There’s a saying in the bible, which goes: “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Growing up the church, I was used to hearing this verse. However, I never really understood the meaning behind it – until recently.
I have to open this blog by remarking on what an incredible year it has been for me. It’s been a transformative year of growth, challenge, and new beginnings.
The biggest change I noticed this year was in my own perspective. Things always work out for me. At least, that’s what dozens of people seemed to remark during our conversations, where I shared challenges I was encountering.
If your 20’s bring you beginner’s luck, of which I had a full share – then, your 30’s bring you the confidence needed to tackle the challenges life throws at your way, because you’ve done it before; perhaps not the same situation, but similar enough to see the patterns and pay attention to the lessons when they appear in your life.
A younger me was challenged by my mentor to answer a very difficult question.
“Aaron, what do you want?”
Throughout my 20’s, I’d provide him with lengthy responses to the question. Each time, he’d tell me “Nope. You still haven’t gotten it yet.”
There was once a school, well-known for being the most underperforming elementary school in the entire district, that decided to take on an experiment; they replaced their grading system (A-F) with two simple options:
Passing grade, or “yet”.
If a student didn’t receive a passing grade, the teacher would mark their homework with the simple word “Yet.” because they wanted to communicate to the student that success wasn’t out of reach, but they hadn’t yet come close enough to a passing grade.
At this point, the student would receive the homework and have another opportunity to complete the work.
The experiment worked. The school became the highest performing school in the entire district within a single year.
I share this story because it reflects my own. For most of my 20’s, I’ve been the cruelest of tyrants to myself (and a few select others…) – painting every experience as either a success or a failure.
This iron fist of judgement didn’t allow myself to see that I, myself, was the work-in-progress. It’d be silly to try and eat fruit from a seed that hadn’t yet grown into a tree. Yet, I had expectations on myself that demanded a certain measure of outcome from a soul that wasn’t quite ready for it — yet.
Money, marriage, business ventures, fame, and credibility…to name a few. My 20’s version seemed to think that all of these things would be dependent upon each other, and happen magically – rather than over a long drawn-out period.
Pride. It got in the way of a lot of things, like not allowing myself to mourn the loss of my own Father. It wasn’t until many years later that the tears finally fell and I opened up to others of how badly I miss the man who gave his life for his children.
It wasn’t until I took a step back and examined my life – I mean, really examined my life – to accept things as they are, while taking time to enjoy each moment that presented itself.
Just like a painting, each of us is becoming more and more of ourselves as time goes by. No great masterpiece is completed in the first stroke. Often, it’s not what an artist puts on the canvas that makes it something special, but what they take away from the paint; revealing what’s beneath the surface of each stroke.
Today, I hope that you find encouragement in these words. All of us are on our own journey, and have the opportunity to make things better for others along the way.
I hope you learn to see yourself as a Yet when things don’t seem to be going your way, rather than a failure. As somebody who has struggled (for years) the feeling of failure, or somehow being an imposter, I’ve found personal salvation in being able to look at the mirror and remind myself that each step happens in its own time, place, and purpose.
Life happens, as you do.