“Defining Yourself”

By Jim Stovall

All of us spend far too much time, effort, and energy worrying about what other people think about us. We would spend far less time worrying about what other people think about us if we realized how seldom they do.
In the final analysis, the only opinion about us that matters is the opinion we hold of ourselves. This involves a level of self-evaluation and honesty that few people achieve.

One of the great writers of all time, William Shakespeare, wrote, “To thine own self be true.” This is very simple but not very easy. In order for us to fully understand who we are, we first have to be clear on who we are not.

The great sculptor, Michael Angelo, when asked how he was able to take a block of granite and turn it into a beautiful woman, replied, “You simply find a block of granite and remove everything that is not a beautiful woman.”

All of us have talents and abilities that, if fully exploited, would make us successful. Unfortunately, we too often perform outside of our level of talent and expertise.

One of the advantages I find in being blind is that there are so many things I cannot do. This leaves a handful of things I can do where I can focus my efforts and energy.

This narrow focus has brought me a high degree of success, happiness, and satisfaction. If you have all five senses, you will have to take on the added task of focusing your energy in certain areas while eliminating others where you could perform if you wanted to.

Remember, Michael Jordan was arguably the best basketball player that has ever played the game; but when he decided to play baseball, he was barely a mediocre Minor League player.

Playing in the Minor Leagues is great if that’s all you can do. I would argue that each of us has Major League talent and ability if we will simply play the right game and not play the wrong ones.

Everyone you can think of who has ever achieved greatness has focused their talent in a narrow range. Anyone attempting to be great at everything is destined, at best, to be average at a lot of things and great at nothing.

Try observing yourself objectively as if you were evaluating an employee. Give yourself an annual review. Determine what you do well and where you perform at only an average level.

Begin to work on eliminating the average until you only deal with the things you do well. The more specialized you become as you focus on your greatness, the more you will succeed.

As you go through your day today, determine to undergo an honest self-evaluation. Move toward your area of greatness, and away from everything else.

Today’s the day!