. It takes time to build a life. And it takes time to develop and grow.” Give yourself, your enterprise and your family the opportunity to grow and dream.”
Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post related in an interview with an Inc magazine reporter some years ago, how she regained consciousness one evening while working late, on the floor with a terrible gash in her forehead. She had fainted and bashed her head on the coffee table. Ms. Huffington said it was a wakeup call. She had to stop working 20 hours a day and take some time to rest and spend time with her family. The reporter asked her if she had done that would she have been as successful? Her reply was that she was convinced that if she had taken more time off she would have been even more productive.
As that drama teacher reminded me, you don’t get a prize for finishing first in life, there may be a whole lot of people at your funeral, but that is a poor testament to what you contributed to society. Plan on staying in the game to the end and give it your all.