Monday, March 17, 2014


Try this experiment.
Using pen and paper, write down three goals. Use full sentences, for example: This week I will train a lion.
Now, write down three things you have on your calendar tomorrow—doctor’s appointment, a trip to the bank, grocery shopping, whatever. Again, be sure and use full sentences. Example: Tomorrow I will catch the train to Walla Walla.

Now carefully consider the difference in your handwriting. Notice anything? Are there spaces between the words of your goals? Did you know that you can tell if someone is lying by their hesitations? According to professional handwriting analysts, the same hiccoughs happen when we write. If you’re lying to yourself, your subconscious knows it and your words will have extra spaces. For example: This week  I   will  train  a  lion. As opposed to: Tomorrow I will catch the train to Walla Walla.
Did the experiment work for you? It totally worked for me. Consider this when making goal, make your goals absolutely realistic—things you know you should do, but, for whatever reason, you aren’t, and things you know you can do.

Years ago my sisters and I attended Education Week at BYU. (If you don’t know what that is,click here). Each morning, we would coordinate which classes we wanted to attend and when we would meet for lunch. Sometimes our schedules matched and sometimes they didn’t and that was okay.
On a whim, I decided to ditch one class and attend another. According to the schedule, the class was based on the Old Testament scripture, Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.

(Want to know why I was taking this class? Because I thought it would be relevant to my current work in progress, Beyond the Pale. I was wrong. )

It was held in the Marriott Center—a conference center with 22,000 seats. I walked in and found my sister sitting directly in front of me. Neither of us had intended to take this class, and it was surprising to find her so easily in such large building filled with thousands of people.

Turns out, the class had little to do with what we had thought and everything to do with the dangers of perfectionism. As we left the building, my sister and I both commented on how disappointed we were in the class as neither of us considered perfectionism something that we struggled with. Just then a very large, noisy bus rumbled by. Plastered on its side were the words “Perfectionism: are you ready?”  (It was an ad for a housing development.) My sister looked at me and said, “I think someone is trying to tell us something.”
It made me reconsider perfectionism and the way it may be holding me back.

I love this poem by Shell Silverstein.  It’s called the Little Blue Engine
The little blue engine looked up at the hill.
His light was weak, his whistle was shrill.
He was tired and small, and the hill was tall,
And his face blushed red as he softly said,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
So he started up with a chug and a strain,
And he puffed and pulled with might and main.
And slowly he climbed, a foot at a time,
And his engine coughed as he whispered soft,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
With a squeak and a creak and a toot and a sigh,
With an extra hope and an extra try,
He would not stop — now he neared the top —
And strong and proud he cried out loud,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”
He was almost there, when — CRASH! SMASH! BASH!
He slid down and mashed into engine hash
On the rocks below… which goes to show
If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain’t enough!
Shel Silverstein.
It’s important to try. Growth requires stumbling, falling, and getting back up again. To be successful, we need to be patient with ourselves, our blunders and our weaknesses.  We need to remember to counsel with the Lord and not to take counsel from our fears. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be weak.

Consider a candle, even the brightest flames flicker. We never know how brightly another’s flame can burn or what darkness they are trying to overcome, and I love that we don’t need to know. All we need to do is do our best to shine as brightly as we can.

Even the brightest flame will flicker.

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