Thursday, October 16, 2008

Betting against yourself

To get what you've never had, you must do what you've never done. Unknown
When I was in my teens I was fascinated with psychology. Wanted to be a psychologist for a long time. When it came time to go to University, I was scared. I had a hard time figuring out how I was going to get what I wanted. I didn't know what I wanted to begin with.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I still occasionally struggle with figuring out what I truly want. Options are many. Choices multiple. What do I want?

Well, there's the tangibles, home, money in the bank, car, career.

And there are the intangibles, the things that cannot be measured by a growing bank account or square footage: love, happiness, esteem, a sense of worth, of value, of making a contribution.

Somewhere many years ago, I read a study someone conducted to determine what all cultures in the world value. The answer was, no matter the culture, the continent, the faith, youth and health were valued by all. Beauty is relative. As is wealth. Youth is filled with limitless possibilities and health indispensable to living a full and productive life.

Youth is the purview of the young. I can be young at heart, spirited and youthful in my outlook and claim my youthful perspective; I'm only as old as I think.

Where is that fountain of youth when I need it?

According to actress Sophia Loren, I need look no further than within me. "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."

Talents not used, grow rusty. Muscles not used, wither. Creativity left on the shelf, grows dusty.

I cannot hold onto my youth. I can bathe in the fountain of youth every day, however, by opening myself up to the limitless possibilities of my creativity. When I dive into my talents, explore my capabilities without limiting myself to what I tell myself is true about my talents or lack of talent, I am tapping into the source of life that keeps me young at heart, that keeps me living a spirited life.

On Tuesday evening, I took a mask-making workshop. Tonight, I go back to create a papier-mache cast of my mask. I didn't know working with clay could be so much fun. I didn't know making a mask would be that enjoyable.

I don't know what I don't know.

Once upon a time, I told myself I had no artistic ability. And then, I picked up a paint brush and fell in love.

I don't know what I don't know. Reality is, I can't know what I don't know if I don't explore the limits of my knowledge, the boundaries I use to define my capabilities.

If I say, I can't do something, I'm right as long as I don't attempt to test the tension of the membrane of that belief.

Life happens when I prove myself wrong about something I hold to be true for me.

I believe I'm getting older. My body is aging, but my mind, my spirit don't have to follow. They can continue to expand, to grow, to evolve as long as I set myself free of limiting beliefs that tether me to the belief I cannot have the life of my dreams as I grow older.

In my youth, I didn't know what I wanted. In my maturity, I have discovered what I want is nothing compared to what I can have when I life this one wild and precious life fearlessly in love with all of me, beauty and the beast. I can have the life of my dreams when I let go of my fear that I am too old to be my most magnificent self.

Life isn't a game that's over when the fat lady sings. Life is an adventure that continues every day, every moment. Life is the journey.

The question is: Are you living life as if it's a game you're doomed to lose? Are you betting against yourself by limiting your possibilities in the belief that you are too old to change, too old to do it differently? Are you living the end before you've even begun the journey of your lifetime?


Anonymous said...


another gem

with a couple of tweaks, the opening chapter in a book, don't you think?

With your permission, I would like to publish this one on



M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks Mark! Go for it

To check out Mark's site, visit: