Uphill both ways

When I was a kid my dad used to tell me a story about how when he was my age he had to “walk uphill both ways to school”. Occasionally this was combined with an aggressive slamming of his baseball mitt sized hand to his chest with a sidebar of “..and the snow was this high! You don’t know how good you’ve got it.”

As an adult I know that he meant this as a story that would motivate me. What I’ve since realised is that often the way we interpret things can be dark and scary OR overwhelmingly motivating. It is all about how we chose to take it.

The words he was saying were about how life could be hard and that likely someone nearby had it worse than I did. In hindsight this isn’t a bad lesson, though I wish he had placed a little focus on what I could be doing to make that other person’s life a little bit better, but he wasn’t that type of guy. Most of his stories roll up to being about looking out for number one.

What troubles me is what the kid in me heard when he told that story. I heard that life is always going to be a struggle. I heard that nobody was going to help you find a shorter, easier way. I heard that you should not complain and just trudge through.

This lesson served to damage a little seed inside me that was trying to grow into something soft and kind and it has taken a long time for me to release that outlook. Today I hear a very different message from his words and this is the one I want to share with you.

If the road in front of you is hard, do not be afraid, be brave and optimistic. The laws of physics are on your side. No route should be uphill both ways. That is not to say that your path will be an easy one to travel. Life is only as hard as you make it. If the track you are on says that you should suffer, stop and question everything about it.

Ask yourself if there is a different way over, under, around, or through. Ask yourself if this was the way you wanted to go in the first place because sometimes a left turn takes you to where you should have been heading all along.

Do not accept the status quo. Learn from things that do not go your way and choose not to allow things not going in your favour to stop you on your journey to greatness. 

Make the decision that you are the only one who can change the rules for you and those who come after you.

One choice, one decision, one mistake, one obstacle will not make or break you, but sitting down and letting the world crush the seeds of awesome inside you will. Sometimes plans don’t go our way. Sometimes we need a better plan, or better yet we need to collaborate with awesome people to create a new way forward all together.

My dad told me a story that was supposed to lift me up and it crushed me for a while. That is a reality of how each of us interprets the things we hear and see. It took longer than it otherwise might have for my little seed to push past these obstacles and bloom.

I consider myself lucky that I was able to hear it differently today because so many hopes and dreams are lost in these situations of misinterpretation.

In light of our global political climate, I want to remind everyone that this single setback should not serve to crush the seeds of hope that have been planted. It may delay the blooms the way a late frost might, but I am here to remind you that summer is coming and together we can make a more beautiful world.

Join me in a left turn towards greatness.

I don’t usually talk politics…

Growing up my parents had opposing opinions on politics and I learned that political conversations shouldn’t leave the kitchen table.  They rarely agreed on much in terms of candidates or platforms, but they always came to the same point.  You could have your opinion as long as you acted on it.

This lesson stayed with me.  You must have your vote placed and counted to deserve the right to an opinion be it good or bad in another’s eyes.

Don’t like your mayor?  Did you vote for or against him/her or did you stay home and eat pizza?

So…why  am I talking politics today?

Too many of us don’t vote.  We don’t voice our opinions where they have impact.  We need to start.  We need the people that we elect to impact what we want our cities, countries and world to reflect.

The magic of living in countries where we can select our leaders is that we can choose the ones that reflect ourselves.

Our world is in trouble.  The resources are starting to diminish faster than they restore.  Our kids are obese and brand logos are more familiar than authors or types of trees to them.  Our politicians select weapons over words. Our food is modified. Our world has changed and the only way to ensure it is changing the right way is by voicing our opinions on ballots.

Please vote.  Vote for your Mayor, the leader of your country and any other role that you can help to select.

I don’t care who you support.

Red, Blue, Left, Right.

Do what matters to you.  But please.  Act on your views by casting your vote.