Paul Rokich is my hero. When Paul was a boy growing up in Utah, he happened to live near an old copper smelter, and the sulfur dioxide that poured out of the refinery had made a desolate wasteland out of what used to be a beautiful forest.
When a young visitor one day looked at this wasteland and saw that there was nothing living there — no animals, no trees, no grass, no bushes, no birds…nothing but fourteen thousand acres of black and barren land that even smelled bad — well, this kid looked at the land and said, “This place is crummy.” Paul knocked him down. He felt insulted. But he looked around him and something happened inside him. He made a decision: Paul Rokich vowed that some day he would bring back the life to this land.
Many years later Paul was in the area, and he went to the smelter office. He asked if they had any plans to bring the trees back. The answer was “No.” He asked if they would let him try to bring the trees back. Again, the answer was “No.” They didn’t want him on their land. He realized he needed to be more knowledgeable before anyone would listen to him, so he went to college to study botany.
At the college he met a professor who was an expert in Utah’s ecology. Unfortunately, this expert told Paul that the wasteland he wanted to bring back was beyond hope. He was told that his goal was foolish because even if he planted trees, and even if they grew, the wind would only blow the seeds forty feet per year, and that’s all you’d get because there weren’t any birds or squirrels to spread the seeds, and the seeds from those trees would need another thirty years before they started producing seeds of their own. Therefore, it would take approximately twenty thousand years to revegetate that six-square-mile piece of earth. His teachers told him it would be a waste of his life to try to do it. It just couldn’t be done.
So he tried to go on with his life. He got a job operating heavy equipment, got married, and had some kids. But his dream would not die. He kept studying up on the subject, and he kept thinking about it. And then one night he got up and took some action. He did what he could with what he had. This was an important turning point. As Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is common to overlook what is near by keeping the eye fixed on something remote. In the same manner, present opportunities are neglected and attainable good is slighted by minds busied in extensive ranges.” Paul stopped busying his mind in extensive ranges and looked at what opportunities for attainable good were right in front of him. Under the cover of darkness, he sneaked out into the wasteland with a backpack full of seedlings and started planting. For seven hours he planted seedlings.
He did it again a week later.
And every week, he made his secret journey into the wasteland and planted trees and shrubs and grass.
But most of it died.
For fifteen years he did this. When a whole valley of his fir seedlings burned to the ground because of a careless sheep-herder, Paul broke down and wept. Then he got up and kept planting.
Freezing winds and blistering heat, landslides and floods and fires destroyed his work time and time again. But he kept planting.
One night he found a highway crew had come and taken tons of dirt for a road grade, and all the plants he had painstakingly planted in that area were gone.
But he just kept planting.
Week after week, year after year he kept at it, against the opinion of the authorities, against the trespassing laws, against the devastation of road crews, against the wind and rain and heat…even against plain common sense. He just kept planting.
Slowly, very slowly, things began to take root. Then gophers appeared. Then rabbits. Then porcupines.
The old copper smelter eventually gave him permission, and later, as times were changing and there was political pressure to clean up the environment, the company actually hired Paul to do what he was already doing, and they provided him with machinery and crews to work with. Progress accelerated.
Now the place is fourteen thousand acres of trees and grass and bushes, rich with elk and eagles, and Paul Rokich has received almost every environmental award Utah has.
He says, “I thought that if I got this started, when I was dead and gone people would come and see it. I never thought I’d live to see it myself!”
It took him until his hair turned white, but he managed to keep that impossible vow he made to himself as a child.
What was it you wanted to do that you thought was impossible? Paul’s story sure gives a perspective on things, doesn’t it?
The way you get something accomplished in this world is to just keep planting. Just keep working. Just keep plugging away at it one day at a time for a long time, no matter who criticizes you, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many times you fall.
Get back up again. And just keep planting.
Just keep planting.
story found at: getmotivation.com
photo credit: missionlanguagelab.blogspot.com
I found this story at basketballsbest.com. To be honest, I’m not even sure that it’s a true story, but regardless, it has a great message. Maybe today we can look around and see if we can find somebody who’s stumbled on the path of life, slow down, and help them out…
And they call some of these people “retarded”…
At the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or
mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.
