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Friday, May 18, 2012

Raising Your Ambitions


"It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself, but at some more ambitious goal beyond it." – Arnold Toynbee

This comes down to how you see yourself. It is said that when the children of the Kennedy family were young, they would go out and play after church. Each child wore a hat. If they came home without their hat, they would be punished by their parents. So they decided to play a game that required them to put their butts on the line.

Every Sunday they would find a wall and throw their hats over the wall. No matter what it took each child had to get over the wall to get their hat. Each Sunday they threw their hats over taller walls.  And each Sunday they came home with their hats. 

Perhaps all the while the goal was to go over the tallest wall. However, they had not developed the skill and teamwork to achieve it. Therefore, they practiced on lower walls until they developed the ability to conquer the tallest.

If we look at the Kennedy family, it would seem that scaling walls gave them the mental preparedness for much greater achievements. Imagine if you would, that their goals were never about retrieving hats on the other side of the wall. Imagine that their childhood games were always part of a bigger plan that became the Kennedy legacy.

They had always seen themselves as accomplishing greatness and overcoming obstacles became part of their playground instead of something to avoid. To do that, you have to see yourself as already there. You just have to be responsible for the mental and physical (skills) preparation.     

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