Call It Persevering

Dave Draper's Iron in My Hands

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Compliments are hard to receive and they are often misunderstood. For example, when folks look us in the eyes and tell us we're stubborn, stiff, dull and single-minded airheads, we're caught slightly off guard -- we blink, we fidget and stammer. What they're really saying is that we're persevering, disciplined, patient, goal-seeking positive thinkers. Thank them profusely, adding how much you appreciate their tender encouragement. Friendships are gifts from above.

There is nothing is new under the sun, bombers; you've heard it all before. But there are some things we ought to repeat regularly despite the tedium of the process. They are like reflecting lights that illuminate our way, and our way is one step from the shadow of darkness.

I'm no more serious than a clown in a bull ring. If you find this stuff rigid, it's cuz you're more concerned about the snorting and stomping bull than the smiley clown in the barrel. So, take the next few minutes to read my tiresome indoctrination; call it endurance.

Seek contentment, abhor complacency and do not be anxious about anything. The most we can expect of life is a grand virtue; living it with its hardships and joys, accumulating our time without regret and doing our best and accepting the rest; be honest, true to one's self and give no ear to our critics, who are less pleased with us than we are with ourselves.

Try too hard and we fall on our backsides. Put a squeeze on time and it slips through our hands. Expect too much and our best is never enough. Steady as she goes, bombers, and she'll go a long way, high and far.

Call it persevering...or stubborn.

Set your goals, ample and wise, and seek them with diligence and might. Be unique, be yourself, imitate no one and be kind to those who follow your ways. Work hard, eat right and be consistent, a simple practice that keeps us untethered -- alive and free.

Slip not into apathy, ward off lethargy and boldly resist gluttony, the shallow characteristics typical of the masses crowding our path. Don't compromise those standards set high by your spirit, mind and deeds. Clay feet we have, and soiling our neighbor is too easy to do and so hard to recall. Be careful. Be aware. Be grateful. Be emboldened and filled with joy.

Sounds like disciplined...or stiff.

Wait until you can wait no more, and wait again. Do what's right once, twice and three times. If what you do continues to be right, do it ten times more. The least you've done is something right many times, and practiced a quality of greatness that eludes us day after day. It goes by many names, a favorite of which is persistence.

Be persistent, always, when doing good is troublesome to do, when getting to a worthy place is doubtful and precarious and when giving up a wicked way is painful and slippery.

Courage accompanies this admirable weapon in our arsenal. You've heard of fortitude and marveled at its name. Oh, to have fortitude each morning when the sun rises and each evening when the sun goes down. Nothing wretched before us could endure.

Could be patient...or dull.

Living without constraints and wandering freely are priceless lifestyles with immediate rewards. Looking and seeing, listening and hearing, we learn, imagine, discover, wonder, invent, play and pretend. It's fun. Yet, without aspirations toward which to direct our steps, we go nowhere, get nothing done and accomplish little.

To grow we need a place to go, a purpose to achieve, a target to seek.

Aimlessness and wandering take us around and about, backward and sideways, but they don't move us forward. They don't get us ahead. They don't fulfill our longings.

First objectives, bombers: keep our eyes on the fuel gauge, air speed and altimeter. Ultimate objective: reach our destinations.

This one is definitely, without a doubt, goal-seeking...or single-minded.

Once we know where we are going and how to get there -- decisions made with no small amount of planning and wisdom -- we might consider engraving them on our foreheads or tattooing them on our chests. They are that important. Better yet, imagining our goals and the might employed in gaining them will be far more efficacious to bring them to bear than bizarre physical reminders.

We must see what we want clearly, vividly, passionately in our imaginations, and our creative sub-conscious minds will set to the task of accomplishing the job placed before them.

Our brains, conveniently and carefully located in our relatively small heads, are sophisticated, goal-seeking computers ready to do wonders based on the information we feed them. Feed them well -- no garbage, like doubt or fear or despair -- and they will amaze us with their integrated, highly technical capacity to achieve our goals.

We're smarter than we think.

Hmmm, let me think, this is... er, no... it's, mmm, no, not that either. I can't think right, what's wrong with me? How about... it's iffy... positive thinking...or day dreaming?

We want something, know what we want and want it badly. Good. This will help us achieve it.

Incidentally, we must be certain what we want "badly" is "good." We don't want something we ought not to want, like the money in the local 7-11 cash register or Bobby's girl or several pizzas and beers. We have a way of rationalizing our wants and confusing them with our needs, or possibilities. At 40 or 50, guys, don't expect a huge and ripped body capable of squatting 505 and running the 100-yard-dash in 10 flat. Unlikely. And, girls, 36-26-36 at 46 is another unlikely. As in everything we do, be real.

Let's, for example, strive for a strong, well-built body, which is about as good as "good" gets. Now, practice the visualizing process described above. See, feel, taste, smell and wear that mighty sight as if it were your own. I don't mean get all goofy like a little kid, but close is not a bad idea. Determine the methods required to achieve your goals and implement them with resolve. Know that wavering in your pursuit is foolish, weak and damning to the process.

There'll be times when we give up, no longer care, get sidetracked, misplace inspiration, lose ambition, get lazy, procrastinate, encounter the blues or fall into a slump. That's life, either an affliction or a challenge.

Afflictions attack the weak and take them down; challenges are moments of truth subject to the strong. Push on, press on; tug, pull and squeeze with all your might. The day is ours, by God, to add to our wealth. Don't waste it, make the best of it; smooth its course with repeated treading. Dedication and devotion, they beat like drums.

Absolutely committed...or idiotic. Yup!

At birth we're given a miracle to enjoy, cherish and care for. We call it life. Nothing compares to its splendor and supremacy.

God's speed... Draper


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