Saturday, January 7, 2012


I'm sharing this in the hopes that a friend of mine reads it.  I have a specific audience in mind, but I figure it might mean something to someone else, and it never hurts to remind myself of it as well.

There once was a young man who, in the hopes of making the varsity football team, went to the coach to seek a training plan.  The coach drove the boy out to the woods, led him up a difficult trail, and stopped him at a huge boulder, six feet tall and at least as wide.  The coach told the boy, "You come here, every single day, and you get this boulder up this here hill.  Push and pull until you're trembling, and then push some more, and if you've accomplished your goal in time for tryouts, I'll put ya on varsity.

The young man did as he was told.  He visited the boulder every day, spending hours pushing and pushing on its side.  The boulder wouldn't even budge.  He tried tying ropes around it and pulling it, with the same result.  But his dream of being a varsity football player kept him coming back, every single day, pushing and pulling on the seemingly immovable rock.

The weeks passed and he began to feel discouraged.  In all that time, the boulder hadn't moved more than an inch.  His muscles ached and he was sore and tired almost all the time. And in all that, the football tryouts were getting closer and closer, with the rock barely further along than it was at the start.

The day of the tryouts came and the boy gloomily showed up, having hardly moved the boulder at all in his weeks of working and trying and exerting his energy.  He went up to the coach to talk to him about his chances at making varsity since the rock was still in the same place.

He related his discouragement and sorrow at his failure to the coach, but instead of expressing disappointment, the coach merely told the boy when and where varsity practiced and that he expected to see him there.  The boy was puzzled and thought the coach had misunderstood.  He hadn't moved the boulder, so why was he being put on varsity?

The coach told him that the goal wasn't in getting the boulder to the top of the hill, but that it was to try to do so every day. All of that work, pushing and pulling with every last stitch of power had given the boy strength he was lacking before.  His muscles had newfound energy and he was obviously bigger and stronger than before. Although the boulder hadn't changed, the boy had, and that change was what the coach was looking for.

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