The other day, an elderly man, who I see every other week, asked me how I was doing. He used to be a doctor but has since retired.
I said I was busy as ever. He laughed.
'It's good to keep busy,' he said. 'Many people sit in front of their TVs and don't live - in fact, they just die.'
He began to tell me of his days as a doctor during the 80's.
'A lot of my patients were miners,' he said. 'They would spend ten hours in the mine, yet they would still smoke 40 a day.' He laughed in disbelief. 'When they went home they would sit in front of the TV, drink and smoke, and ultimately die. They didn't know any other way to live. The way of living was just passed on from one generation to the next. But this way of living didn't have any hope. It's sad, really. If they weren't at home in front of the TVs, they would be at the pub smoking and drinking. You see, back then, teachers and miners got paid the same wage. The difference was how they spent their wage.'
'Also,' I said, 'I assume that teaching is a much more fulfilling job than mining.'
'Exactly,' he said. 'The difference a teacher can make is huge and the sense of pride and fulfillment is almost instant. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but . . . '
He pondered in silence for a moment.
'Do you know what the answer is?' he said.
I smiled. 'What?'
'The answer is to keep going. Don't stagnate.'
We all have so much potential, yet we clip our own wings and then complain that we can't fly. We look in awe at others who are flying high and fantasize at being just like them, or we despise them out of envy. But we don't need to be just like them. To fly as high as them, and even higher, we just need to see how unique and truly amazing we are. We need to understand that we have what it takes to reach for the stars. All we need to do is water our innate qualities with self-belief, drive, ambition, purpose, goals, passion, confidence, enthusiasm, faith, hope, tenacity, motivation and patience - loads and loads of patience.
It's hard to be yourself but who else is there to be?
There's a common difference between the couch-sitters and the star-sitters - one reaches their hands up and the other lifts their arses up.
Are you a couch-sitter or a star-sitter?