When I was in sixth grade, I was very interested in girls. In our school, there were cheerleaders, and I was interested in having the cheerleaders show an interest in me. They did not.
On the first day of school, the teacher announced that a boy named Ray had to go to a different school because his family had moved across the school boundary. Ray had two characteristics: 1) he was the best basketball player in the school and 2) the cheerleaders really liked him.
I reasoned that if I became the best basketball player, the cheerleaders would become interested in me. There were some obstacles to my plan. I was slow, I was uncoordinated, and I could not jump. Nevertheless, the idea of becoming the best basketball player owned me. I was consumed with desire, and I was ready to do things I had never done before. Every day for three hours after school, I shot baskets.
When the season began, an amazing thing happened. I was the high scorer in every game, and my name was in the newspaper. This change was important, but not because the cheerleaders showed interest in me (they did not). It was important because I discovered something that some people never discover.
If we choose a purpose and fully commitment to the pursuit of the purpose, we develop into something new. When this happens to us, we discover the power of purpose, commitment, discipline, and persistence. We have within us the power to develop into something more than what we are. When we do we experience consciousness of victory over self and see things in a new way. We begin to believe in our own ability to become more than we are. Many people do not have this belief.
Each year between the sixth grade and high school, people told me that I would not make the team the next year. As people then went to the beach for the summer, I went to the gym. I spent long hours, often by myself, working. When the new season came, I would make the team and do well. Then they would tell me that next year I would not make it. My junior year, we won the state championship and at the end of my senior year, I was named an all-state honorable mention. This was not newsworthy, but it was remarkable for a boy who was slow, uncoordinated, and could not jump.
The long-term result is that all my life, I have listen to other people tell me of constraints and then I have evaluated the situation for myself. Sometimes I have decided to invest as I invested then. When I do, I grow and I become in some way new.
- What does it mean to discover the power of purpose?
- When have you made a major commitment and pursued it with intensity?
- In what specific way could you apply this story in your life right now?