What I Learned From An Eagle Scout
Few positive experiences echo through our life like those of our youth. Often wrapped around a difficult challenge, these "high bar" moments develop uncommon character and confidence. I was reminded of this recently by a chance encounter with an Eagle Scout.
I was hanging out with my son at Starbucks after his first troop meeting since advancing from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Seeing his uniform, a young man from the table next to us struck up a conversation with my son. Showing his Eagle Scout card, the young man shared the value it held for him. Confidence and leadership skills.....opened doors for college applications and job interviews. It wasn't a brag session. I could see that he genuinely relished the opportunity to encourage another Boy Scout to reach for Eagle.
I was never a Boy Scout, but that encounter got me thinking. What's to be learned here? Sure, there's the notoriety that comes with the Eagle Scout rank. They deserve it. But long term I think it's trumped by the personal growth that results from any difficult task achieved over a long time. How do I know? In high school I was part of a Bible Quiz Team that ranked among the top 3 in the nation. You can read more about it here, but basically it's a competition based around Bible memorization on a large scale (think books, not verses).
In a recent EntreLeadership podcast Chris Locurto terviewed Rory Vaden, author of the "Take The Stairs" message of personal discipline. In the interview he shares the Paradox Principle, which describes how people who perform at very high levels think differently from the rest of the crowd. Here it is. "Easy, short-term choices lead to difficult long-term consequences. Meanwhile, difficult short-term choices lead to easy long-term consequences." Read this again.....S L O W L Y.
What this means is you have to focus on those things in life that are important but not necessarily urgent (Quadrant II for you Stephen Covey fans). Things like getting out of debt, building your marriage, getting in shape. And yes, even making Eagle Scout rank.
Question: Is there a difficult experience/challenge in your life that's made you better in the long run? Leave a comment by clicking the "talk box" button below.