I love the work that I do and, in my opinion, I’m extremely good at it. I am fascinated by the Internet, enjoy social media as my job, and enjoy helping clients grow their businesses and companies on a daily basis.
However, my father has lived a far different life than me. He was raised with a family that had little to nothing, graduated high school early at the age of 16, was called up by JFK and became a Commander in the U.S. Air Force, achieved his MBA by his early twenties, was the first person at IBM to contract a $1 million sales deal, was on the signing board when Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young to form a little accounting firm called Ernst & Young, and is hands down the most humble, honest, successful, and caring man I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
I pray that one day I can achieve half the success that he did over the course of my life.
Unfortunately, over a decade ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, something I would not wish upon my worst enemy. It is a degenerative disease that literally kills your mind and soul as each day slowly drifts by. And yesterday, the doctor informed us that he would most likely not live through the weekend. This next week should be great.
As I have been reflecting on my dad’s life – everything he is and everything he’s done – I imagined what he could have accomplished if he had had the Internet and social media at his fingertips. Would he have graduated high school even earlier than age 16? Would he have been able to contact his family and friends from the Air Force base to let them know he was safe and sound? Would he have been able to secure a contract for IBM bigger than $1 million? Would he have turned Ernst & Young into something even bigger than it is today? What could he have done?
Our generation has this amazing blessing at our fingertips that we really take for granted. We should be able to turn molehills into mountains and build extravagant castles beyond our wildest dreams. What is holding us back? Honestly, I believe it is a pure lack of motivation and willpower. We expect life to come to us easy, but it doesn’t. If you truly want to succeed you have to work hard, dig deep, and quit complaining about your struggles and pain. Everybody has struggles and pain. Everybody.
Take a step back and think. Think about your business, your family, your friends, and more importantly, your life. Think about the goals you have and what you need to do to achieve them. Are you happy with where you are right now or do you want more? Are you satisfied with going home every night and watching TV or a random movie, only to repeat the same exact thing the next night?
Throughout my entire life I never remember my father once having a single TV show that he watched on a regular basis besides maybe sports on the weekends. I only wish I could say the same. He was constantly working, trying to achieve amazing new and innovative things, and thrived off success and perfection in his work and life.
We can achieve those same things. We have more tools at our disposal with the Internet and social media than we have ever had before, but we don’t use them the way they should be used. Don’t accept where you are or what you do. Everything in this world is a seed that has the potential to grow, but it’s what you do with that seed that turns it into something amazing.
Some of you may be satisfied and content with being average, but that’s just playing life safe. Dream big, live big, and never look back. And do me a favor – tell a family member or friend that you haven’t talked to in a while that you love them just because. Life is too short to play it safe.
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Thanks for reminding me how precious life is- it's too easy to forget. You are so strong and have an amazing outlook on life. You are in my prayers, Matt.
our father's thought and worked much the same! You will have wonderful memories to draw from and to live and be all he demonstrated to you through his life. Many a days I smile and say Dad you taught me these things! Thank you!
Thanks for that! We live in a time when dreaming big and living big can create a better world than we can possibly imagine.
What an amazing story and so true. This blog alone will help me think to myself (which each and every step I take)....will this make me a better person? Onwards and Upwards! Thank you for sharing Matt, it's definitely an inspiring story!
Powerful stuff - thank you for letting us in and allowing others to benefit from your experiences as well. I think in addition to lacking motivation and willpower, we lack vision and appreciation of the possibilities. Too many people just don't see their full potential, and I think that inability robs them of their motivation and willpower. Lots to think about - I appreciate you starting the conversation. My best to you and your family as you move through this difficult time. Thanks again.