Don't Settle for the Parade

I am convinced the biggest hurdle in life is in our mind. I’m not saying that we don’t all have other obstacles and/or challenges in our everyday life. I am saying that we must shift our mindset, grow our mindset, and develop our mindset, if we want to change our future. If we want to grow, if we want to move past the obstacles that have hindered us from reaching success in the past, if we want to change the trajectory of our life, we must learn to think differently.

Let me explain. I’m reminded of a story of a little boy named Tommy. Tommy was so excited when he learned the circus was coming to town. He loved the idea of the circus. It was just after WW II and he was an only child of parents who did not have anything to spare. Because of Tommy’s excitement, Tommy’s parents decided to stretch finances and scrape money together so he could go to see the circus.

Finally, the day came. Tommy got all of his chores done early and cleaned up to get ready to go. He planned to see all the circus offered - the ringmaster, performers, clowns, and animals - everything he had been dreaming of. As was tradition, the circus paraded through town on that first day and Tommy made sure he got there in time to line up near the edge of the parade route and watch as they walked by. Initially, he realized he could hear the band and then, to his great joy, he saw them coming - the ringmaster and elephants, the acrobats and lions. He had never experienced anything like it and certainly could not have imagined the grandeur and energy he was witnessing as the parade passed by.

At last, the parade finale approached with the troupe of clowns bringing the parade to a close. The clowns were the best part of the procession yet. As they brought up the rear of the circus parade, Tommy did something no one could have predicted. He walked up to one of the clowns and gave the clown his precious admission for the circus and went home. Tommy started out with a thrilling vision of what he thought would be the greatest day of his young life, but he settled for something far less.

What is the point people are missing? People miss the point when they have no purpose, no clear vision. They are being tossed by the waves of circumstances and situations they find themselves in. Sometimes good things happen and sometimes bad things happen. They make their way through life the same as millions of others so that, when they compare themselves to others, they can honestly say, “My life isn’t so bad; I’ve done OK.”

I have a different view. Tommy’s vision fell short. If he really wanted to see the circus in its fullness, he needed to buy a ticket and sit through the show. The show was planned well so that there would be surprise, amazing feats, thrills, and a high point he would remember for the rest of his life. But because his vision was not explored and developed, he really was content to only see the people and animals of the circus simply tumble, dance and walk past him in a parade.

Have there been times in your life when you were content with just the crumbs from the table, or the parade without the show? Our vision needs to be clear. It needs to birth passion and promote drive within us. It needs to call upon all of our talents and abilities to be achieved. If our vision is not driving us in this way, I don’t think it is true vision. We need to actively pursue those dreams that reside in us and we should never settle for less than those dreams. We need to find information, counsel, and mentors who can help us expand the imagination of our heart. Be transparent with those who can speak into your life. Invest time reading and listening to those who have gone before you. Try and fail and then try again. Investigate and stretch. The resulting dream could be right at the end of the parade and the beginning of a thrilling success.

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