Ok…. Disclaimer…. This article is not about money. I know…. I’m sorry…. But just stick with me for a few minutes here and let me explain….
One of my favorite parts of being a parent is watching family friendly movies with my kids. For one… it’s a solid 60-120 minutes of quiet time when no one is screaming “MOM!” from random locations in the house… I can sit on the couch wrapped in my favorite blanket snuggled up with one of their little bodies and the monkey doesn’t even realize he’s being kissed on and groomed (what is it about little boys being too wiggly for large amounts of affection?)… and amidst the laughter and colorful images the young impressionable minds are being taught valuable life lessons and the mature slower, rusty minds in the room are being reminded of lessons we learned long ago and fail to practice today.
There was a woman by the name of Dorothy Gale who didn’t make a very big impression on me as a kid, but later in life her story resonated with me in a big way. Miss Gale, like me, was in search of someone to rescue her and take her away from the place she was in. She set out on a journey to find a man who had an endless supply of disposable resources and would lobby for him to take her in and fund her way. What Miss Gale did not expect was to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way and find, in the end, that the man she sought had a dark secret and that she had earned what she need to make her own way possible. As an adult I can say that we would all be wise to follow in this woman’s footsteps and take a serious inventory of what we are chasing after.
Dorothy’s Life Lessons:
1. Take A Step
The most important thing about having a goal is to know that you must take the first step. No one is going to do it for you. No one is going to pull you up or push you down the path that you must walk to get to where you want to be… and no matter how strongly you may feel about this… it does NOT matter who’s fault it is that you are where you are today. You may have made a mistake and found yourself at the end of the wrong path and have to trace your steps backward. You may find yourself at the mercy of some natural disaster, like Dorothy, and have no idea where you have landed. The circumstances may be different but the responsibility is the same. It is up to you to get up, make a choice, choose a path and start walking.
2. Make A Friend
No one wants to go through life alone. Not you and not me. The problem is that most of us leave it up to the rest of the world to reach out to us. Rescue us. Notice us. Introduce themselves to us. Not Dorothy. She was walking along the path she chose, collecting her bricks of gold, and was aware of her surroundings. Even though she was on her own journey she was not consumed with herself. Her eyes, AND HER HEART, were open. She came upon a stranger who didn’t look like her or come from her culture. She noticed him. Introduced herself to him, and instead of politely and awkwardly smiling and moving on…. She offered to help. I am so guilty of being “surfacey”. I am guilty of smiling and nodding and hoping the other person doesn’t ask any questions of me or stop me to talk when OBVIOUSLY have somewhere else to be. When did I become so self absorbed? What makes my life and my agenda so important that I can’t make a connection with a stranger… or even worse with someone I know? We must open our eyes, and more importantly our hearts. We must see value in others and in a sense of community… otherwise we end up walking our journey and realizing in the end that we were alone the whole time and everyone else that we thought was with us… they were only spectators.
3. Sing A Song
Pennies add up. We may not be depositing thousands of dollars a day in the bank… or maybe you are and don’t count that as enough… but whatever the case may be for you… those deposits add up. Dorothy collected hundreds of gold bricks. Lets take a quick detour… Paver bricks weigh anywhere from 3-5 pounds on average and are roughly 4”x8” in size. In Dorothy’s day gold was $386.20/oz. For every mile Miss Gale walked she collected approximately 6500 bricks. This would translate to $40,032,720 worth of weight in gold per mile! Let’s just assume I’m a slow walker and it takes me 20 minutes to walk that mile…. Miss Gale is making $120,098,160/hr!!! (Ummmm can I have that job?!?!) Guess what… she has no idea this money is being deposited into her checking account… and yet… she is singing and skipping the whole way. Even though she is lost. Even though the only thing left of her old life is her dog. Even though she has been wearing the same clothes for days and, as far as we are told, hasn’t taken a shower. The point here is that we have no idea what life may have in store for us but we have to learn to find the joy along the way. Miss Gale is so wrapped up in her new found friendships and meeting their needs that she isn’t even aware of the impact it’s having on her own journey. She is able to hold her goals in her mind AND be a good friend. Besides… who doesn’t love a happy song? Music is powerful! It can pull us up out of the darkest of places. Give us the energy to keep going. Find an upbeat sunny song, open the windows, turn it up and dance! No matter your circumstances!
At the end of Miss Gale’s quest to find the all-powerful man who lives in the mansion we find her mission successful. She has arrived. Her goal has been completed. Insert cheering and “We Are The Champions” victory lap…. Annnnd silence. The mansion has no electricity, no heat, no water and no furniture. The man hides behind a curtain. He is frail, lonely and broke. WHAT?!?! After all that walking?!?! He isn’t going to rescue her and make all her dreams come true?!?! What a crock!!! Suddenly she looks around the room and sees her friends, the ones she made that day and saved from despair. She realizes how much her journey was worth and that they had acquired everything they needed to solve their own problems. She can afford to take herself home, send her friends home and even have some left over. Cue orchestra. Roll credits. The End.
Do the world and yourself a favor… learn from Miss Dorothy Gale… take a look at your goals… re-evaluate your priorities… take a step in a new direction…. connect with a new human and be of some service to them… and learn to dance and sing even if it’s only in the shower. You might find that it lands you in a place better than you had planned… more appreciative of the journey you took to get there. Find your own yellow brick road to success.