Here is another incredible guest post by Chadrick Black, author of The Greatest Harvest. You can follow him on Facebook. You can guest post as well! Read how to here.
There is an exercise I’ve asked groups to complete in the past when “lack of motivation” begins to disrupt their goals. It goes something like this:
Step 1:Find a large oak tree and walk under its massive branches until you find an acorn.
Step 2: Place an acorn in the palm of your hand. Step
3: Look up. A majestic tree that can overshadow you in size is staring you in the face.
Step 4: Look down. In the palm of your hand you hold the ingredients for the oak tree that consumes the sky above you.
Step 5: Place the acorn in your pocket or purse as a reminder of what can happen to your life when a dream, goal or resolution is made a priority and kept a priority!
I’m always reminded of the above exercise as each New Year arrives and so many of us make declarations to “change” habits, lifestyles or careers.
But you know how the routine goes for most. Beginning January 1st, you have a desire to commit time each day to your dream. You’re excited! You’re pumped! You can already see the finish line and taste success! All is going as planned for the first few weeks or months!
One morning, you wake up and your body is tired, the kids are sick, deadlines are flying by at work and, truthfully, your development isn’t where you thought it would be. Even your coworkers and friends may have stopped asking about your progress or offering encouragement.
While in the shower, you begin thinking about all you have to do that day, as well as making a mental list of all the things others expect of you. You’re overwhelmed and your stress level begins to elevate. And with a desire for balance, security and control, you begin entertaining a simple thought that finally becomes the first of many small defeats. I’ll skip working on __________ today and disregard the promise I’ve made to myself, so I can complete the priorities and promises I’m allowing others to make for me. (Maybe you have never actually said or thought these exact words, but I believe that is what our excuses sound like to our dreams.)
On the days we are motivated about our dreams, we feel good and life is positive. But the challenges of everyday life ensure that “how we feel” isn’t always a reliable source of fuel for long-term success. There are going to be hard times, discouraging moments, roadblocks and setbacks. Therefore, if you want real long-term results with your New Year’s resolution, remember these few tips:
- An attitude of “I’m committed as long as life and others allow me” lets priorities slip and slide straight out of our daily routine. Before committing to a New Year’s goal or dream, pledge to build a whatever-it-takes attitude to keep your goal or dream firmly in place all year long.
- When the world hears us say, “I forgot,” “I gave up” or “I didn’t have time,” many times our souls hear the words, I simply did not make it enough of a priority.
- A gentleman I remember as Father Murphy once made a profound statement I keep close to my heart, as well as a visual reminder on my desk. He simply declared, “If I give up on my dreams today, all of my tomorrows are up for grabs.” It has been more than 10 years, and I still think of that statement almost every day.
- When you need motivation this year, take time to visit an oak tree in your neighborhood or yard. Complete the exercise above and remember how the acorn became the oak. It started by taking life one day at a time, using the resources it has been given, holding its ground when storms developed, and being patient while waiting on the rain. But most importantly, remember the acorn became the oak tree first and foremost because … It didn’t give up.
Question: How does this effect your 2012?
27 thoughts on “Acorns, Dreams, and New Year Resolutions”
The biggest take away from this post is accomplishing goals is about effort, not ability. Not achieving them is not a reflection of who you are and what you’re capable of. Rather, not achieving them and chalking it up to “time,” is only a reflection of the mindset you took while achieving them. Goals are about growth and growth only comes from effort.
So true…so true!!
Dude you gotta read “Mindset.” You will love it and find ways to immediately implement it. Like the DISC, it increases understanding of people to help teach, inspire, help people motivate themselves and accomplish more for longer periods of time. MB and I have been discussing it almost every day, which has wet her appetite big time to read it. Just discussing it her given her ideas to try on her piano students to help them overcome barriers and progress. Understanding this stuff could be the difference between a student dropping out of piano and going on to be a tremendous player.
Dang! With that review, I’m in!!
The book sounds great – I’m ordering!
I once saw a sign on a wall that relates to this. Don’t worry if your work is hard and your rewards are few. Remember, the mighty oak was once a nut like you.
Reminds me of what I tell my new drawing students – the only ones who don’t learn to draw from me are the ones who quit too soon.
And, when someone says “my drawing looks awful”, I always say “That is because you aren’t finished yet!”
Or as Churchill said “Nevuh nevuh nevuh give up” (I forget how many “nevuhs” there were.)
Ooh, who is that shadow-head and where is my picture??
Hahaha..I think 7, but he quit too soon.
Hahaha! (or did I give up too soon on the ha’s?
In the book Mindset that I told Chris about below, the author uses art, which people often think is purely talent based, as one of her many examples of how having a growth mindset (one focused on learning, effort and growth) can help someone become a very good or great artist. It’s all about effort and learning to see what you need to see or feel what you need to feel.
Thank you, Joel. I will add this book to my list, because I constantly teach that drawing is a skill, not a talent AND that the harder we work, the more “talented” we become.
I will definitely put this book on my list – sounds great.
This is a good reminder as our lives are already starting to get hectic this year. I’m also reminded that all it takes is for “one little nut” to hold his ground to become a mighty oak tree! We need to hold our ground more in life!
One little nut, Eric?! HA! Well, I fit that category!
It’s a great reminder that small things can turn into great things. But also a great reminder that they don’t get there overnight! So often when I start working on a goal, I want to see results – and I want to see them NOW. We’ve got to put in the hard work of sowing before we do the reaping.
Continuing the analogy, this is what happens to your “acorns” if you don’t work to turn your dreams into goals… a little hungry greedy furry creature will take them away and stash them in a hole. It’s a scary world out there, but the scariest thing is to have that acorn buried in the ground bearing no fruit, or feeding someone else’s needs and dreams… Time, effort and patience will pay off and you will grow as the oak, bearing enough fruit to grow other trees and even to feed the chipmunks.
A grim reminder to me that without FOCUS my dreams can get carried away by that greedy furry creature Lily is talking about! I love Father Murphy’s statement – may need to write that out and post myself.
Chadrick! As you say, it is a matter of prioritizing in our life. When we set a goal with deadline, we tend to move our focus towards it. And, I feel self discipline and persistence goes a long way in breaking our bad habits and starting a new resolution for betterment. Your story of acorn and oak tree offers a great perspective to me. Thanks.
To follow up to this, something needs to crack the acorn to start the process of growing into a majestic oak. So even before it gets going, there are struggles. Just like our dreams and goals, there will be struggles along the way, but Don’t Give Up!
What a great reminder! I loved the nugget: use the resources you have been given. Very powerful statement. Thanks for sharing!