Don’t cheat yourself of a great future by not committing to being better today – Anonymous
The Peter Pan Syndrome
Last week I shared the story of Ray Ray Elrathbey, who was all in when it came to his brother and his welfare. Ray Ray was a gifted athlete but he needed more to succeed in football. “It was a contentious battle, and we all butted heads early on because I wasn’t used to the discipline,” said Ray-Ray when he recalled how he needed to buy into his coaches’ system to grow as a player and a man. Buying into a system or process of growth helps alleviate the Peter Pan Syndrome. Drawn from the fictional character Peter Pan who never ages, this syndrome exhibits itself in a lack of commitment, inability to take on responsibilities, or keep promises. Commitment is the critical bridge linking lofty dreams with the reality and necessity for meticulous planning, quality work daily, and old-fashioned sweat. Without buy-in, as gifted or talented as we might be, we end up living our lives as Peter Panners. What does it mean to buy in? Let’s find out from one of the most successful coaches in sports.
Gregg “Pop” Popovich, head coach for the NBA team the San Antonio Spurs since 1996 has enjoyed one of the longest and most successful tenures as a coach for one team. What makes coach “Pop” stand out from among his peers? He has cultivated an atmosphere where individual glory takes a back seat to team success. Every player on the team knows that he cares for them not because they are gifted but because they are human. This care coupled with the emphasis on the team than individuals has led to the Spurs playing what has been termed as “The Beautiful Game.” Nobody’s success in sports and life comes without buying into a process or system that brings success while also adding value to others. How do you determine a system or plan is worth buying into? Trust. Do you believe that investing your time, energy, and even finances into a particular path will lead you to a future desirable place? If the answer is yes, then immerse yourself fully into the process. What can you expect when you do this? My wife and I bought into Dave Ramsey’s freedom from debt plan. We trusted the path Ramsey recommends would get us to debt freedom. We dug in our heels and went all in. In reflection, we realized that in one year we had paid over $50,000 in debt! More than we ever did when we Peter Panned around the thought of debt relief.
Don’t waste time sitting on the fence. Once your dream and belief merge, take action. Don’t wait for the stars to align or for perfect weather to go all in. Start today. Your future can start now once you decide to buy into what you want to see by taking action. Do you need to apply some discipline in an area of your life to see greater results? Like Ray Ray who needed the discipline to become a better athlete, going all-in by buying into a system will stretch you, but not break you. Instead, it will create unimaginable transformation in any area of life. Never underestimate the power of discipline to change your life. If discipline is salient to transformation, why is it so hard and even resisted by some? I believe discipline forces us to face the one person we easily lie to; ourselves. This confrontation is one we avoid at all costs. Coming to terms with who we are can be downright discouraging but necessary.
For years, I thought I was patient until our daughter Esther was born. As she entered her toddler years, I found myself becoming short-tempered with her and yelling each time she did something wrong. I hated who I was becoming. I decided to buy into a system of parenting where I corrected without yelling. It was the hardest thing to do. It unearthed areas in my life I had ignored but needed to deal with to be a better parent. Awareness is something we all try to avoid especially when it comes to growth. Without it, transformation is virtually impossible. With this awareness comes the question, “With what I know now, what effort am I willing to give to grow? This question calls for discipline. The system of correcting without yelling has stretched me but not broken me. It has changed me. As Esther has grown, so have I as a parent. Growth comes as I daily commit myself to the system of parenting I began years ago.
Don’t underestimate the power of taking action today. Actor Joanne Rivers says, “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.” As you wake up each day, unwrap it like a gift from God. Untie the bow of each day and open it to reveal the contents of time and opportunities you have specifically been given. Fully immerse yourself into being a better person than you were yesterday. Life doesn’t get easier but we can always get better. Buy into becoming a more proactive thinker, a better decision-maker, a more compassionate listener, an intentional builder, a giver not a taker.
Final Thought: How will you use the gift of the present to impact your future? What do you need to buy into to get from where you are to where you desire to be? The secret is in the effort you put in daily. Don’t squander the day by Peter Panning. Respond each day with enthusiasm and a sworn commitment to bring your best, to be your best.
Keep on keeping on!