Throughout each week, leading up to my Sunday posts, my mind is constantly searching (and sometimes racing) for ideas to write about. After posting each blog, I spend some time reflecting on the post, but soon after I begin looking towards the following weekend.
My purpose in looking forward so quickly is two-fold:
- I like to be moving forward and using my past experiences to help me grow in the days, weeks and months to come. From my reflections I learn, and from my acquisition of knowledge I grow – this is the purpose of life.
- I have made a commitment to my followers to post every Sunday. My best work is developed over the course of a week rather than at the last minute on Sunday morning, and I would be remiss in not providing the best possible post I can.
That being said, shortly after posting about having a ‘personal story’ last week, my gears were churning and seeking out ideas for this week’s post. The material I write about is taken from a wide array of sources. At times, it comes from a personal experience that I encountered throughout the week. In other instances, I may have read an article that triggered my imagination with an idea. There are even times when I pray, and ask for help in finding a topic to cover.
Where am I heading with this?
I was attending a church service last Sunday in which the pastor used a story from his personal life to draw relevance to his message for the day. To give some context, I will briefly summarize his experience.
This pastor recently purchased an old motorcycle that was essentially stripped to the frame. Parts were missing, wires not connected and the appearance was not appealing to the eye. As odd as it may sound, the pastor had this epiphany that he could ‘save’ this bike. In committing himself to this project, the pastor was convinced that this bike would one day meet and exceed all of his expectations.
What did the pastor quickly realize?
The pastor had grand plans for this bike. His thoughts immediately turned to painting the fenders and gas tank, getting some new wheels and chroming the exhausts. In his mind the motorcycle would look like something out of a magazine. Then, he realized there was one problem – one big ass problem.
He didn’t know how to connect the wires. He was uncertain how to place the push rods. Were the brake lines hooked up correctly? On the outside, he had grand plans to make the appearance as beautiful as he knew how. But, would the damn thing even run? He didn’t have the slightest idea where to begin on the ‘inside’. The fact that the inside components are what will allow the bike to run caused the pastor to revisit the rebuild process.
What lesson can we learn?
When I reflect on my own life, there were definitely instances in which my ‘insides’ didn’t necessarily align with what my appearance was to those around me. I put on a front to appear all shiny and bright, but deep down I was hurting. There were times when I expressed confidence, but didn’t feel it. I had moments when I said that felt good physically, but the truth was that I wanted to feel better.
To speak on the contrary, I have been fortunate to have experienced several occasions in which what I expressed and showed on the outside was perfectly aligned with what my heart and head felt. After finishing my first marathon, yes, I looked like hell and was in pain, but I was hungry for more and deep down it felt incredible knowing what I just accomplished. In another example, after making my first sale in a new account, I called my dad to tell him about it – I was grinning ear-to-ear, and inside it felt damn good.
When our ‘insides’ (thoughts, emotions and feelings) don’t align with our outward appearance (expressions, actions and words), as humans we will struggle to be truly happy. In this struggle, it will be difficult to build ourselves up so that we can contribute to the greater good. We have the ability to alter both, but truthfully, our appearance is not going to dictate our long term happiness. When we can get a grip on being honest with what we think and feel, we can begin to build relationships and a community of stronger people.
So, what are your insides telling you? Are your inner emotions and feelings congruent with your appearance? Do you have grand plans for how to express yourself so that you can cover up the truth?
The motorcycle will never run if you focus solely on the outside and forget to connect the engine. Life is the same way – connect your engine first, get it running efficiently and happiness and success are sure to follow!