#531 Wisdom from My Mom and Thomas Carlyle

God Gave You Gifts. Give Them to the World!

My mom and her husband Tom recently visited.

I was blessed to be the best man in their wedding. I especially enjoyed having the opportunity to thank my mom for helping shape who I am today and to thank Tom for being such a nice, good person and for taking such good care of my mom.

(Sidenote: I’m also grateful that Tom installed a sweet Spartan training rig on my office ceiling that weekend. Now I can work on my grip strength every 1,000 seconds when I get up for my quick little breaks. (After banging out my 100+ burpees, of course.) Check out this “Twister” that’s now on my ceiling next to some rings and rope thingies. 🤓 💪 )

Here’s what’s interesting. On that visit, my mom brought the local newspaper from the day I was born: May 22, 1974. Watergate was front-page news. But what caught my attention was the inspirational quote from Thomas Carlyle on the upper-left corner. It’s shockingly epic:

“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder; a waif, a nothing, a no-man. Have a purpose in life, and having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.”

Now… I’m not much of a collector of things so the newspaper has been recycled—but not before I ripped off that corner quote and taped it to my whiteboard right above some strategic thoughts on the purpose to which I’m dedicating my life.

But here’s what’s most cool (at least to me).

In my best-man speech at their wedding reception, I thanked my mom for seeing and supporting my potential and I shared a little story. Once, when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old or so, I did something my mom didn’t like. At all. She grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me straight in the eye (I can still feel it like it was yesterday) and said, “God gave you gifts. You must give them to the world!!!” (I got goosebumps as I typed that.)

It’s funny how my whole life and work can be summed up in those two sentences. And, how perfectly that quote from the day I was born captures the same point.

“God gave you gifts. You must give them to the world!!!”

“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder; a waif, a nothing, a no-man. Have a purpose in life, and having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.”

That’s Today’s +1.

If you feel so inspired, imagine me (or someone who believes in you) looking you straight in the eye and saying with a loving sternness: “God gave you gifts. You must give them to the world!!!”

Let’s make our moms and families and communities and selves proud today as we go out and give life all we’ve got.

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