Repost from March 2011
I admire and respect people who demonstrate confidence and are willing to bust their backyard’s and endure and toil to get better at whatever they’re endeavoring to accomplish. I believe that drive or make-up of an individual is what eventually propels them toward success.
It’s rare to find any individuals who excel at anything that like to sit back, be passive, and let others do the work, take the risks, and make the calls for them. To be sure, I’m not referring to insecure micro-managers who aren’t big picture people.
With that said, I’m also convinced that all the desire, passion, and perseverance, can’t always determine an outcome and almost never the first time. All of us have limitations to one degree or another.
Our dog Larry is a pretty good dog, he barks when he hears strange noises, he also barks at strangers in the back yard if they don’t belong there. His desire is to be a good watchdog, the only problem is that he’s smaller than average and isn’t the bravest dog in the world, at least not yet. Lar wants to be and he acts like he is, but he and I both know he’s not.
About four years back I was working in the yard in the middle of summer, I had an old even more beat up than usual sweatshirt on with old worn out tennis shoes. It was hot enough for me to wear my shade hat, you know the ones as big as a patio umbrella without the ball on top.
As I entered the backyard through the side gate I heard Lar bark and it got louder as he was headed towards me, he thought I was an intruder that he’d scare with his vicious barking. Before he got around the side of the house I pulled my sweatshirt collar up over my nose, leaving just my shades exposed under the strange hat Larry wouldn’t be familiar with.
I started to jog almost in a gallop, my left leg leading, swaying my arms like an orangutan and grunting like a gorilla. My brave watchdog? As soon as he spotted me moving toward him he stopped barking, eyes exploding in his little skull, turned and ran with his tail between his legs, howling like he was being stabbed to death in the shower of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Larry’s crying was so loud it brought my wife running out of the closed up house with alarm. Although Lar doesn’t talk, it seemed pretty obvious that he was embarrassed once he figured out he’d been duped. I called him, “It’s okay, Lar, it’s me! – C’mon, you little pansy! – I’m sorry, buddy.” He came with his head hunkered in shame, licking his lips…
I’ve failed at many tasks in my life like my little friend Lar. Larry had passion and desire, he just came up a little short of perseverance that day. We all come up short sometimes. Those failings when used as motivation help us to be a little stronger when the next opportunity arises to test our resolve.
A little over a year ago my oldest brother was visiting with his dog Teddy. Teddy was a Catahoula Heeler, a big, strong, physically intimidating, dog, especially if you’re the size of Larry.
My wife had three roast bones for the dogs, Teddy got the biggest and Larry and Lola got the two smaller ones. Teddy decided he wanted Lar’s bone as well as his own. When Teddy attacked little Lar, he didn’t realize he was trying to bite into a dog who failed enough times to understand what it took to succeed; Fight back…
Larry didn’t win the fight with the big dog, but he didn’t lose his bone or his pride and dignity this time.
We don’t always get to pick the obstacles that fall into our paths in this life, we do get to choose how we respond to them… In the end, that is the real test…
Take lessons from Larry…