Watching college football this weekend I learned something about life. I learned that even the smallest efforts matter and that the littlest things can sometimes make the biggest difference.
The game that taught me this wasn’t the OU-Texas battle that I attended in Dallas, but rather the Alabama-Arkansas game, which Bama won 14-13. It was a close and hard fought game but what proved to be the difference between a loss and either overtime or a tie was a blocked extra point kick by a Crimson Tide player Jonathan Allen. It ended up being the play of the day. No one probably imagined that Allen would wind of the hero, including Allen himself.
You don’t see missed extra point kicks very often and they aren’t usually a part of the game where players “give it their all” unless the game is on the line. None of this was the case here. At the time of the kick, the game was far from being on the line and yet Allen made that extra effort to reach just a little bit higher and essentially win the game for Bama.
That happens in life too. They say you should always be kinder than necessary, but maybe we should also try harder than necessary at making something good happen to or for someone else. Those little extra efforts you make or those that others make, well, they make a difference.
My nephew’s fiancé always makes him a big breakfast on Sundays before they settle in for a day of NFL games. She enjoys football as much as he does and I’m sure she’d love it if sometimes he made breakfast or even went out to get it, but she takes the time to scramble those eggs and assemble those breakfast tacos herself, and it’s made a difference. It matters to him. He appreciates it.
A good friend of mine recently experienced a “flight from hell” going from Dallas to Chicago but was treated by her husband with a limo ride to her parents’ home in Indiana upon arrival. I know for a fact he didn’t enjoy spending the extra money on a limo, but his doing so mattered. It made a difference.
Think about these things the next time you want to give up or not give something your 100 percent. It truly is the little things and being willing to extend that extra “reach” for someone that makes you not only a hero of sorts, but a better person.
It’s true that every accomplishment begins with a simple decision to try and that the difference between “try” and “triumph” is merely a little “umph,” but how often do we choose not to try our hardest or to not do something that could truly make a difference or make someone feel loved or happy? If you find yourself constantly saying, “I just don’t have the time or energy,” consider this:
“Don’t’ say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein,” warns H. Jackson Brown, Jr. You could add Jonathan Allen to that group today.
Maybe you’re afraid of failure and maybe sometimes that’s what keeps you from going the extra mile. Maybe, like me, you don’t like change. Whatever is holding you back, try thinking about it differently. Don’t focus on the possibility of failure; focus on the possibility of accomplishment. And, don’t think of it as change, think of it as something new and exciting or maybe even a new challenge.
“Many of life’s failures happen when we don’t realize how close we were to success when we gave up.” Thomas Edison
Finally, like the little turtle above, think big. Go for it. If you stumble, make it a dance. If you fail, learn from it. Always shoot for the moon and the stars; even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. Jonathan Allen reached for the stars and won. You can too.