Do Hard Things.

"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours". ~ Noela Evans.

You never know who you are going to bump into in life and what they will remember about you. I was standing in the buffet line at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, during a recent trade show, when someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Sarge" a voice said. Well it had been over thirty years since anyone called me that, but I turned to look at an older but familiar face. "Ronnie Smith what are you doing these days?" I said. Ronnie was a young soccer player I had coached many years ago, right after i had gotten out of the military. "I just got back from China" he said, and I wanted to spend a few days "R and R in Vegas" before my next jaunt overseas. " What the heck were you doing in China?" I said. He smiled and tilted his head slightly, looking right to recall the memory. Remember what you used to tell us in practice - every single practice? I did. "Do what others can't or won't."

You know there is a book out in the bookstores right now called "Do Hard Things" and it reminds me of what you used to say. I took that stuff to heart Ronnie said. I went into the service and became a Quiet Professional and then later went to work for Oxfam. For the last three years I have been in Yongjing county in China helping with relief efforts. I had to learn the Chinese dialect Sijiaji and let me tell you that was a hard thing to say the least. "Too many people go through their lives just dealing with what comes their way", he whispered, and I determined I was not going to be one of those people. I have two kids in college and do you know what I drum into their heads?
"Do Hard Things" and "Do What Others Can't or Won't"

Ronnie said. If there's one piece of advice I would give to anyone who asks me how they can get more satisfaction from their life I'd say:

Do Hard Things.

Ronnie made me smile.

The American Bus.

"America is another name for opportunity." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As an immigrant, who became an American Soldier, and unabashed cheerleader for this land of opportunity the chorus of wailing that echos through our land today seems a little silly. Challenges and change are inevitable and prophets of doom have sold their bill of goods since the dawn of time but you know what? ~ The Opportunity Remains.

I see individuals and circumstances today much like individuals and circumstances have been and always will be. Compared to other periods, and particularly when we look over centuries, if anything, our circumstances, standard of living and lot in life is considerably better now than it has been at any time in history. But the human character always presents some that solve and some that squeal. Meanwhile the American bus travels on down the highway. She moves forward.

On board are many varied faces, opinions and voices, each with the opportunity to speak up and take action. Some talk. Some talk and take action and some just take action. Each of us has the opportunity to say and do something about the direction, speed and quality of the journey we take on the American bus. Each of us has a hand on the brake. The brake can squeal and slow us, perhaps bringing us to a stop every now and then. But sooner or later we choose a direction, take an action, and move America forward again. Why am I such an avid and ardent cheerleader on our Awesome American Bus? 

Because The Opportunity Remains.