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Be The Best You That You Can Be: A Moment With Bill Reflection
What Do You Want?
“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
~ Henry Van Dyke
I am reminded of the movie “The Natural” with Robert Redford. In it he plays baseball great Roy Hobbs, and I am thinking of one scene with Glenn Close where Hobbs says that he could have been the greatest player who ever lived…..and Close says…..”and then what?” And he goes on to explain that then people would stop on the streets when he passed by, and ask for autographs, and lavish him with other forms of praise. And she just smiles a knowing smile and looks off wistfully….and then says….”but you are so good now, Roy.”
I know I’ll never be Harper Lee. I don’t have that kind of literary genius in me. On my best day I can write maybe one or two sentences that would deserve to be in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” One or two sentences….and that’s on my best day. On my mediocre days I couldn’t carry Harper Lee’s notebook without dropping it, let alone write like her.
Nor will I ever write as well as Ernest Hemingway. I might be able to give Mariel Hemingway a run for her money in the writing game, but not so her famous grandfather.
So should I give up? Should I throw in the proverbial towel, lick my literary wounds and slink back to the classroom to once again teach, or possibly fade into retirement and take up lawn bowling or some other age-appropriate activity?
I will never be as great as the legends in this business….but….I can be the best Bill Holland the world has ever known, and on certain days that is pretty darn good.
Speaking of My Teaching Years
Oh the stories I could tell from my eighteen years in the classroom. Let me begin by saying I loved teaching. I was always a bit blown away that they were actually paying me a salary to do something I adored doing. I woke up each day eager to get to “work,” and often times summer vacation seemed cruelly long as I was chomping at the bit to get back to my students.
There were bad moments of course, and many of them related to the angst I saw in my students. Kids start out with such lofty dreams. I’m going to be a pro football player; I’m going to be President; I’m going to fly to the moon and I’m going to be the greatest rock musician who ever lived. Slowly, as reality and awareness of their limitations overcame them, you could see the light of hope flickering in their eyes, growing dimmer and dimmer with each passing year. Many would return years later to visit and tell me about their lives, a recitation of the mundane and an admittance that their dreams had died and they were never going to be “the greatest.”
Is there anything sadder than a dream that has died and a psyche on life-support?
A great feel good story of success
- Don't Stop Believing: The Story of Arnel Pineda and Journey
For all of you struggling with your craft, this story should provide a boost of inspiration. This is a wonderful, true story of determination and following one's dream.
A feel good story of redemption
From the Streets of Manilla
This past weekend as I was enjoying a self-imposed ban on writing, I spent some time watching music videos of Arnel Pineda, the new singer for the rock group Journey. His story is remarkable. By the time he was thirteen he was homeless, a street hustler, singing for nickels and dimes, hooked on drugs and booze, barely surviving. He had been given at birth a remarkable voice; certainly not the greatest voice ever but a remarkable one all the same; he had also been given the determination and spirit of a warrior. Twenty-five years after those street survival days he is world famous and making millions of dollars with one of the greatest rock bands in history.
A remarkable voice but certainly not the greatest of all time…….”use what talents you possess……”
There are seven billion people on this planet and every single damn one of them is unique, a combination of flesh and blood and brainwaves and personality that makes them unlike anyone ever born in the past or ever to be born in the future, a DNA cocktail that will never be duplicated by natural birth.
Each one has talents. Very few are the greatest at anything, but how lacking society would be if only the greatest entertained us? If only the greatest invented for us? If only the greatest produced for us and dreamed for us and explored for us?
I Am Sickened
I am convinced that every single person has a talent. I am convinced that every human being on this planet has a mountain of possibilities, but so many remain at base camp unsure or unwilling to begin the climb to the top, trapped in a catatonic existence of inertia.
Of course life can be difficult. Of course we are inundated with negative experiences and beaten down by challenges seemingly so overwhelming as to offer no hope…..but….to succumb to the negatives is beneath us as human being. Given wings to fly among the immortals, many sit with a pair of scissors and clip their own wings, never to fly again.
And how sad is that?
The solution is not easy but it does exist. Become the best you that you can be! I will never be the greatest writer who ever lived, but I can still be the greatest writer named Bill Holland who ever lived and that is enough for me. By being the best Bill Holland I will have reached my own personal mountaintop and I have to tell you, the view from on high will be spectacular.
Something to think about
- Is That All There Is? A Moment With Bill
The continuing series that looks at life and tries to make sense of it all. Today we take a look at the direction we take with our lives and is it all worth it?
So What Is Holding You Back?
Only you can answer that question, but once you do then the path is cleared and ready for you to traverse it.
I can hear the Naysayers right now…..I DON’T HAVE ANY TALENTS! LIFE IS TOO DIFFICULT! NOBODY BELIEVES IN ME! I DON’T HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM! THE CARDS ARE STACKED AGAINST ME!
And as long as you believe those things then you are a self-fulfilling prophet.
History is littered with stories of average people with above-average determination. History is littered with stories of little people becoming giants. History is littered with people just like you who refused to believe that life was nothing more than a series of unfulfilled dreams and broken promises.
Are you the best that you can be?
So Here Is What I Want You to Do
Sit down right now…right this very damn minute….and write down your talents. What is there about you that makes you unique? What special blend of personality and physical gifts can be used to springboard you into your new life of greatness?
Now ask yourselves what it is that you want out of life. What are your goals and dreams and aspirations….and now make a plan.
The most beautiful homes ever built began with a foundation. From there the walls were framed with studs and the beams were added; the wiring and plumbing followed, and months after that first slab of concrete was poured a showcase home was completed….and so it shall be with you.
I do not want to hear about the difficulties. Overcome them! I do not want to hear about your limitations. Rise above them! I do not want to hear that you are not pretty enough or smart enough or talented enough. All I want to hear is that you have begun travelling down the road to become the best you that you can be.
Are you ready? The past is dead and buried. The future will unfold in time. Today is when it all begins.
Be the best you that you can be, and when that final day comes when the last breath rattles in your throat and the colors begin to fade to gray and then darkness, you will look back to this day as the day of rebirth….and you will smile….and then you will soar as you were meant to do.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”