Carpe Diem

>I read on CNN that yesterday, while playing a round of golf, a 73-year-old woman jumped into a lake on the course and successfully saved a drowning dog. It seems not all dogs can swim.    
   I think there are two important lessons in that event.
   First, we all make assumptions based upon stereotypes, culture, or our own pre-conceived biases.  Here are two: 1) old women are old, and as such, simply don’t do certain things…like jump into lakes with their clothes on to rescue anything; 2) all dogs can “doggy-paddle”(which we take to mean “swim”). So much for relying on assumptions. 
   But what is the real harm in thinking that way?  Well, when it comes to others, we tend to attribute thought and motive to them that may or may not be true and then we act or re-act based upon those assumptions, thereby setting into motion a whole series of events that may or may not be in the interest of all concerned.  
   When it comes to ourselves, assumptions about our capacity to process new information or respond to new challenges can be limiting  In reality, both our capacity to process and our ability to create are unlimited.  
   Take the woman who singlehandedly lifts an automobile off of her child trapped underneath it.  In her rational mind, given her own and society’s routine beliefs and biases, she would never think she had the strength or ability to perform such an act. But outside of those assumptions (and limiting beliefs) she simply does what she sets her will to do.
   The second lesson is that everything that is put in our way in life is an opportunity. I recall when one of many bystanders who witnessed the crash of a commuter airplane in the Potomac River many years ago  jumped into winter’s frigid waters to save a drowning woman even though he himself could not swim. Everyone watching the crash survivors from the nearby bridge had the same opportunity, but only one man seized it. I am certain his daring and success forever changed many lives. I know that image remains with me so many years later.
   Of course, it’s not always that dramatic. Sometimes the opportunities are more subtle. Like the homeless person whose path crosses yours and how you respond. Or a new day’s opportunity to relate and interact a little better with your child.
   The point is that everyone and everything that crosses your path today is there for a reason. The reason is your opportunity to push past self-and-other-imposed limitations and by so doing, create a new and uplifting story.
   Daring and creativity are their own reward. But try telling that to the 73-year-old who saved the dog, dried herself off and went on to play the best 18 holes of anyone in her set.
   She and the dog had a great day!    

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