The Last Domino

This post was inspired by something I saw on the back of my niece’s soccer practice jersey.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

This simple, yet thought-provoking definition led me to see a chain reaction using dominos. I saw “Dream” as the first domino, “Deadline” in the middle and “Goal” at the end of the chain. Three dominos makes a lousy image. So, I imagined inserting a few more and came up with the following chain:

Dream → Passion → Action → Progress → Urgency → Deadline → Goal Achieved

However, with long-term goals, the dominos are normally spaced too far apart to generate enough momentum to reach the goal. Something more is needed. The gaps must be filled with lots of “character” dominos to maintain momentum in the chain. The following quotes identify some of these momentum dominos:

Every Day Get Started: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” — Amelia Earhart

Determination: “Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.” — Lord Chesterfield

Courage: “The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.” — John C. Maxwell

Selflessness: “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

Faith/Purpose: “It is not such a fiercesome thing to lead once you see your leadership as part of God’s overall plan for his world.” — Calvin Miller

Service: “From now on, any definition of a successful life must include serving others.” — President George Bush

Imagine how much character goes into falling domino displays like these:

How many dominos does it take to become a world class swimmer like Michael Phelps, who is dominating U.S. media coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games? He is now the most decorated American Olympic athlete of all time. His goal to win 8 gold medals with world record times is just 3 events away. Phelps’ unprecedented dominance has already produced millions of dollars worth of endorsements. Can a book and a movie be far behind?

During the endless coverage, one item jumped out at me. In an interview, the young “Phenom Phelps” acknowledged that he keeps a typewritten list of his goals beside his bed and reads it every day. Sounds like a good idea and one that is very easy. Yet, how many people do it? Thanks to Mr. Phelps’ inspiration, my list will be in its appointed place starting tonight!

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright August 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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“Beyond the Belly”

One of the hardest things for me is getting into the water at the pool or beach. Even on a hot day, the initial shock of my 98.6 degrees coming in contact with cool water creates a sudden chill. However, unless we’re talking about Lake Superior, the jolt lasts only a few seconds before the water feels really great. The refreshing sensation and the relaxing feeling of weightlessness far outweigh the momentary discomfort.

The only smart way to get into the water is to jump or dive. People who use this approach are called “plungers” (no relation to the “plumber’s helper”). You’ve certainly seen the other type. With them it’s almost a ritual. They sneak up on the water to scoop up a handful then, gingerly dip their toes. If that doesn’t scare them back to the car, they’re likely to wade in up to their ankles or even their knees. So far, so good! Little by little they go a bit further. Some will put their arms above their heads to keep them dry while the water creeps up their body. By the time the water reaches their bellies, the discomfort is apparent on their faces.

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” — Unknown

They’ve now reached that critical decision point. “Should I keep going?” It takes considerable determination to go beyond the belly. That’s when many say, “I think it’s too cold today” or “well, maybe later” or “I didn’t really feel like swimming anyway.” Occasionally, a “toe-dipper” manages to get all the way in only to discover that this meaningless ritual did nothing but prolong discomfort, delay their pleasure, and put original intentions at risk. Getting wet a little bit at a time does nothing except make people second-guess their intentions before they experience the benefits.

“Commitment separates the doers from the dreamers.” — Unknown

There’s a third type in every group called the “splasher.” These folks embellish the way of plungers by speeding up the process for the toe dippers. While splashers are generally despised and regarded as mean-spirited, they are actually behaving in a very compassionate way. By rushing toe-dippers through the uncomfortable part, splashers are helping the toe-dippers do what they should have done on their own, that is, take the plunge and get the unpleasant part out of the way as quickly as possible. Have you ever noticed that once everyone is in the water together and having a good time, the toe-dippers no longer care so much about the circumstances that helped them get in?

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There’s no such thing as a life in-between. “ — Pat Riley, basketball coach

This story is about commitment, the mindset needed for success in life. Whether starting a business, raising a child, or buying a car, it makes no sense to begin with a “try it out to see if it works” mentality. Once the research is done and the decision is made, there’s no room for timidity. It’s time to …

“Just do it!” — Nike Corporation

Getting started under a cloud of fear and doubt is a formula for failure. Be bold! Be resolute! Be committed! Without the plunger’s attitude, the first sign of trouble will send a toe dipper back to the car. Toe-dipper, plunger, or splasher — which kind of person are you? Which kind of person would you like to become?

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” — Bible, Luke 9:51

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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