I seemed to have closed out the year with dog stories. Yet, I neglected to tell you about the dog that symbolizes the most recent changes in my life. No matter how much I love Peyton and Simon… regardless of the memories that Marley stirs in me… the dog that has most recently reminded me of the beauty of life is a dog named Enzo.
I’ve told you before that Amazon is spooky. As well as I thought Tivo knew me based upon the input of the up and down thumbs I provided, I have to admit that Amazon.com seems to have an even more keen insight into who I really am.
A few months back I was busy purchasing Sir Jackie Stewart’s autobiography at Amazon, when they tossed out a little blurb that went something like this: “Hey!!!!!!!! Yeah, you, Jeff!!!!!!!!!! Hey, Dogboy!!!!!!!!! We have a book you need to look at. Really. If you are truly the dog lover you say you are, and if you are the Walter Middy Formula 1 racer you think you are… then you need to click on the purchase button for The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.”
Two days later, a dog named Enzo started changing my life.
Let me verify for everyone that I realize I am blessed. It seems like God’s favor has been pelting me from on high since the moment of my birth.
Still, there are principles that are laid out in Garth Stein’s piece of fiction that are the very things I have used to live my life. Specifically, I am the human embodiment of Stein’s seminal phrase from this book, “That which you manifest is before you.”
Am I in the right place at the right time…sometimes.
Am I blessed with a superior education…US News and World Report says so.
Mainly, I understand that I am responsible for my own life. Like everyone, since my earliest moments of childhood, I have encountered the naysayers who are there to tell me what I cannot do. These are the same folks who are always too quick to hit the brakes, run for the storm shelter, or cry to the referees. My vision of life is different.
That which I manifest is before me.
In 1996, I left Indiana and headed for Michigan to design car parts. Now, I am sad that the auto industry is falling apart. However, this summer I chose to take responsibility for my life and take control of my destiny.
But Jeff, you’re an automotive engineer. Your degree is Mechanical Engineering. There is no way you can go into consumer electronics!!!!!!!!! Really? Enzo says, “That which you manifest is before you.”
“You were downsized, Jeff. You need to try to hang on and avoid foreclosure and wait for the government to bail you out…” Really? Perhaps I could use this opportunity to get away from a job that was rotting my soul and find something that is more rewarding to my mind, my body, and my balance sheet.
Jeff, you can’t just become a writer. You have to struggle and face rejection. Really? What if I find a magazine that has a need and find a way to fit my quirky personality into that slot?
It seems like every time we find someone telling us that they are experiencing success, their reason for talking is to sell us a scam. “Hey, everybody…look at all of the money I made in real estate. Pay me $50 and I’ll share those secrets with you.” So, friends, here is what I leave you with today (and it is not a commercial for “my system”).
I recognize the world is in a recession. Like everyone, I wish I had greater assurance that my job would always be here. However, the one thing I know is that I control my own destiny, and since I am in control… I can make my life ANYTHING I want it to be.
The other racing truth that Garth Stein shares is: “The car goes where the eyes go.” Let my 2008 be proof that our lives go where our visions are focused. Dream Big, but don’t stop at dreaming. With your dream in place, create a plan to get there. And develop the mindset that opportunities for success are ALWAYS present. Even if the world starts burning around you, it can serve as your notice that you need to be supplying the world with fire fighting equipment.
The Art of Racing in the Rain reminds us that a wet racetrack separates the field. Rain causes some to complain about the conditions. Rain makes others fight the car in a death-gripped panic. Yet, rain also permits others to move ahead, because they are prepared to deal with everything the world throws at them. 2008 rained on us all. Many spun out. Many slowed to a crawl. As a testament to Enzo, I made some great passes as I moved up the field on the rain-soaked 2008 track.
2009 begins with the rain still falling. Find the life you long for and choose to make it happen. “That which you manifest is before you.”