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When I was young, I used to enjoy visiting playgrounds that had old decommissioned cannons in them.
I would climb them and pretend that I was shooting bad guys with them.
They always looked impressive and powerful, especially to a young child, but of course, without a fuse they just sat there like a giant paperweight.
Latent potential, but nothing to energise it.
Are we that different?
I believe in the huge potential that God has placed within everyone I meet.
I believe that we all have the capacity to do remarkable things.
But first we need to light the fuse.
We need to find the motivation to get started.
We need to generate the energy that we need to fulfill our potential.
We need to find what makes our heart beat faster, giving us the passion and enthusiasm that’s required to persevere during the challenging times and inspire those around him.
Because if we don’t, we end up like the old cannon in the playground.
A relic, with unrealised power, just gathering dust.
Do you feel motivated to achieve your purpose, or do you need to light the fuse again?
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Two bricklayers were approached by a reporter.
The reporter asked the first bricklayer, “What are you doing?”
His response was to complain that he was virtually a slave. An underpaid labourer who spent his days wasting his time, placing one brick on top of another for hours on end.
The reporter ask the second worker the same question.
His response, however, was quite different.
We’ve seen it happen over and over again.
A new, exciting artist releases their debut album. They top the charts and win the acclaim of industry experts and peers.
Then, after much anticipation, they release their second album.
And it’s just not the same.
Why is it so difficult to replicate the success of the first effort?
There’s something very special about enthusiasm.
It’s remarkably contagious.
You feel better about life when you have it.
You feel better about life when you share it.
It’s like a virus that flows through your veins and when you’re infected, you don’t want to be cured, you just want to infect everyone around you with it.
The weather is starting to get cold as we move towards Winter here in Melbourne, so to combat the chill in the air, I’ve started using our wood heater much earlier in the year than usual.
As I watched the flames a few nights ago with the kids, I was reminded that fire is often used to illustrate passion.
If someone is described as fiery, hot-headed or as having fire in their belly, we know that they are passionate and energetic.
As I get the fire burning and turn up the heat at home, I’ve realised that perhaps it’s time to turn up the level of passion in other aspects of life as well.
In Melbourne today, we celebrated Labour Day by taking the day off and lounging around the house.
Today is the day that we remember the legacy of those who worked hard to create working conditions that are more balanced and sensible, the principle being that everyone should work eight hours a day, sleep for eight hours and have eight hours of recreation.
It originated in a time when most men worked hard with their hands and their toil created value to the society that they lived in.
I would like to propose an extension to this day. I call it Emotional Labour Day.
Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
It’s a sad, perhaps cynical comment, but it’s also truer than we would like.
I’m not sure that I’m wise enough to be able to completely define the difference between living and existing, but let’s try:
A friend of mine was recently talked into going to her first fitness bootcamp.
Being a lady in her 50’s it was a daunting concept and the drills were a significant physical challenge. They included carrying tyres above her head and then dragging them behind her while running, not my idea of fun.
Despite her struggles, at the end of the drills, the fitness instructor gave her an award for being the best participant.
She wondered why, but to others it was obvious.
Some people treat their current jobs as if they are trapped there forever, going through the motions as if they are sentenced to life without parole.
It’s as if they’re stuck in quicksand, never able to escape the clutches of their current employer and too afraid to move in case they will sink deeper.
Some people treat their current jobs as if it’s a launching pad for the future, engaging in their role and learning all that they can while they’re there.
They’re using it as a stepping stone, understanding that you get out what you put in and knowing that if they maintain their enthusiasm and keep developing, then bigger, better or even perhaps just more suitable work will be available in the future.
Of course, they’re both self-fulfilling prophecies.