Call someone stupid, and be ready for a fight. We all do stupid stuff daily. Stupid is defined as having or showing a lack of intelligence. Intelligence is acquiring and applying knowledge.
In my experience, stupid people know what to do, yet won’t do it. Intelligent people, on the other hand, know what to do and are able to do something with what they know. In addition, intelligent people can use what they already know and understand to develop solutions for unique situations.
When the Chicago Cubs released me two years into my professional baseball career, I hit one of the lowest points of my life. Playing Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs was my childhood dream; it was my only dream as far as a career was concerned. Many of my youth coaches helped me get my foot in the door. I was drafted by the Cubs – twice – and ended up signing a two-year contract, but my short-lived career was due to a lack of values and poor character.
Honestly, I made a lot stupid choices while playing for the Cubs: late nights in the clubs, playing video games to no end, a bad diet and the list goes on. When I returned home to my new wife, Kelli, I still had bad habits. I didn’t want to work. I’d just watch Kelli go to work and school, and then stay home and play video games. I was acting stupid. My ability to think clearly was clouded by being depressed, combative and selfish. Here’s what I’ve learned along my journey thus far.
The Stupid Stage is the humbling process. This stage lasts as long as it takes for humility to be embraced.
The Struggle Stage should be where you gather and manage all the resources you need to reach the top which is Significance. The Stupid Stage taught me that I need help from others, while the Struggle Stage is where I needed discernment and wisdom. These two must haves will help you ascertain the resources you need to engage and those you need to get rid of. I am a follower of Christ, so to receive and maintain discernment and wisdom, I have to keep my connection with The Lord.
The Success Stage should be viewed as the individual accolades you’ve experienced as a result of staying the course. Looking back over the Stupid and Struggle stages, identifying the “grit bits” that have sustained you, is vital to reaching significance. My grit bits helped me stay on course and decide who stays and who goes in my life. In life, our grit bits are the people and things that have kept us from quitting, or taking short cuts and enabled us to see hidden opportunities in defeat.
The Significance Stage should focus on leaving a positive pathway for generations to come. It’s about leaving a blueprint, an underground railroad if you will.
I changed because Kelli told me it was time. If I wanted to remain married to her, there were standards that I had to meet that weren’t optional. At first, I struggled with this ultimatum, because I had to think of her more than me. I had to prioritize my marriage over losing my childhood dream, and that was hard. I’m glad I made that decision because now we’re building a family legacy our children can be proud of and will prayerfully build upon with their families. While at the same time, God is also using us to partner with hundreds of families to help their children safely navigate their road to significance.
My struggle has became my story, and through my struggle I have developed grit – a relentless pursuit of my purpose.
Success: What do you dream of doing (becoming) within the next 10 years?
Struggle: What’s one thing that you are currently struggling with right now that will prevent you from fulfilling this dream within 10 years?
Stupidity: What’s one thing that you are currently doing wrong right now that will prevent you from fulfilling this dream within 10 years?
Significance: How will you use your success to help at least 100,000 people?