The Difference

USA Today had a series recently on "Sports and Academics." It was quite thorough and included thoughts and perspectives from athletes, coaches and college leaders. One day they highlighted the thoughts of two athletes about their college experience. Read their words and see if you notice a difference:

Chinyere "Chi Chi" Okpaleke
When I received my diploma, I realized it was all worth it. I thank God every day I took the road less traveled, stayed true to my heart and stuck with it. (Entire Article)

Steven Cline
Now I look back and say, 'Well, what did I really go to college for? Crap classes you won't use the rest of your life?' Social science is nothing specific. I majored in football.(Entire Article)

The difference, in Juggling Elephants terms, was that one stayed true to their purpose while the other was distracted by the purpose of others. If you read both articles you will see that both faced difficult challenges. When the time came to make choices, however, one chose an answer that was contrary to their purpose, but more immediately gratifying or convenient. The other made a choice that required more sacrifice now, but with outcomes that would be worth it in the future.

I wish I could say that I could most readily identify with Okpaleke, but I am more likely to be like Cline. I make choices that give me instant gratification or avoid some difficult obstacle, but leave me looking back with regret. Not just over the course of four years, but even in how I spend a day or an hour of my time. The result is the same.

What choices do you need to make today? And what choice would one day have you look back with gratitude and peace instead of pain and disappointment? An old quote comes to mind:

The pain of discipline and commitment is measured in ounces.
The pain of disappointment and regret is measured in tons.