Sunday, July 27, 2008

Success Through One Man's Eyes - Part V

Peace be with you!

The next part of the success acronym is the second "c", for which I have chosen the word "Challenged. " I'm sure you'll notice that the form is past tense. Oh, by the way the photo attached here is one of the many trestle bridges along the New River Tail near Pulaski, Virginia. The photo was taken, as almost all of those exhibited in my work are, by my wife and life partner, Debbie-Phillips-Noll.

All of us are challenged by something, whether it's by the peers of our youth, or by our kids in their youth, or by personal issues of all kinds at any stage or time in our lives. Some challenges are easily overcome and others test our very souls. It's the latter that I want to discuss briefly here for when we are challenged beyond what we think we can accomplish, we grow. When we face adversity with a positive outlook we have the best chance to conquer that which would conquer us. Whether it is internal or external, how we face life events, planned or unplanned, in essence how we are challenged determines the quality of life we live.

Being challenged can be a "buzz word" in todays American culture. We can be challenged by work, school, sports, family, friends, or in many cases just by daily events. But what helps us succeed most is, I believe, how we are challenged by ourselves. Our successes and failures are not entirely based on what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. I believe what we are challenged by most is out attitude toward life, no matter what the circumstance is and I believe that our perspective also determines our degree of success or failure.

For most I think, it is not being intellectually or emotionally challenged that causes them to stumble but the spiritual challenge of seeing that which is not yet tangible or seeing that which has not yet occurred in such a way that it is remarkably effective in terms of the eventual outcome. When we choose to see ourselves or the circumstances of our lives in the present and in a positive framework we put ourselves in the greatest possible position for success.

One of the games that I appreciate the most in terms of skill and strategy is billiards. In billiards, it isn't just the ability to make the shot you are currently playing that helps you win, but the ability to see the position of the cue ball for future shots that determines your chances of winning the game. The best billiards players are those who can combine the skill of executing the present shot with the skill of seeing future shots and placing the cue ball in excellent position to make each of the subsequent shots.

The same thing happens with our perspective about life. After the break, so to speak, when the table has been determined - the difference between success and failure - the difference in running the table or leaving the door open for your opponent, is our ability to see the shots that haven't yet been made and our ability to execute the ones that present themselves to us along the way.

There will be the naysayers and skeptics in our path and that's okay. There is also significant research and testimony to support living life positively, with vision, purpose, and perspective. I find myself challenged each day to get up for the game, to put on the type of mindset that will put me in the best possible position to execute what I am presently aiming at and place me in position for the next best available shot.

Personally, I decided several years ago (and that was later than I should have) that despite what is a attributed to Hall of Fame Football and legendary coach Vince Lombardi about "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," that I would live a challenged life every day. I would make every effort to envision that which cannot be seen and view myself in the best possible position to respond positively and not to react negatively to each circumstance. I would challenge myself to keep focused not so much on winning, but on doing the best I can now, today, and accept the outcome as the beginning of a new challenge.

My prayer for you is that you too, will be challenged to live fully in the present, no matter the circumstance and to decide right now to be challenged to see yourself today, not only winning but, doing that which you were designed to do.

Shalom my friends and peace be with you!

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