Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Highlight Experiences

Fourteen years ago I walked up a gangway and ventured out for a 100-day trip around the world. I viewed this unique study abroad program as a once-in-a-lifetime experience because I didn’t think that someone like me—from my neighborhood, with my history, with my financial situation, with no personal example to mirror where I was headed—could live “this way” for life. In fact, at the start of the journey I flirted with feeling like I didn’t deserve to be there and as a result, I didn’t allow myself to consider the possibility that I could achieve such greatness again.

Far too many of us don’t allow ourselves to dream in variations of greatness. That’s why we hear remember-when stories so often. Get a group of people together and suddenly, we are ear-deep in stories that begin with, “Remember that one time...” Trips down memory lane can be entertaining and fun, but they are detrimental if those trips are the only time we feel accomplished, satisfied, or fulfilled.

You may have had a phenomenal childhood and life hasn’t been as kind to you since. It’s possible that your childhood was challenging and your adult life has not been much better. No matter the circumstances please know that you are not limited to one highlight experience. You do not live for that "one time" during high school or college. Living with the belief that your best years have already passed constrains your behavior because it has already constrained your mind. Once you believe that you can’t have better you surrender the will to hope for and to do better.

I will always fondly think back on my study abroad experience. It generously provided me with a comparative look at nine cultures, gifted me with beautiful friendship, helped me discover some truths about myself, opened my mind to the possibility of greatness, and taught me the greatness that exists in the concept of possibility. Even still, when I stepped off of that ship at the end of that voyage, I never conceded that I had reached my quota for highlight experiences. With that greatness fresh in my mind, I carried the desire and hope to create and be open to many more highlight experiences for the rest of my life.

You can still have highlight experiences, but each one of them starts with your thoughts. Discover your self truths. Open your mind to the possibility of greatness. Welcome the greatness that exists in the concept of possibility. Hope is not to be feared.

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