Be All You Can Be: Unlimited Possibilities
A GLIMPSE AT HISTORY
I have always been fascinated by those pioneers who crossed the country on the Oregon Trail. Although romanticized over the years, the journey itself was a grueling, six-month test of endurance and determination, and quite often the journey ended, not in Oregon, but by the side of the Trail with a wooden cross marking the passing of one more lost dream.
Consider, if you will, a Kentucky farm family in the 1850’s. The life they had always known could be defined by back-breaking work, sun up to sun down, and a constant struggle to eke out a subsistence living. Word of riches and new opportunities reaches their farm, and for months they think of nothing other than a far-off land called Oregon. Yes, they have heard that it is a dangerous trip. They have heard of wild Indians, and the Great Plains, and of mountains so high and so challenging, but still….still….their thoughts always return to the unlimited possibilities.
And so they sell everything and cram their necessities into a covered wagon, say goodbye to extended family members, and lead their oxen west towards the great, and frightening, unknown.
As is so often the case, speaking of the unknown, and facing the unknown, are two different things, and so it was on the Oregon Trail. Day after day they trudge forward, ten, twelve miles per day, the sun unrelenting, their legs so tired they can’t imagine facing another day, but still they push on. By the time they reach Nebraska even speaking is too exhausting, but what, really would they speak about if they had the strength? The prairie stretches forever, there are no trees, there is only desolation, but still they push on, because to delay is to tempt fate. They are always aware that winter comes early to the Rockies, so they must push harder still.
Along the way people die; that’s just the reality of this trip. Disease, accidents, gunshots, all take their toll on their traveling companions. The wind is constant, dust blows through their food and into their dirt-caked faces, and still they push forward. By the time they reach the Rocky Mountains they are too tired to fear; all they know to do is put one foot in front of the other and face west. Say a few words at the grave of a friend, scavenge for game because the flour is running low, and pray the Indians allow them safe passage.
Finally, with the Willamette River in sight, they drop to their knees and say a prayer of thanks, and then set out to begin a new life and face new challenges.
As a species we have risen to the top of the food chain. We have used our superior intellect and determination to claw out a spot in history, to lay claim of domination in the evolutionary process. We were given gifts that no other species was rewarded, and our history is littered with stories of incredible accomplishments.
For mankind, even the sky was not a limit, for we mastered the art of flight, and then turned our attention to the stars and beyond. We pushed aside obstacle after obstacle, refusing to believe in limitations, the chosen ones destined for immortality.
Tell us we can’t do something and we will set about proving you wrong. Tell us it is impossible and we will make you eat those words. Tell us that it is dangerous and we will do as our ancestors did, face down our own personal elephant and spit in its eyes.
We are mankind and we control our own destiny!
Sit With Me Awhile
SO HERE WE ARE TODAY
I was raised to believe in unlimited possibilities! I was raised to believe in my potential, and to believe that dreams are just visions of future accomplishments. In fact, I was raised to believe that the only limitations are those I place on myself.
Do I still believe that today? Most definitely! I can look back over the last sixty-three years and see without a doubt that the only times that I have fallen short of dreams were because of my own actions, or inactions.
At a time when many people consider retirement, I am still dreaming big, livin’ large and lovin’ life, and wondering where my next adventure will take me.
Why is that not true for everyone?
Please, do not tell me I live in some fantasy world where reality is distorted by utopian visions. I have been homeless. I have been tortured and beaten down by my own frailties. Despite the struggle and self-imposed chains, I believe in unlimited possibilities.
I understand the pioneers who went west despite horrendous odds. I understand the Pilgrims who sailed from Europe not knowing if they would live or die. I suspect that we all understand that spirit, that quest, and that thirst for the unknown. It is in us all, and it is straining at the chains, attempting to break free.
Food For Thought
- Self Esteem: Soar With The Eagles
What is holding you back from being the best that you can be? It is time to throw away the excuses and the self-doubt; spread your wings and fly!
A Book To Consider
- Lifestyle Choices: William D. Holland: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Lifestyle Choices: William D. Holland: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
YES, IT IS IN US ALL
One certain truth that cannot be denied is that life is not getting any shorter. The average life span in the United States is around 78 years; some countries, like Japan, can expect an additional four years. With those figures in mind, I have now lived 82% of my expected life span. Now there is a sobering fact! How about you? 30%? 50%? How much more time do you have left?
I’m sure my father thought he had many more years left. He was about to celebrate his 50th birthday when he dropped dead of a heart attack. His unlimited possibilities came to an end that day, and yet I have him to thank for my belief that we are all capable of wondrous things.
So what is holding so many people back?
I suspect, for many, fear is the greatest obstacle faced. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, and fear of the unknown. Yes, many of those Oregon pioneers finished the trip to Oregon, but how many stopped, contemplated the dangers that lurked ahead of them, and turned around and headed back for the comfort and safety of the familiar life they had just left?
I suspect, for many, lack of confidence and low self-esteem are the culprits that impose an invisible prison and restrict any bold movements forward. I am sure there were thousands east of the Mississippi who wanted to make that journey out west, but who refused to believe that they were capable of doing so.
I suspect, for many, lack of support from friends and loved ones, leave them unable or unwilling to take a chance and reach for the unreachable.
All valid reasons for not believing in unlimited potential! Fear is real! Low self-esteem is real! Solitude and loneliness are real
WHAT MORE COULD PLEASE THE SOUL…..?
“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.”
Think of those incredible words by one of my favorite authors. My purpose is to grow into a mountain! How many of us can say those words and commit our actions to achieving a state of mountainhood?
Yes, life gets in the way! We get so busy with the business of life, so comfortable with the business of life, that we fail to reach outside of the comfort zone. I make no judgment regarding that; I simply state fact.
I want you all to, at the very least, consider what possibilities lie in front of you, waiting for you to reach for them; then I want you to reflect upon what it is that keeps you from striving for higher ground. If you can honestly say that you have reached your potential then it is truly time to celebrate. If, however, there are still goals that have not been met; if there are still challenges that are left to be challenged; if there are still chains that need to be broken, then your time is short and perhaps you might want to take the first steps.
I had a baseball coach who once told us that, at the end of the game, it was important that we had left everything we had out on that field. Every ounce of effort, every skill that we possessed, all must be expended during the game so that we didn’t look back with regret. That is how I feel about life!
We have been given the gifts necessary to attain greatness. An entire universe of possibilities awaits us.
Are we going to conquer our own Oregon Trail, or will we stall out, turn around, and head back to the safety of our comfort zone?
Man was not created to be average! Man was created to achieve greatness! Are you ready? Are you willing? If so, then take your first steps today, for there are no guarantees that there will be a tomorrow!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)