Jim Stovall
Winners' Wisdom
by Jim Stovall

A Bird in the Hand

You and I have heard it said all our lives that “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” This is a conservative approach to business and life that would tell us holding on to what we have is better than going after what we don’t have. This is true if your life’s ambition is truly to have a bird in hand; however, if it is not your goal to have a single bird in hand, it is prudent to let that bird go and pursue the two birds in the bush, assuming that your life’s goal is to obtain two birds in a bush.

We always have a tendency to compare the things we want vs. the things we currently have. It is important to remember that nothing is static. All things are changing constantly; therefore, the bird in the hand--known as your current job, business, relationship, or investment--may not always be there.

If it was your goal a half century ago to own a 1957 Buick, even if you obtained that brand new, shiny car, you are now probably the owner of a rusted-out relic unless you have changed your goals and objectives. I remember my grandfather telling me that he bought his house for $2,000 during the Great Depression years. He went on to explain that, in his wildest dreams at that point, he couldn’t imagine living in a house worth as much as $50,000. After living in the same house for a half century, he actually sold it for more than $50,000.

The lesson in this for all of us is the fact that our goals, dreams, and ambitions must always grow and change. I believe the purpose of reaching the mountain top is only to see a higher mountain peak worth reaching or discover a new land or ocean worthy of exploring. Sometimes we’ve got to be willing to let go of what we have to get what we want.

When we were in elementary school, it was awkward in the beginning but then, once we got to know everyone, it became comfortable. But then we were required to move on to middle school, high school, and college. Each step is uncomfortable, and you are forced to leave the familiar behind; however, the alternative is to be a middle-aged person crammed into an elementary school desk forever.

As you go through your day today, explore where you are and where you want to be. Determine what needs to be left behind in order to pursue your next passion.

Today’s the day!

Learning and Doing

Recently, I was speaking with a pastor who had just delivered a rather critical message to his congregation. I was curious whether or not people were offended or took the criticism personally. The pastor laughed and told me the good and the bad news. The good news was that the congregation was not offended because none of them really thought the comments were directed toward them or that they were the focus of his criticism. The bad news was just the same: None of them thought the comments were directed toward them or that they were the focus of his criticism.

Unfortunately, in this life we only learn from mistakes. Most of us only learn from the mistakes we make ourselves. A relatively few more enlightened individuals can observe the world around them and actually learn from the mistakes of others. The sad thing remains that the people who need to learn life's lessons the most are very often the people who listen the least.

This happens because we judge our own intentions and everyone else's actions; therefore, when the boss is already 10 minutes into the meeting where he is describing the importance of punctuality as you slip into the back of the room -- embarrassingly late again -- you were able to look at your intentions and console yourself with the thoughts that you were not irresponsible and not the kind of person that is normally late. It's just that the toast got burned, the dog got out, the kids were running behind, etc.

On the other hand, when you are feeling self-righteous about being in the meeting on time or even a few minutes early, when one of your colleagues slips in 15 minutes late, in the harsh light of your internal judgment they are already tried, convicted, and sentenced. You don't know their intentions or their built-in excuses. You simply look at their performance.

Since there are scores of people around the world that read this little column in a multitude of newspapers, magazines, and online publications, it is highly probable that you and I are not personally acquainted; therefore, I can be the one to deliver the harsh news: You are not perfect.

When something goes wrong in your world, it is quite likely that you bear at least some of the responsibility for the outcome. In our lawsuit-happy society, we like to see everything in terms of black and white, assuming that someone else is always at fault. In reality, most errors, arguments, and mistakes are a result of several people's human shortcomings, including yours.

As you go through your day today, when there are problems or criticisms, don't look for excuses or someone else to blame. Consider it an opportunity to examine your own performance and how you can improve.

And, as always, today's the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author, columnist, and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082, or by e-mail at JimStovall@aol.com . Visit http://www.jimstovall.com for additional information.

Many more articles in Personal Development in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2007 by Jim Stovall. All rights reserved.

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