Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sunday Wisdom: But I Gotta Have It NOW!

We live in a world of immediate gratification. If the internet doesn’t find our desired website in less than a half-second, we complain the connection is too slow. If our best friend doesn’t respond to our tweet right away, we turn to our cell phone to send them a text. If we hear a song we like, we push the buttons for an instant download. And the list goes on.

Not a one of us seems to have an ounce of patience anymore when it comes to getting what we want.

Now, you might think that’s good. If we don’t have the patience to wait, then surely that means we have the drive to push forward until we succeed. But do we really? Does impatience reap hard work and dedication, or leave us frustrated and mad when we don’t get what we want?

Like the two-year-old who throws a temper tantrum, yelling “But I WANT it!” do we sometimes throw a tantrum of our own when gratification isn’t as immediate as we want it?

And what about rejection, when the answer stays NO? Do we lose all focus about our long-range goals because something we see as important or desired in the here-and-now doesn’t work out the way we want it?

In the past I’ve heard a couple of stories that illustrate the concept “Champions make decisions that create the future they desire–Losers make decisions that create the present they desire.”

Perhaps you’ve heard the story about Superstar NBA basketball icon Michael Jordan. When Michael was a sophomore in high school he tried out for the school team, and he didn’t make the cut. The coach thought Jordan would never be much of a basketball player. He was short and untalented, missed too many shots during try-outs, and overall didn’t seem like an asset to the team.

Michael could have taken that message to heart by leaving the game of basketball behind. But instead he realized that if he wanted to make the team, he was going to have to work, and work HARD.

For hours each day, Michael would stand in the driveway to his house, shooting the basketball into the hoop. Free throws, lay-ups, even a little one-on-one until his skills improved.

The next year when he tried out for the team, the coach didn’t think he was the same young man. Not only had he grown in height, but his growth as a player was phenomenal.

And we all know the rest of the story. Michael Jordan is considered the finest player to ever grace the game. His dedication to hard work continued throughout his entire NBA career. He saw the value of patience, and used that extra time to his best advantage.

In a similar story, once a master pianist was approached by a concert-goer and the conversation went like this:

“I would give anything to play the piano like that but I just never had the time,” the concert-goer said.

To which the master pianist replied, “I did. I gave my life.”

Like Michael Jordan, the master pianist did not stop before he even started. Practice, combined with dedication and hard work gave him the skills of a master.

There are things in our day to day life that we think we want. Trinkets we believe we must have, even when we can’t afford them. Relationships we want but which we don’t work to fully develop. Values we want to attain, but which we don’t live in accordance with reaching them.

If we someday want to be like our Master, then we, too, need to work hard.

You’ve likely heard the statement often attributed in pop culture to Jesus: “I didn’t say it would be easy, only that it would be worth it.”

The only way we will ever have it NOW, is to get started working toward whatever it is that we want immediately. Make you choices, set your goals, put yourself in the right circumstance, then get busy.

Your gratification will come in the power and pride you feel within yourself during the process, but the reward only comes when we keep in mind to have it NOW, we have to also be working.

No comments: