Last month I had the chance to play a very special doubles tennis match with Governor Gary Herbert of Utah. I had my partner, Judge Andrew Valdez, and the governor had Jeff Robbins of the Utah Sports Commission (who also played the pro tour for a while!). It was very close but, in the end, the governor and Robbins beat us. Still, there were no losers that day. First of all, the match itself had been a dream of mine. Not only that but the wager was that if the governor won, I would donate $5000 to the Granite Education Foundation, an organization that supports Utah schools and Utah kids. So when the last volley ended, I was as elated as anyone because the kids were the big winners and I could celebrate for them.
I wish that we could all look at the events in our lives and think about the wins not the losses. In the tennis match, the governor won the game, the kids supported by the foundation won additional funding, I achieved a dream, and players and spectators alike were uplifted by the exciting event and the philanthropic theme of the day. We didn’t win the game but there was no way I could look at the day and say we lost.
This positive outlook is something I call a “God’s Eye View.” It’s a way of seeing things from the perspective of humanity as a whole. It means believing that someone, somewhere, is getting joy and/or some kind of enhancement in his or her life even when you are not, and you can be happy and rejoice in the moment for them. Living this way, never being concerned about what you didn’t win, what you did not personally get, makes you a happier person. And that in itself is quite a win.
I talk about this “God’s Eye View,” at length in Chapter Twelve of my book, “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living.” It is intertwined with thoughts on the many benefits of giving which is also part of the “God’s Eye View” and something I try to do on a regular basis. In fact, the flip side of that tennis wager was that if I won, the foundation would get only $4900. Because if I had won the game and the kids lost the donation, my dream to play with the governor would have been a rather empty achievement. The best goals are ones that not only fulfill your dreams, but allow you to give back in some way as well. What they want. And there is no reason why you can’t be one of them.
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You just don’t know where life will take you and what will happen along the way. As I mentioned last week, a short trip to California reunited my wife and I with friends we had not expected to see. Prior to that I wrote about a funeral I attended that reunited me with many influential people and reminded me of the importance of keeping in contact with them and now I’m in the midst of planning a fantastic reunion. If I had decided that I was too busy promoting my book, Ignite Your Passion for Living, and putting my new house in order to take time out for those events, I would not have had those inspiring experiences. Such fortunate situations often come about when we least expect it but such things aren’t going to happen if you just stay home and put everything on hold when things get difficult.
However, I’ve noticed that the effects of the recession have really driven people into a defensive mode and instead of just being cautious, they aren’t doing anything. We commonly hear about individuals and businesses “hunkering down” and “riding out the storm”—both statements of inaction. But the thing is, if you’re not out and about, talking to new people, looking for new prospects, and taking active steps towards making your dreams become a reality, serendipity isn’t going to have the opportunity to help you reach those dreams and enrich your life with new experiences.
So don’t just sit at home waiting for things to get better out there. If you have a dream, get working on it. If you haven’t gotten away for a while, plan a trip. If you haven’t met any new people recently, go to an event or an association meeting that interests you and start talking to people. If you’re just feeling down in general, go out and try something new or go somewhere you’ve never been (remember … new experiences increase those feel good serotonin and dopamine chemicals). You don’t even have to spend a lot of money or go very far. You just need to take action. You never know what will happen in life but you can be sure very little will happen if you don’t go out and experience it.
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Reaching your goals will always require a lot of hard work and focus, but random opportunity also plays a part in getting you where you want to be. However, you need get out and keep your life filled with friends, family, and activities that you enjoy in order to be open to these strange, coincidental opportunities.
The last month or so my focus has been on reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. So this past week when we headed to Indian Springs, California for the big pro tennis tournament there, I planned a dinner with Hal Morris, a very talented speaker who had previously worked for my company, and his family. The funny thing was, we ended up spending time with a number of other wonderful people we hadn’t expected to see.
At the tournament itself, we ran into a couple friends from Utah, Dr. Lynn Rassmussen and wife, who we don’t get to see frequently, and had a chance to do some catching up. Then my wife Kimberly got a call from her best friend, Susie, who now lives in Oregon. Susie, her husband, and his sister were driving down to California and mentioned that it was too bad they wouldn’t be able to take a detour to Utah. What a wonderful surprise it was to find out we’d all be in California at the same time. We were able to get together for an evening and had the most wonderful time.
As we left California, I was thinking about how we were able to spend time with so many wonderful people, and more than half of it hadn’t even been planned. I had started focusing on gathering friends around us and here it was happening more and more on its own. I can’t pretend I understand how it works but I do know that if you focus on what you want and open yourself up to opportunities, unexpected things will happen to support and advance your goals not to mention enriching your life with many pleasurable experiences.