What’s your dream?

Today Laura Dekker, a 16-year-old Dutch girl, arrived in the harbor of the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Unremarkable perhaps, except for the fact that she just finished sailing around the world, the youngest recorded person to do so–alone.

This is a venture that cost legendary explorer Magellan his life. Dekker battled the Dutch authorities who forbade her journey, she faced down her own self-doubt aboard her 38′ “Guppy,”  and en route she encountered all manner of harrowing maritime tribulations.

But she circumnavigated the globe. Why? In her words, “It’s a dream, and I wanted to do it.” As we ponder the big questions in life it’s easy to forget that sometimes there’s just a simple answer.

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

–Theodore Roosevelt from the speech, “Citizenship In A Republic”, delivered in Paris on April 23, 1910

Whose List Are You On?

I decided to try out my new Blu-Ray player with a bang so I grabbed—what else?—“The Expendables.” This 2010 homage to ‘80’s action movies features a rogues’ gallery of action stars including stalwarts Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, and of course, Arnold in a cameo.

The reviews were mixed, but the box office returns were impressive, so whether it was the intense action, the stunts, the weaponry or the in-your-face high resolution, I enjoyed the ride.

At one memorable point in the film, Willis, Stallone, and Schwarzenegger appear in the same scene for the first time in their collective careers. There are any number of little lessons you could take away.

You might say, “It’s never too late to do what you might have done,” or “You’re never too old,” or perhaps something along the lines of, “You’re only as old as you allow yourself to be defined to be.” But those chestnuts are, well, old.

I like this lesson better. In the scene, Mr. Church (Willis) is interviewing mercenaries Ross (Stallone) and Mauser (Schwarzenegger) for the job of overthrowing a Latin American dictator. Church tells them, “Both your names came to the top of the list.”

As we go into the new year, many people are busy compiling their own “to-do” lists. But perhaps our focus might be better spent trying to make it to the top of someone else’s list. Getting the attention of a Mr. Church looking to hire the best for a job you’re good at.

So who’s list do you want to be on, and what can you do to get to the top of it? That might be something worth shooting for.

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