Saturday, February 28, 2009

Giving up...or Adding Value?

Some of us may be familiar with the religious holiday of lent. Lent is a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, and preparation for the BIG BUNNY day of Easter! During this time many people choose to “give up” something they love. For example, ice cream, Grey’s Anatomy, or perhaps chocolate. Why do individuals do this? It is a sign of repentance and opportunity to experience self-control.

Giving up certain indulgences is great, as a matter of fact it may lead to creating a better lifestyle habit. However, there are certain people who decide to do something rather than give something up.

Yes, actually add something to your life, rather than take away. I like to look at this as adding value. What in your life can you take and improve on?

A good friend of mine, named Jackie, decided last year for lent she would focus on relationships. Each day she would write a letter to someone. Not just a few words in a goofy card, but an actual letter with thought and personalization. I was one of the lucky recipients of one of Jackie’s letters. It came to be when I had just returned home from a long time on the road. I was tired, drained mentally and physically, and was wondering how I would make it on another month long journey with just two days of rest. As always, my parents had bundled up my mail and placed it in my room from when I was gone. When I came across Jackie’s letter, it was just what I needed.

Suddenly, my attitude vaulted into a positive state. Her letter reminded me of why I was traveling, why FFA and student’s development are so important. Two days of rest was no longer needed after reading her words…all I really needed was a reminder.

Jackie wrote 40 letters or more over lent last year. Can you imagine what a huge impact her letters had? Not only did they impact 40 individuals directly, but those people around the 40 letter recipients were impacted.

I know I was more energized and enthusiastic as I started on the road again after receiving a letter.

Whether it is something you practice during lent, or something you choose to start at any point in your life, adding value to your life is important. We can add value in the relationships we invest in, like what Jackie did. We can add value by creating and sticking to a healthy lifestyle plan, or perhaps we add value through scheduled “hobby” time to do the things we love despite how busy we are.

Giving up an indulgence is hard, yet adding value can be even harder. How can you be committed to adding value to your life? Or perhaps the question is how do you pin-point where in your life you want to add that value?

Today is a good time to ask yourself these questions. Not tomorrow, the next day, or in a month. No, the time is today, now, the current. How can you add value to live the life you so desire?

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