People often wonder why I do the things I do. The short answer: Jesus. The long answer? That may take a little bit of explaining.
Growing up, never in a million years did I think I’d become a professional athlete. On the contrary, I quite literally thought that the world would come to an end before that happened.
Well, I was wrong. And now I’m here, playing in the NFL and living the childhood dream of millions of kids in America. Recently I got a chance to spend time with some kids and I asked them about their dreams. Some of the answers amazed me. When asked what her dreams were, one little girl responded, “I want to be a surgeon. My parents are surgeons and all their friends are as well. I’ve seen the people they’ve helped and I want to help people.” Another said, “I want to build a place where people without homes can live and have shelter.” When asked about where this desire was born, she replied, “I drive in the car with my parents and we drive by people with cardboard signs who don’t have food. I know they need help and I wanna help them.”
This is beautiful. So beautiful.
We all have dreams, big dreams to change the world. Yet somewhere along the line something happens. Fear, doubt, shame, and blame creep in. We go from caring for the homeless man, to accusing him of crimes or addictions he may or may not be facing, hoping he doesn’t make eye contact and playing out the negative he would do if we did in fact give him some spare change.
When I become that person, I want that little girl back. That girl who sees the man for who he is and loves him. Period. No blaming, no accusing. Just love. This is why I spend so much time around kids. Kids dream. Kids believe. Kids don’t fear.
I was asked by a student last week what was the biggest obstacle that stood in the way of me accomplishing my goals. My answer? Fear. Fear of failure. And, often times, fear of the outcome of success. I got blank stares. It was as if the kids thought I was crazy! “Why would you be scared to mess up?” I could hear them thinking, “Even worse, why would you be scared to do it right?! . . . Ms. Johnson, this guy needs some help.”
We laugh, but it’s true. Kids don’t care about the outcome. They enjoy the process. Better yet, the moment. All that matters is the moment. There is no calculation of pros and cons, whys and why nots, there is just DO. And while there are certainly downsides to this mindset (here we go with the pros and cons again . . .) the advantages far outweigh the costs.
So to anyone reading this post, do yourself a favor and bring out that inner kid. We all have him or her. And there’s always a right time. You’ll know it. And when it comes, just do it.