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Measure yourself against yourself

Rick Kraft


So much of life is what happens in the six inches between our ears. It is a very small part of our body. Our brain only weighs about three pounds, but it controls every other pound that we carry.
Two brothers one year apart in age with similar physical attributes and comparable employment are raised by the same parents and live within a mile of each other. One loves life and enjoys the adventures that each day brings, the other is miserable and dreads getting out of bed each morning.
When asked separately about why they have their present view on life, the fulfilled brother says, “That’s an easy question, look at my upbringing.” The brother who hates life says, “That’s an easy question, look at my upbringing.” Interesting…
I just recently heard a quote each of us need to hear, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” I like it. Couple it with the slogan “Be all that you can be,” and we have a couple of core concepts on how we should view the world. We are each the first of one edition with unlimited potential.
We often forget how unique we are. We decide to play the comparison game. We look at those around us and we compare who we are with who they are. Instead, look in the mirror, that’s your competition.
No one has ever nor will anyone ever walk the journey that you are on. You are one of a kind. The only you that will ever be. And with one exception, the world is made up of other people.
Your job is not to seek to keep up with those ahead of you. Nor is your job to look down at others that you are ahead of. Your job is quite simply to be the best that you can be. Measure yourself against yourself. You have been delivered the hand you have. All you can do is play it the best you are able.
You have heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I heard a speaker recently with a spinoff of this. He said, “When life gives you lemons, don’t suck them. They will only make you sour.” Either way, life is 10% what happens and 90% how you respond. Your life will be measured by the 90% that you can control, not the 10% beyond your control.
There are people who have been told by doctors that they have only months to live. Most individuals with this diagnosis did nothing to deserve this 10%. There are many today who have just lost loved ones that they shared a close bond with. This occurs independent of how good a person lives their life. There are families whose breadwinner will lose their job today not because of anything they did, but because their employer made bad business decisions and has to close its doors.
You get the idea. Life happens…and life goes on… The sooner we can get our arms around the reality that life is not fair, the sooner we can choose a healthy 90% in how we respond. We must recognize the unfair nature of our existence and get over it. Otherwise we can’t accomplish what we need to be accomplishing.
What I am saying is that where you are today is a combination of choices you have made and external events beyond your control. Where you are tomorrow will be a combination of choices you make today, future external events you can’t control, and the 90% response to these events you can control.
So look internally. Look within yourself. Look at the gift set you have been given. And recognize the gifts you have not been given. You should operate inside your gift set, but outside your comfort zone. Then ask yourself, why am I here right now? What is it that I need to be doing? What is it that only I can do?
If you ask these questions, you will live a proactive life, not one that is reactive. There is something out there that only you can do.
Don’t waste your days looking left and right at the successes of others and focusing on what they are blessed with. If you choose to live your life in a competitive mode, you will never win. There will always be someone out there who has something more than you.
Each day brings new challenges. Each day brings new opportunities. Each day starts with a clean slate. Thank God for giving us a night at the end of each day and that we can begin again when the sun comes up.
It doesn’t matter what is in the rear view mirror. What is in the rear view mirror today is quite simply an unchangeable history. Don’t let what happened yesterday keep you from accomplishing today what you need to be accomplishing. Don’t let your past rob you of today. Today is a precious commodity that you have been given to spend as you wish.
If you don’t accomplish today what you need to be accomplishing, don’t blame others. In your life you will regularly need to rise above what others say or do. Don’t live a life pointing at others. Don’t try to make yourself a victim.
There may be 100 reasons not to do something you need to do and only one reason to do that something. If the one reason is that it is the right thing to do, then do it. Don’t sit on your butt and focus on the 100 excuses not to take action. I am convinced that in each of our lives we are our own worst enemy.
My challenge to you today is to measure yourself against yourself. Focus on the gift set and strengths that you have been blessed with, not on what you don’t have. There are many more gifts that I don’t have than the ones I have.
Whether you are happy with what you have or unhappy with what you don’t have, you still have the same things. We are back to the six inches between your ears.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. It happens once and then it is gone. Each day arrives, is spent, and then is gone forever. Live each day to the fullest.
May you only measure yourself against yourself. May you recognize the gifts you have been given and the blessing you routinely receive. May you use these for the benefit of others. And my you be abundantly blessed in your days and years ahead as you be the best that you can be.
Just a thought…
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com.

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