September and October are my favorite months of the year. While the cooler temperatures are always nice, it’s the beautiful natural scenery that always captures my attention. The way the morning and evening light colors the surroundings is worth stopping to notice.
It’s easy to be distracted, rushing through life and not noticing our surroundings. For this reason, I think it’s so important to not only be on the lookout for the beauty around us, but to stop and take it in when we see it.
I’ve found that what I’m actively looking for, I usually see more of.
Last week my wife and I were at the Sol Duc River in Olympic National Park. This park is filled with striking natural beauty, from alpine vistas and glaciers, to rain forests, to remote beaches. However, what captured my attention (and respect) most in the park were the returning runs Coho salmon.
We happened to be in the park when these magnificent fish were making their way upstream to reach their home waters to spawn. There is a section on the Sol Duc called “Salmon Cascades” where you could watch the salmon move from the deep pool below and being ascending this swift current between them and their destination. It was a mesmerizing site to see. On one stop, we spent 90 minutes watching, yet it only felt like we were there for just a few moments.
What impressed me most about these salmon was their determination in the face of such a formidable challenge (a swift rapid in this case). They’d make an attempt at ascending a rapid and either bounce off a rock or not quite make it, yet you never saw a salmon give up and head back down stream to the calmer water. Instead, they’d reposition and try again, and again, and again, as often as was necessary.
For the salmon, I think that determination is hard-wired into them. (I’m not a fish biologist, so I’m not certain, but I have a feeling that’ show God made them.) However, for us, when we face significant challenges, we can set our minds to be determined to reach our goals, or we can just to figuratively drift back downstream.
In last week’s post, I mentioned someone we know who had lost 70 pounds over the last 8 months. While most people are inspired by the results, I am inspired by the discipline required to achieve such a feat.
Everyone wants the positive results of a significant accomplishment. However, it seems that the discipline required to achieve the accomplishment is often a price that many people are unwilling to pay. And without the discipline, the results will never show up.
That’s what inspires me about disciplined people. They decide that they’re going to make the tough choices and necessary sacrifices (which is what discipline actually is) that will put them on a collision course with the results they desire.
Their discipline inspires me to be disciplined in areas in my life where I’m seeking positive change.
My wife recently told me about a Facebook post someone we know made where they talked about how they lost 70lbs since January of this year. That’s amazing to me! I’m always impressed by people who decide how they want their life to look, and then take the steps to cause it to happen. Their behavior says a lot about what they think they’re capable of, and their results confirm that their thinking is accurate.
What we think about ourselves is important, because it drives our behavior. If you think you are unable to do something, and continually tell yourself that you can’t, it’s unlikely that you’ll behave in a way that will cause you to be successful. And why would you be successful? You’re thinking has determined that success is not in the cards for you. And you know what? You’re right!
Consider these common thoughts:
“I’m too old”
“I could never achieve that goal”
“I’m not smart enough”
“People like me don’t have that kind of success”
“I’m not technical enough”
“I don’t deserve…”
“I’ll never be…”
If these thoughts represent the way you think about yourself, then the response to each of these statements about yourself would be, “You’re right!”
Now consider of the implications that kind of thinking will have on your life over months, years, and decades. Think of all the opportunities, growth, potential, and joy that you’ll sideline yourself from, simply because you’re thinking is keeping you from them.
It’s time to examine our thinking, and make adjustments when we find that it is keeping us from where we are and where we want to be. An abundant life awaits! The first step is thinking that we can achieve it.