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Positively Speaking: You aren’t a tree


By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of man named Toby Moore
Toby Moore

Renowned motivational speaker and entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “There are times when you just lose, no matter what you do; it’s that kind of planet.”

You could be passionate about what you do, work 10-hour days, love your family, be honorable, and ultimately, you can still lose! Does that mean you did something wrong? Only sometimes.

Humans strive to comprehend the world, drawing patterns and expecting consistent outcomes. We prefer a neat universe where hard work and dedication lead to success. But life doesn’t always adhere to these rules.

As a former high school and college swimmer, I experienced this firsthand. I woke up at dawn, diving into morning practices before the school bell rang, and slipped back into the pool each afternoon when classes ended; I always smelled like chlorine and loved it.

My passion for swimming was the compass guiding my efforts. Yet, despite my dedication and undying love for the sport, I couldn’t compete at the elite level.

What had I done wrong? In essence, nothing! Being a professional athlete just wasn’t in the cards for me. The realization stung, of course. I mourned losing what I believed was my calling, grappling with feelings of failure and disappointment. But then, I remembered another nugget of wisdom from Jim Rohn.

Asked in one of his lectures about knowing when to give up on something and try something new, Rohn humorously replied that he knew it was time to change course when he ran out of money.

That’s a good reason. Another good reason is when you run out of passion.

I often talk about never giving up, never giving in, and striving to achieve your goal no matter the odds, and I still believe that, but also you need to be passionate about what you’re doing.

I quit the swim team mid-way through my junior year in college. Why? I ran out of passion when I realized I couldn’t compete as an Olympian.

Some would say I’m a quitter, but if you no longer feel enthusiastic about your current goal, you should consider a new direction. Without passion, sustaining your motivation is almost impossible. You must love what you do.

The focus is not on throwing in the towel but actively channeling your energies toward more productive pursuits.

Sometimes you may only need a break; after some time away, you may discover your passion again. That’s great! Return to what you love.

How did I lose my passion?

Despite consistent efforts, I wasn’t making the progress I needed to achieve my dream. It was only then that I realized it wasn’t suitable for me.

So, how does one know what to turn to next? The answer lies in uncovering what stirs your soul.

It is often said, “Whatever you don’t use, you lose.” Hence, exercising the ability to chase your dreams, and stirring your innate desire, is crucial.

Embracing a new direction is a delicate process. After deciding to move on from an unfulfilled dream, don’t beat yourself up reliving the past. Doing so can crush your new vision and dampen your plans. Forgive yourself; you haven’t failed but are on the path to your true destiny.

Another reason to pursue a different dream is that your values change. What seemed like a worthy goal in the past may no longer align with your current reality. It’s imperative to ensure that your goals resonate with your present self and not an outdated version of you.

Life, as we all know, is an ever-changing journey, an expedition marked by phases of growth, learning and evolution. As we navigate through these stages, our perspectives inevitably shift and expand, giving rise to new values, aspirations and self-understanding.

Clinging to an outdated goal is like adhering to a defunct map; it can lead you somewhere, but likely not your desired destination. Allow yourself to revise your dreams. If they no longer resonate with you, then move on.

As Jim Rohn famously stated, “If you don’t like where you are, move! You aren’t a tree.”

Embrace change as your companion, and constantly remind yourself that the journey is the destination.

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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