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Never Underestimate These Three Things

Give yourself some credit...

There are times when I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit. Have you ever heard people say “oh, I’m just a (fill in the blank)” when asked what they do for a living? Or maybe you’ve come across people that are always going somewhere or doing something, yet feel like it’s never enough, or that what they’re doing doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

In our hectic lives, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of own worth and potential. There may be days where we struggle to find the motivation to keep pressing toward a goal. When those days creep up you, be careful to not underestimate yourself in the three areas below.

What you mean to someone

When I began writing posts five months ago, one of the newsletters I had registered for suggested that a way to “get your name out there” is to be active on Quora. Quora is a site where people can post questions for the world to answer, and I enjoy going there a few times a week to see if any good questions have been submitted that I’d like to chime in on.

Sadly, I often see questions posted along the lines of “what’s the point of living if we’re going to die anyway?”, or “what’s the point of living if I’m so unhappy?” While these are very complex and deep questions, I believe the point is that you mean something to someone. You have gifts. You have talents. You have potential. You are an important part of someone’s life, be it relatives, or friends, or even the stranger you did something nice for when your paths crossed.

During your life or career, you may have those days where you get home and you feel like you may not have added that much value through the work you did that day. But each day you are making a difference for someone else, whether you know it or not, and that is what makes it all worthwhile.

Your abilities

When I graduated high school, a good friend gave me a copy of the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. It’s a must-read for people of all ages, and I came across that book in our son’s room recently. In this book, we’re reminded that it may not always be easy, but Dr. Seuss says:

“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

and

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”

Throughout life, many people struggle to compare themselves to others. We may think someone else is smarter, or prettier, or more athletic, or happier. Although you may not grace the cover of Cosmo, or get enshrined in Cooperstown, you have your own unique gifts and talents. It may take you a little while to figure them out, but you will. And when you do, embrace them; they are yours to use for the benefit of others. Below is another quote that I enjoy reading from time to time (again, not sure who gets credit!).

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

Never underestimate your potential for greatness.

The impact you can have

When you understand what you mean to someone, and when you understand (and appreciate!) your own abilities, the potential for positive change during your time here on earth grows exponentially.

25 years ago, in March of 1993, former North Carolina State men’s basketball coach, Jim Valvano, received The Arthur Ashe Courage Award during ESPN’s ESPY Awards. Valvano was fighting cancer, and would end up succumbing to the disease just one month later. To call his acceptance speech powerful would be a gross understatement. If you have never seen this clip, do yourself a favor in the very near future and carve out some time to watch it.

Early in the speech, as he suggested that his speech might be one of the longer ones of the night, he said that he hoped he’d “[say] something that will be important to other people too.” And, boy did he. The seven words below, taken from that same speech, have been aired time and again, and for a good reason.

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

If only Jim Valvano knew just how important his words indeed were to millions of people, especially those fighting a terrible disease like cancer. In your life it may not be words that make an impact; it could be your actions. Either way, you’ve got the ingredients to be/do something special. Know that you mean the world to someone, don’t give up on yourself, and don’t underestimate the impact you can have.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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