“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”-Arnold H Glasow
“God gives us dreams a size to big so that we can grow into them.”-Unknown
Lloyd Dobler sits uncomfortably in his shirt and tie, discussing his possible future with the High School Guidance Counselor. When asked what he wants to do with his future, he responds with a long-winded statement that he doesn’t want anything to do with sales, buying or processing…
Later on in the movie he has an epiphany and says “I’m looking for a dare-to-be-great situation.” (Say Anything movie 1989 Directed by Cameron Crowe) What an amazing line. I think we all are looking for the same.
I, like many of the world’s population, love reading/watching/listening to inspirational stories about people overcoming tradedy, misfortune, illness, death, etc. I get fired up hearing about people that pick themselves up from the depths to keep moving forward, accomplishing great tasks and changing the world. The trouble is, I think many of us are waiting for the dare-to-be-great situation, and not working on just being great.
Everyone in the world will go through some struggles, but not everyone (thankfully) will go through horrendous tragedy. We won’t all be stuck pinned between rocks on a hiking trip and have to decide to cut our own arms off for survival (The Aaron Ralston story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eODVWZhYGeI), we won’t all have a life threatening injury just before getting drafted into the NFL, lose the function of an arm, and have to change our lives forever (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu1xOLiVLO4). Most of us won’t find ourselves on a plane hijacked by terrorists with deathly intent, and have to decide to muster up the courage to tell others “Let’s roll” and sacrifice ourselves for the sake of a nation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUrUQN0m79o).
Most of us will not find ourselves in these amazing circumstances.
That doesn’t mean we get to wade through life until a situation such as this comes up and challenges us. We must forge our character, we must be great in our lives, NOW.
I know that in my life, I may not be fighting enemies, or warding off evil spirits that threaten to invade my home. But I do know that every single day I have a wife, and two children who depend on me. I know that on any given day, my job as a Chiropractor will affect the lives of 100 or more people (and their families and their friends). I know that there are people who look up to me. I know there are people I need to learn from. I know that if I sit around half-invested in my life as it is now, hoping for a situation that pulls out the very best in me, one that is worthy of amazing stories, one that is forever encapsulated in the annals of history as an true pinnacle of courage and inspiration… I may just wait around forever.
My (and your’s) dare-to-be-great situation is EVERY situation. Character isn’t forged in the situations that test us. Character is brought out fully in them, but not created. Our character is created in how we live our lives every moment.
Our courage is tested in tough times, but is learned and generated in how we live our lives every waking moment.
The true challenge is to show up as the best version of ourselves (the best version of who we can be that day) every day. To recognize the impact we have on our families, friends, strangers and the entire world and to own that impact and realize its sanctity. True greatness is created from the moment we get up to brush our teeth to the moment we go to bed.
So your challenge is this: Live today as your best self.
Dare to be great! Dare to be YOU!
-Dr. Joel Lindeman