Posts Tagged ‘quirks’

LEGACY 18: NOT Being AVERAGE

June 3, 2018

I think I found the point to the question my son raised about mm blogpost NOT FITTING THE MOLD, the question of what my point really was. My point was, and is, that I CHOOSE NOT to be AVERAGE. Gary M. (“Not Fitting the Mold”) is admirable to me in that respect.

Sometimes, we figure out what we want by realizing what we DON’T want.

Ironically, I found this answer become clear while reading an assignment for a mastermind group on Growth I’m in. (The entire quote is below, so you can read it if you like.)

I value differences (see my blogpost on Quirks), especially those which propel us to greatness, even if that greatness is not seen by many, or even not seen at all. Being extra-ordinary, “other than ordinary”, is great in multiple senses of the word. It is great in the common sense of “That’s great!” But it is also great in that it elevates us in the eyes of others (when seen) and elevates us in our sense of being significant whether seen or no. It creates its own grandeur.

Extraordinary is right. Extraordinary is good. Extraordinary is what brings change and growth and life and laughter and love. And being extraordinary requires a choice. It sometimes requires work, and sometimes requires swimming upstream.

My life has been very different than most. I would not trade that for anything. Being NOT AVERAGE in a great way is what I choose for my legacy. I choose being extra-ordinary.

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“Average” is what the failures claim to be when their family and friends ask them why they are not more          successful.

“Average” is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which of these are you?

“Average” means being run-of-the-mill, mediocre, insignificant, an also-ran, a nonentity.

Being “average” is the lazy person’s cop-out; it’s lacking the guts to take a stand in life; it’s living by default.

Being “average” is to take up space for no purpose; to take the trip through life, but never to pay the fare; to return no interest on God’s investment in you.

Being “average” is to pass one’s life away with time, rather than to pass one’s time away with life; it’s to kill time, rather than to work it to death.

To be “average” is to be forgotten once you pass from this life. The successful are remembered for their contributions; the failures are remembered because they tried; but the “average,” the silent majority, is just forgotten.

To be “average” is to commit the greatest crime one can against one’s self, humanity, and one’s God. The saddest epitaph is this: “Here lies Mr. and Ms. Average—here lies the remains of what might have been, except for their belief that they were only “average.”

–Edmund Gaudet, as quoted in Chapter 10, “The Law of the Rubber Band: Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You Are and Where You Could Be,” THE 15 INVALUABLE LAWS OF GROWTH by John Maxwell (Hachette Book Group, 2012)

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LEGACY 15: The Value of Our Quirks, Foibles, Weaknesses and Uniquenesses

May 28, 2018

(In the initial writing of this, written 5/1/15, I used people’s full names, but here deleted them to maintain their privacy. Otherwise, it is posted as originally written with only minor corrections for clarity and time passage. Geneva Anderson [www.genevaanderson.orgdid go to Las Vegas and was a finalist, but did not win. She passed away this past December, but left a wonderful legacy with stories like “Light the Pink Candle,” which I may share in a future blogpost.

The story of my wife happened the last day of 1998, around 2 p.m. She passed away at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Having been a business administration major, and managing the financial aspects of our business, it was almost as if she had planned it that way. I treasure that thought as part of the memory.)

Mostly, we do not get to choose the unique qualities in our makeup that differentiate us from others. We often disparage them, wish them gone, rue their bane in our existence. But sometimes, in our striving for, and reaching, greatness, we are able to capitalize on them and make them truly our own in a powerful way.

I think of Gary S., a member of a networking group I’m in, sharing about the death of a former member before his time in our group, finding out to his horror minutes later that it was the mother of the member, and that she may not have even died. We all felt his pain—we’ve all been there, and are glad when are only watching. I think of Janie V’s eyesight problems that necessitate using a magnifying glass to read up close and require having a driver to travel—yet she has successfully created her thriving own real estate brokerage. I think of Geneva Anderson’s two-decade battle with cancer, her decision a few years back to launch out to become a professional speaker and coach, leading to her second state championship in Toastmasters with a speech about that journey that was both humorous and poignant. (She’s headed to Las Vegas in a few months, hopefully to become the national champion).

We mostly fail to realize how memorable our quirks, foibles, and weaknesses make us to those who know us, and how much they endear us to those whose lives we impact. I think of Joseph B., a successful business coach and Biblical counselor, whom I invited to a men’s prayer breakfast. His 20-minute testimony of his life’s journey included the story of his father’s valor in World War II, which he did not learn of until 2 decades after his father’s death, in the settling of the estate immediately after his mother’s death. He also shared about the success of having funded and founded 2 schools, left them still impacting kids, and embarking on another career—only to be betrayed by having a past accusation of which he was exonerated brought to light, and being forced to resign. He was moved to tears sharing these powerful stories. Of the 10 other men at that breakfast that day besides him and me, 3 of them came up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me for inviting me. One stated that it was one of the most moving times he had seen in the breakfast group, which has been in existence for almost four decades.

And I could tell many other stories like this that have caused me to smile with fond memories.

For me personally, the most memorable is the story of my final interaction with my wife of 25 years, who died suddenly on New Year’s Eve 1998, in a manner that almost seemed eerily planned—she had been a business major and the CFO of our business—a CPA could not have structured it better for uncomplicated tax returns. She had gone into the hospital the first week of December, had already had 6 major operations, been in intensive care the first and last weeks, and was headed into what would prove to be her final operation at 2 pm that day.

Lying on the gurney in the basement beside the elevator of a hospital, with plastic draped over some construction areas adjoining, she said to me, “Get that dog over there.”

I said, “What dog?”

She said, “That dog over there.”

I walked over a few feet, acted like I was doing something, came back and said, “OK. I took care of it,” or something to that effect.

She looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t lie to me, Ken Stewart!”

Stunned, I stood immovable as the elevator doors opened. They took her, and those were her final words to me.

I still laugh when I remember them.