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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Makings of a Man

I dedicate this to my Grandpa Frank Michno, I love you Grandpa, you will be missed

The Makings of a Man

It’s amazing how easy it is to get distracted in life. I think all too often we fail to take the time to slow down and think about what really matters. If it all ended today, what would you be remembered for? What is the true value in life? How can we use our time wisely? And, probably the greatest question of them all, when is our time going to come to an end?

Everyday in this game called life, we are forced to make choices. With every choice that we make, there is a consequence: some good, some bad, but nonetheless there is a reaction to every choice you make. One can’t help but ask, “How can I make the most of my time?”

Just think about how many people you’ve met that have said, “I want to go down in history. I want to be remembered…” Everyone leaves a mark in life. Some will be remembered for doing great things, like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, George Washington, and Mother Teresa. But in the same light, you can also go down in history for being a complete monster. Look at Adolph Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein… the list of famous people goes on, but what will you be remembered for?

You can chase the dollar every day of your life and make millions, have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, and still be depressed. Not only depressed, but cold because of all the people you’ve stepped on along the way, pushing yourself to the top. I once heard a man say, “If they say it’s happiness but you can’t look back on it in a year and still be glad you did it, then it’s not really happiness.”

If you have to look back on a choice you made, living in sorrow and regret, that’s not joy... It sounds a little bit more like torture. I’ve met people who don’t have much, but they would still give you the shirt off their back to make sure that you are ok. They give their lives to make sure that other people have a chance, they give their money to provide hope for people who never had anything in life, and come the end of their days, they can look back and truly appreciate life. You can either live to please yourself, or live your life helping others.

So how then should we live? Everyone likes to have money, don’t get me wrong, money is awesome. But when you let money consume your mind, it will ruin you. You also have to take into account the fact that even if you want to be a nice guy, you still need to provide for yourself and your family... there is this balance that must take place. Anything taken to the extreme is not a good thing. If you’re always giving to everyone else in life, but don’t take care of yourself and your family, then you’re not that great of a person either. You don’t have any discipline or sense of responsibility. You’re just drifting. It’s easy to drift because you don’t have to do anything. You just go through the motions, and life goes on. But you won’t have a lasting impact on anything if you fail to commit. Most likely no one will even remember your name.

The reason why discipline and discernment are so important in life is because they determine the kind of life that you will live. What makes discernment so important is that it helps us to gauge how much time we will put into something, what we should invest our time in, when to slow down, and if need be how to get out. It is through discipline that we gain the ability to push ourselves to go beyond our comfort zone to achieve new heights, greater depth, and to secure our future. How do you expect to reach for the stars, when you are too afraid to stretch out your hand?

We are all called to do great things in life. In fact I am convinced that every one of us is meant to leave a legacy. But the problem we face is that we put so much value on material things and being famous, like a movie star, that we tend to completely forget the people who labor daily helping people, like a medic, a nurse, or a teacher. The dollar sign isn’t what makes a man, but it can definitely break one.

So what are the things that make up a real man? What is it inside someone that causes them to never give up, never lose heart, to face adversity, and to leave an impact? It’s not the love for money, or the lust for power. It’s not the desire to be famous, or the fear of being nothing. What makes a man is his heart. He can either be self absorbed, or filled with compassion and love. Everyday we make a choice, we determine our own destinies, and I understand that some people may seem to have it a little bit harder than others, but that doesn’t change the fact that you still have a choice.

I once knew a man who was filled with love and compassion, who had to overcome so much adversity in life, who had to endure so many hardships. But still, he worked so hard his whole life to provide for his family, while reaching out and helping as many people as he could. Now this man might not go down in history as a king, but he definitely did the most with his time, making something out of nothing, and if that’s not legendary, then I don’t know what is. Even though he won’t go down in history as a millionaire, that man did more with his life than most can dream.

Everyday we are forced to make choices. The choices that we make will always hold a consequence, some good, and some bad. The decisions you make daily will show people who you really are… What will you be remembered for?

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