“Stop focusing on what you don’t have and what people might think.”
Life isn’t easy. If you are not careful, it will start living you instead of you living it. To live your life, you have to stop focusing on what you don’t have and what other people might think. The following story illustrates my point:
My wife and I recently attended a Dave Chappelle performance. He told a serious story about when he was in the 8thgrade. He asked his father for three dollars to attend a class dance. His father told him he didn’t have the dollars, but Dave could see if there was enough money in the penny jar they kept. Frustrated, Dave asked his father, “Why are we so poor?” His father’s response was profound: “We are not poor; we are broke. Poor is a state of mind; broke is a state of finances.” Dave went to the dance with that jar of pennies. He put up with all of the kids laughing as he counted out 300 pennies. He went on to have a great time at the dance.
Hearing Dave tell that story caused me to think back to the 6th-grade when I wanted to run in the school’s 100-yard dash race but my tennis shoes were completely worn out. I wore my cousin’s shoes. She was from the country and her shoes were very odd looking, pointy-toe ones. Back then all of the kids wore Chuck Taylor tennis shoes. When I walked in, the other kids laughed hysterically at me. I went to the start line and got into position. Similar to Dave, I had a great time running the race. I just barely missed winning it.
Both situations were breakthrough, living-life moments for Dave and me. Little did we know at that young age that we were demonstrating leadership. Specifically, our ability to work with what we had; our willingness to show up differently; and our ability to not let being initially ridiculed to stop us from having a great time.
Throughout life that 6thgrade moment always came to mind whenever I hesitated to do something I wanted to do because of focusing on what I didn’t have or what I thought other people might think. Whenever you find yourself thinking that way, life is living you.
In closing, go to your penny jar, put on your pointy-toe shoes and start living life.