At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish
to run the race to the finish and win.
All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled
over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry.
They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went
back every one of them. One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed
him and said,”This will make it better.”
Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
Everyone in the stadium stood, the cheering went on for several minutes.
People who were there are still telling the story… Why? Because deep
down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning
What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means
slowing down and changing our course.
photo credit: pa-legion.com
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
photo credit: poetryfoundation.org
Today’s Goal Achievement Quote from Goal Habits:
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. —John Ruskin
photo credit: discoverycomm.com
I haven’t read the book, so I can’t recommend it, but based on this short synopsis it seems like it might be worth picking up.
I found this post at kiwiflossnz:
The book What Really Works – Blending the Seven Fs for the Life You Imagine is by Paul Batz and Tim Schmidt, and without a doubt will be the next book I buy from Amazon. Their theory is that instead of trying to balance one’s work / personal life, we are better to blend the Seven Fs into our lives. So if you want to read the book, go here, and if you want Batz & Schmidt’s summary of the Seven Fs then read on.
Faith: Our spiritual life. Spirituality is a peculiar and amazing thing. We are all spiritual beings — regardless their chosen religion, most humans find a source of identity and strength by listening to and nurturing their spirituality.
Family: Our loved ones. In the research for the book, more than 1000 college-educated, knowledgeable workers rated “family” as the most satisfying of the F’s, and they also said family was their highest priority for increasing their satisfaction.
Finances: How money funds our priorities. While some see our income on the rise, most people today see the opposite. Here’s the deal about finances: The only way to be truly satisfied with our finances is learn to be grateful for what we have, not spiteful about what we don’t have.
Fitness: The health of our body. In our survey, fitness finished dead last in satisfaction, and dead last in priorities. Fitness really should be easy, except for the fact that we have to eat less (and better), drink less alcohol and break a sweat more often. How’s your fitness — really?
Friends: The people who share our joys and disappointments. Our research reveals that women tend to be more satisfied with their friendships, and they also place a higher priority on friends. How are you doing with your friends?
Fun: The part of life that is playful and joyful. With so much of our life spent working, can’t we make it more fun? Would the people you spend the most time with describe you as fun?
Future: The hope that we have for ourselves and others. Future is less about optimism and more about the commitment we make to a better world. Future is a major driver for many entrepreneurs. How about you?
photo credit: online-coloring-pictures
Found this thought-provoking post at blacksuitthinking today, and thought I’d share it with you. I particularly like the quote at the end from Abraham Lincoln.
Life doesn’t reward knowledge. LIFE REWARDS ACTION.
You can study the mechanics and physics of hammering a nail, refine your technique and watch footage of world class hammerers all day, but the guy who actually picks up the hammer and starts swinging is the one who gets the job done.
History is full of people who lacked education or training, but possessed drive, belief, and they went out and did something. These people changed the world with their bare hands and their minds. Step out into any busy street in the world, and you wouldn’t be able to throw a brick 5 meters without hitting someone who has a string of letters after their name and yet they’re working an unfulfilling job, bored at home, and watching their world (and their life) just slowly drift downstream.
Maybe the less advantaged have a chip on their shoulder and over compensate, leading to more meaningful action being taken and greater rewards. Who knows? I wouldn’t want to generalise too much, anyway.
Personally, I think a balance of the educated and the do-er is the ideal. I don’t rush into things blindly, I usually have the odds stacked in my favour before I act decisively.
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln “If I had 10 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 8 sharpening my axe.” But notice that there comes a point when the preparation ends and the chopping begins.
My Two Cents: Part of the EASIER Method of Goal Achievement is implementing your strategy. It’s painfully obvious, but you’d be surprised how many well-meaning folks create plan after plan, but never take action. Once you’ve got a halfway decent strategy, be bold, and implement that strategy. If there are weaknesses in your strategy, they’ll become obvious soon enough, and you can tweak your strategy then.
To learn more about the EASIER Method, download a copy of my free ebook Success! A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Achieve Your Goals and Dreams.
photo credit: wiredforchange