“When I grow up I want to be an astronaut.” I thought about many careers when I was a child. I had a new one every year at some point. What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you that or is it still your aspiration? Maybe like me you found your path and it was different from what you thought of as a kid. For the record, an astronaut was not even on my radar as an option when I was growing up. I thought about becoming an accountant, pharmacist, doctor and a stream of other professions.Some I don’t even recall. The aspiration was a source of motivation. One felt that there was something to look forward to and to work towards. Efforts would then reflect that aspiration. There’s no denying that for some people aspirations are like dreams that always seem out of reach and not worth the disappointment they feel is inevitable so they remain dreams.
I still hear adults say to other adults that when they grow up they would like to be like the other person in one way or another. The other day at the gym (yes, another gym story…Blame the phase I’m in at the moment) one woman says to another who was doing a serious squat circuit “When I grow up I want to be able to pull that off”. That was exactly what I was thinking as I moved on a cardio machine. 80 steps per minute. And then SHE got on and it was like she was skating. How on earth can someone move at 210 steps per minute? After a few minutes I found myself at 100 steps per minute. A fete for my unfit body. I was glowing inside and told myself one day I’ll be able to move at 210 steps a minute.
Have you ever had an experience like that? When you feel as though you are at your end or your peak and then you see someone else higher up, doing better, pushing harder and instantly it feels like you can dig a little deeper, run a little faster, write a few more paragraphs. I think it is essential to surround ourselves with people like these. They help to keep us from settling at mediocre; we are kept aspiring to improve ourselves. When you feel that you are the best and you seize to progress then you start to regress. This is not about coveting what another has but about seeing that there is no ceiling on the heights we can scale. It is about constantly challenging ourselves to achieve more. As with the gym we have to keep increasing the weights, pushing ourselves in the workouts so that our bodies are challenged and to ensure our muscles don’t fall into dystrophy.
Do you have people who challenge you to become better in your work, parenting, prayer life, philanthropy, health or fitness? Whatever it is that you do and want to become better at deliberately surround yourself with people who are better than you and who seek to progress. That way you stay challenged and one day when you look at yourself you’ll be doing things that you had previously thought were impossible. Believe that you can and then do it!
Reminds me of the song by NAS:
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard at it)
I’ll be where I wanna be (I’ll be where I wanna be)
Be, B-Boys and girls, listen up
You can be anything in the world, in God we trust
An architect, doctor, maybe an actress
But nothing comes easy it takes much practice
Like, I met a woman who’s becoming a star
She was very beautiful, leaving people in awe
Singing songs, Lina Horn, but the younger version
Hung with the wrong person