Steve Heston, Cedarburg, Wisconsin
If you were playing word association games with most people, the word "end" would be used a lot in affiliation with the word "results."
That's too bad.
Results are also, by definition (except when the headline reads "Joe died as a result of his injuries...") beginnings. Technically, depending on your Faith base, even ol' dead Joe could be off to a rapturous beginning, but I digress...
Results, therefore, are important, because we learn from them.
When I was 10-years-old, I got up in the count, two-strikes-and-no-balls, to Terry Nelson. Terry was 12-years-old. He looked like he was 8'7" tall and his arms looked like my legs. Actually, his arms looked bigger than my legs. Ok, Ok, his arms were, in fact, bigger than my legs, but I had little chicky legs when I was 10. And when I was 14. Pretty much until college, I had stick legs...but I digress again...
Where was I?
Ah, yes. Up 2 & 0 on Terry Nelson, the Babe Ruth of Fairfield, Iowa's Little League, circa 1971. "There is no way he thinks I'll throw another strike," I told myself. He did. On that summer evening, 1971, Terry Nelson hit a ball that either never landed or burned up on re-entry about five miles on the other side of the center field fence. The result of my inexperience, when weighed against his ginormousness and comparative wisdom, was a moon shot home run. Another result was that I never, and I do mean never -- threw three consecutive strikes to a good hitter again.
Later that year, Gary Gardner, the coach of the Little League All-Star team, refused to let me pitch in an All-Star Game. "Heston," he said, "You'll never be able to pitch your way out of a wet paper bag." The result of his arrogance came six years later, when I pitched my first no-hitter. As a high school sophomore. Against a team that he coached. Against a team for which his son (a senior!) was a first-team All State pitcher. I'm not sure that was the result he had in mind when he belittled me six years previously. I'm sure he thought his wilting critique was an ending. Instead, for me, it created the moment that I realized I could play after high school.
Results can be endings, I guess, if you want to just stop where you are.
But if going forward is your plan -- each and every result simply represents a beginning for what comes next. And, in this life, what comes next is all that matters.
If we look at results as endings, we tend to long for do-overs or second chances. If all we see in endings are missed opportunities, games won or lost, feelings hurt or mended, we're not getting the benefit of living. We're not learning, and if we're not learning, well, then, we are, by definition, at an ending.
Results are the beginning of learning, the yardstick of growth. When we accept and understand results, we start learning the big lessons. Learning is the fountain of youth, the spring from which a full life flows.
Results are the seeds that grow up to be tomorrow. The kind of tomorrow whose rear-view-mirror filters out the waste and keeps the useable lessons in focus. Results are beginnings. They're the ticket to whatever act of the play comes next -- and I want a front row seat.
Used with permission. Go to http://steveheston.com/ for more of Steve Heston