“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” -James Cameron
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. Michelangelo
I’m an eternal optimist.
It probably shows. At least, I hope it does.
And while I think it’s just part of my personal constitution, I also firmly believe that being optimistic is motivating, and therefore beneficial, for most people. When we view the goal as impossible – as a “lost cause” – it’s harder to muster the effort that doing our best requires.
“What’s the point?” says our little internal voice. “Why don’t we just take a nap instead? This is a complete waste of time.”
And so, we coast into the expected result, rather than expending the energy that’s needed to exceed expectations and fulfill our dreams.
I see missed opportunities like that all the time, propped up by rationalizations from well-intentioned advisors.
Just this past week I was in meetings with incredibly smart and talented folks who firmly believe that “being realistic,” and “managing expectations,” is important – and that being too optimistic can be more demoralizing to our movement.
I respectfully disagree – with a caveat.
I’ll admit that it’s comforting to assure ourselves that whatever goal we’re seeking to achieve is impossible, because then if we don’t reach it at least we were right. There’s some sureness of mental footing – the satisfaction that comes from being able to say “yes, that’s what I predicted. Don’t you remember?”
Being right becomes the consolation prize for those who aren’t brave enough to shoot for the stars.
It takes a mountain of courage and accountability to set your sights that high, to fully believe you can achieve your goal – and if you don’t achieve it, to admit that it was attainable but you came up short.
We have that courage, I think. I see it every day.
And it would be such a pity if we squandered this historical opportunity by “being realistic,” and sleepwalking our way into meeting all the expected expectations rather than being audacious and daring … and a little bit crazy.
It would actually be a shame if we reached all of our goals; it would mean that we hadn’t set our sights high enough.
So let’s swing for the fences.
Let’s shoot for the stars.
Let’s let our hearts pound with the excitement that comes from knowing that the impossible is possible – but only if you really and truly try.
And let’s get to work.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.” –Abraham Lincoln
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” –Robert Schuller
Tuesday: Help Save the Earth!
April 22 was Earth Day – hopefully you were able to get out and enjoy nature! Let’s face it – Scott Pruitt is doing a lot to dismantle environmental protections. It’s important that we all recommit to doing what we can as individuals to protect the environment. Today, take a little personal control over the situation, and check out some simple ways to decrease your carbon footprint.
Wednesday & Thursday: Protect the Bears
This month, Wyoming and Idaho are taking public comments regarding whether they should open up hunting for grizzly bears. There are so, so many reasons to oppose this.
Bear conservation has come a long way. But opening a bear hunt season would set that work back significantly. Grizzlies draw tourists, and tourist dollars, to these states and grizzly bears haven’t posed significant risks to livestock – so it’s not entirely clear why these states are considering opening this extremely controversial hunt.
Please take a bit of time and let these states know that you oppose these hunts.
The Wyoming online comment page is here.
The Idaho online comment page is here.
The bears will thank you!
Friday: Continue the Fight for Refugees
Refugee arrivals are at an all-time low. That’s simply unacceptable – particularly when there are 65 million displaced people in the world. The administration committed to accepting a mere 45,000 refugees, but as of now only 10,000 have arrived.
This is a global humanitarian crisis, and we need to speak up for the voiceless.
Head over to Rescue.org to read more. You can also be connected with your member of Congress via their link, or you can dial them yourselves to let them know that you support refugees. Rescue.org puts it so well that I think it makes an amazing script for you to use (portions in quotation marks from Rescue.org):
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling regarding the global refugee crisis. It’s unacceptable that with 65 million displaced people in the world, we’ve only accepted 10,000 into our country this year. “As Americans, we make decisions based on what is right. We step up to help when we see people in trouble. We stand up for the most vulnerable. We as a nation are better for welcoming refugees here. Simply put, for decades, America has been a shining example of freedom and opportunity. Until now.” I expect better of my country, and I want to know what the Congressman/woman is doing to support refugees.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.
If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.