Have you met someone who has an extraordinary quality? Perhaps he is dedicated to exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. Maybe she can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. Do people like that make you angry or envious? Me too, or at least they used to. Has jealousy gotten you anywhere?
Many years ago my lawyer invited me to a Lakers game. He had senate seats so we got to see and feel Shaquille O’Neal as he loped onto the court for one of his first games in Los Angeles. His athleticism was phenomenal. Yet I felt neither jealous nor inspired. Having always played “left out” when it came to basketball, it was unfathomable to me that I could ever reach one-millionth of his level. That his brilliance did not inspire me to excel in an arena at which I could shine demonstrated my shortsightedness.
So here are your choices when you encounter someone with a rare talent:
- Be envious. No doubt a natural response, just the same consider that you are only hurting yourself. Jealousy saps your ability to strive for excellence.
- Indifference. Such a response will not impede your pursuit of accomplishment. But, like when I saw Shaquille O’Neal play, you are missing a tremendous opportunity.
- Be inspired. You have the seed of greatness within you. While you may never reach the pinnacle that others have attained with their unique mix of talents, surely they can be your catalyst to triumph.
Living intentionally means making maximum use of the resources provided to you. Train yourself to be inspired by the great qualities of others.
- Think positively about them in relation to the values or talents at which they excel.
- Study what makes them preeminent. Even if you some of your values conflict, what parts of the things they do can you adopt while staying true to your moral code?
- Practice those attributes at which they reign supreme.
If you choose, these paragons you meet can motivate you to reach your peak.
Question – Why are you challenged to emulate someone who is an exemplar?
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