All In

Written at Age 17

I recently read a story about a man who broke many bones in his spinal cord and was told that he was paralyzed from the neck down. He was faced with two very difficult choices, and he chose the one of much pain that comes before greatness. He had a baby daughter that was on the way, which inspired and moved him to take hold of his life, instead of letting it take over him. He worked and worked, failed and failed, tried and tried, until his dedicated spirit lifted his arms, his legs, his body, and soon he was walking, playing with his baby girl, and lifting weights. It did not happen overnight; it happened because of his motivation to conquer his physical body and not live the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

What challenges do we face and give up, right then and there? What fears do we succumb to? Why do we only give 60%, when we have 120%, 140%, or even 160% inside of us? What are our reasons or excuses for giving up? When we decide not to work for a better, more healthy existence or do it half-heartedly, we choose to live a life of very little passion, minimal spice, and no sense of completeness. It is an agonizing way to live.

Many of us are afraid of going all in, giving it our everything even when we think we have reached our limits. We struggle with committing tirelessly to something every day. We can get lazy. We put one foot in and keep the other out just in case things don’t work out, or it gets too hard. Then we suddenly change our minds and quit.

I am inspired by the many stories, similar to the one I mentioned previusly, of someone facing insurmountable defeats and pain, and yet they rise up, push themselves, believe in themselves. We have the power and potential to do the same.

Proverbs 4:26 (found in the Bible) says, “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” This makes me think of the moments when I feel inspiration, creativity, opportunity, serendipity, insight, hope, connection, all of which only happen when I am ALL IN. So even though we will never be in control of what curveballs life throws at us, we certainly are in control of how much we TRY amidst hardship, and how we react. I like the saying, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” Our dreams are not going to work by themselves; we have to plant both of our feet firmly and give everything we have, and more.

Here’s another quote I recently read:  “Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.” If we are passionate about something or dream of becoming something great, we have to not just be smart, as it is also about the heart. Smart is not enough, because the greatest commitment we can ever make is to our Father in Heaven, and a PhD is not going to mean anything if we don’t have the love inside our hearts. God is our director, our father, our greatest cheerleader, who can assist us to get up when we fall and feel we’ve failed. We can get up and try again, because once we overcome our fears, our disappointments, and our doubts, God can work with us if we are committed to HIM. Being all in is living, anything else is merely surviving a mediocre life.