Growing up in a small farming environment allows for plenty of opportunities for hard work, harder play, and lessons learned. I remember as a young kid we had a goat named Hogan. When dad brought that goat home, we didn’t have a place prepared for it to reside, so dad simply put him inside the chain-linked fenced confines of the dog run. During the evening he would sleep among the dogs, eat and drink from the dog bowls, and climb on top of the dog house. During the day, Hogan and our two dogs would run around the yard and climb the haystack together. They would chase cars down the drive, and would sleep on the front porch in the sunlight.
Hogan spent all of his time among the dogs and did most all the activities that they did, and therefore he became a product of his environment. It was quite an interesting thing to see a goat acting like a dog, the only problem was; Hogan was not a dog, he was a goat living below his potential.
I wonder how many times in my life I do the same thing. Do we ever find ourselves in environments that cause us to think we are something less than ourselves? Do we spend too much time trying to be the same as those around us? Do we get caught up in the thinking that “this is all there is for me,” and we settle for something less than our full potential?
If you are caught up in this state of mind, then stop wallowing in falsehood, and become your best self. Don’t cheat yourself by thinking that you are second rate. Don’t let the actions of those around you determine what you are, or who you will become. You are a very unique individual with the potential to become anything that you are determined to become. If you can conceive it, then you can achieve it.
Our longing to “fit in” has its way of pressing us into pre-cast molds. We go in one end as fresh, young, and hopeful dreamers. And if we allow ourselves to, it will spit us out the other end as packaged conformists who accept everything we are told. “This one is too tall, that one is too loud, she doesn’t have the right color hair, and he can’t jump high enough.” The pressure to measure up to the social benchmarks can be immense, and with labels and limits, we allow ourselves to get crammed into boxes that are usually not of our liking nor best interest.
We need to climb beyond this. We must challenge ourselves to become our best. If you are not happy, then do what needs to be done to change that. And when I say “do what makes you happy,” I mean truly happy. This is not to be confused with getting caught up in constant entertainment, momentary pleasures, or convenient ease. We need to work hard, and be pursuing the things that truly fulfill us. We need to take part in things that are bigger than ourselves, and lift us to higher and better ground. Don’t spend your time living below your potential, become your best self. Life is good, the best always lies ahead!