There is a verse in the 18th chapter of Matthew in the Bible where Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who has sinned against him. His question: “Seven times Lord?” and Jesus answers not seven times but seven times seventy. This piece is not religious but that question got me thinking over the weekend. I know if you are anything like me you often find yourself asking “how many times?”
I am a mom so I find myself asking “How many times do I have to tell you to do the same thing over and over again? How many times do I have to tell you not to do that? How many times are you gonna ask me that same question?” and the list goes on and on and on.
But this piece is not about being a mom. It is about being a “me.” There are many times when we grow frustrated with life and our circumstances. It is in these times that it may help to remember “7 x 70.” Now is the answer really 490 times? I doubt it. The true answer is: as many times as it takes. Funnily (my own word) enough the amount of times is probably FAR less than a random 490. It takes 21 days for something to become a habit. That sounds really doable when compared to 490 doesn’t it?
Let’s look at other examples where we can apply this notion to motivate ourselves to move forward:
1. How many times will I keep trying to master something new? As many times as it takes! You can learn a foreign language in far less time than 490 straight days. So, keep going!
2. How many times will I pick myself up when I’ve fallen down? As many times as it takes! Anyone who has succeeded at something has failed at something else. Often times it is through the failures that the knowledge comes for the great success. Even the great Michael Jordan absolutely SUCKED at pro baseball. Does that diminish his greatness as a basketball player? Absolutely not! It highlights the fact that he is human and as such has limitations.
I believe that one of the purposes of life is to learn the lessons. You can not learn all lessons by skipping through the poppy field. Most are learned through hardship and struggle. So as you sit there knocked down but not out pick yourself up that one more time. Brushing yourself off gets easier every time.
3. How many times must I listen to my coworker tell offensive jokes/be a negative Nelly or Ned or watch them get projects/promotions that I feel belong to me? As many times as it takes for you to learn the lesson of why them not you, to discover that this job is not your passion, to learn the skills you need to learn to move forward. Sometimes we don’t see ourselves the way others see us. Look in the mirror. Recognize your shortcomings. This will help you deal with the offensive person and will most likely give you the rocket power to propel forward.
4. How many times must I challenge myself? As many times as it takes! There is great reward in mastering something new or outside of your comfort zones. The sense of accomplishment is tremendous. Why is the reward so great? Because it is NOT easy! If it were easy everyone would do it! But you, my friend, are not everyone. You are very uniquely you and as such you have a unique purpose in life. Find your passion- that thing that makes you tick, makes you get out of bed even when you don’t want to and then put on your cape and go conquer. Will it be challenging? Oh yes! Will it be worth it? Oh yes! Will you have it to give it many times before you get it right? For SURE! How many times? Frankly I have no idea. Count on the fact that you may lose count… and then STOP COUNTING and just do it.
If you are worried about how many times you missing part of the lesson. You are probably taking some of the joy out of the journey, and you for sure will make the process longer (or at least feel longer) in your mind. We generally think of how many times in a negative context, but I propose that if we master the art of just plowing through to our destiny then these may instead be your questions:
1. How many times am I going to grant myself a vacation this year?
2. How many times will I get to show my loved ones I love them?
3. How many times will I watch attend my kids’ sports event?
4. How many times will I be the one there to kiss the boo boo instead of hearing about it afterward?
5. How many times will I be there to comfort a friend/loved one in need?
Your quality of life will change my friends once you are willing to do the things you don’t want to do for as many times as it takes.
Spread love! Peace and Blessings…