How High Can You Go?
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How High Can You Go?

When we stand at the beginning of a new year, we often think about setting goals or making resolutions.  Unfortunately, motivation can quickly wane.  Those who seem determined to get into better physical shape find that the gyms are packed in January but almost empty in February.  Actually, it doesn’t take many weeks until we can stray from any type of goal and find ourselves sliding back into old habits.


This week I have been thinking about fleas.  Yes, fleas!  There are over 2500 species of small flightless insects under the scientific order called Siphonaptera. 


Most fleas are about 1/8 inch in size and have flattened bodies.  The really interesting thing is that they do not have any wings but can actually jump about 50 times their body length.  This would be the equivalent of a human jumping over the Empire State Building.


The way that the fleas are able to jump so high is that they store energy in their long back legs and then use this to put pressure on their feet, catapulting them high into the air.


Now if you put a flea into a mason jar (quart sealer), you would find that they easily jump out of the jar.  However, if you put them into the jar and screw the lid on, they can jump but repeatedly bump their heads on the lid.  Eventually they give up.  It doesn’t take long until you can remove the lid only to find that the fleas can no longer jump out of the jar.  They have been conditioned to reach a limited height.


As humans, we can also be conditioned in a way that limits our potential.  Examine your history and determine if any of these factors have prevented you from reaching goals:


  1. Negative messages from others – Sadly, many of the things that we hold in our memories are from many years ago, but we hold onto them as though they are true today. The person who criticized us might not have even realized the damage they were doing at the time.  They might not even be alive anymore.  Perhaps they were unhappy in their own lives.  People who are unhappy often aren’t able to be kind to others.  Maybe you misunderstood what they were saying or just held on to one phrase instead of the entire message they were giving you at the time.  Let go of the past and the “jar lids” that come in the form of negative messages from others.  They aren’t helping you and are actually limiting your prospects.
  2. Negative messages that you tell yourself – People can be so hard on themselves. In fact, most people wouldn’t treat friends as poorly as they treat themselves.  Are you telling yourself that you are too fat or too thin; too young or too old; too lazy or too ambitious; too busy or too lonely?   Now is the time to think like Goldilocks in the home of the three bears when she said, “This is JUST RIGHT”.  You are just right for anything that you want to accomplish.  Hard work and the right attitude will move you forward into the new year.
  3. Holding onto past failures – When my grandson graduated from University in California a few years ago, I was pleased to hear the guest speaker talk about her experiences as a golf professional. She said that she always told her students that FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning.  We all fail at certain times, but the biggest failure is when we quit trying.  What would our world be like if people such as the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, Nelson Mandela or Abraham Lincoln had given up the first time that things didn’t work out the way that they had planned?  Each of them viewed a lack of initial success as just another challenge to be tackled.


It's January, and before you start making any goals (just because you think that is required), why not examine the things that have been holding you back in the past?  If you can identify the “jar lids” that have limited your potential, then you can begin to develop strategies to remove them from your life.


And before you know it, you will be jumping higher than you ever could imagine!



Happy New Year, everyone! Success is waiting for you!

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