The Rabbit on the Swim Team
Back in 5th grade, my good friend Mark Schlossberg (who was the wise one in the bunch) said to me: “Michael, you are not the strongest, or the fastest, but you have the most endurance.” These words have stuck with me all these years and have inspired me to move forward and pursue activities that are in line with my strengths. Although I work on speed and strength, no one will ever mistake me for Usain Bolt or Charles Atlas. So I know at least this much about myself: if I had to choose between activities that accentuate speed, strength, or endurance, I would choose endurance, because I know that I am more likely to succeed at these types of activities.
You might wonder why I include Purpose as an area of health we should pursue. This is actually the late comer to my list, but I believe that it belongs here with the other important areas. For many years the fifth item on my list was finances. Finances are important, but money is only an enabler to fulfill our purpose. The fact that I worked hard and managed my finances well has enabled me to have this time off to write. When I write, “I feel His pleasure” (Chariots of Fire), which is a good indicator that I am on course in fulfilling my purpose.
If you don’t know who you are and what your purpose is, you are more likely to spend your time and energy on activities that you are either not too good at or that yield little satisfaction. This misplaced energy might be distracting you from what you really need (and want) to be doing. You were designed for a purpose and an important first step is to get a better understanding of who “you” is.
I completed my Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development from the University of St. Thomas in 1995. During the course of my studies, I was exposed to a number of assessments that help you identify and understand your motivations and unique design. This is a subject that I have a great interest in, and I plan to write more about it in weeks to come.
For now, I think that I hear Luther V singing one of his cover tunes “Superstar”, originally recorded by the Carpenters in 1971.* We can be a superstar if we know what super powers we have, and what our mission is. I did not design this suit, but I hope that it fits you well.
Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects. The duck was excellent in swimming: in fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying, and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that—except the duck. The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed “charlie horses” from overexertion and so only got a C in climbing and a D in running. The eagle was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a non-conformist. In climbing classes, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.
* This is a reference to the following paragraph from the previous week’s post:
Someone once asked the late great R&B singer Luther Vandross why he sang so many covers of other artists. His response was something like, “If you put on a suit that fits you well, it doesn’t matter whether you designed it, or someone else did.” Likewise, I welcome the insights of others that fit the theme of this group. Good content is like a good meal. You take some truth, add some life experience to it, spice it up with some creativity, and you come up with palatable content that feeds and encourages others.