My best friend, Allen, and I were in the living room when my mom came in and asked what we were doing.
"We're trading Baseball cards!" I said excitedly. We were 8 or 9 years old. Trading was Allen's idea. He would propose a trade and I'd pretty much take whatever he offered. --Unless it was Kirby Puckett. I was a Minnesota kid and had nearly a whole page of Kirby Puckett cards. I was also a big fan of Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti. I had seen all of these players in the 1980s at Minnesota Twins games played in the now demolished Metrodome.
I felt connected to the players and so their baseball cards had value to me. A few other players from other teams had value for me: Nolan Ryan --one of the greatest pitchers of all time who happened to share my name, Ozzy Smith--a St. Louis Cardinal shortstop had grabbed my attention when helped shut down the Twins, and Jose Conseco who was a big hitter for the Oakland A's in another game against the Twins. But any other card Allen wanted, he pretty much got.
When Dad came home he warned me that I wasn't trading well. He said that I should buy a guide that would list the value of the cards before I did any trading. It seemed strange to me. I already knew which cards I liked. I knew how valuable the cards were to me. Why would I buy a book to tell me what's valuable?
The guide could only educate me on what other people thought were valuable. How does that impact me? Only as a much as I let it. See, I have a choice. I can choose to value the cards for what they mean to me, or I can allow myself to be influenced by the values decided by others.
So who's life do you want to live? Allen wanted the cards he wanted for the reasons he wanted. My mother worried about my values and told my father. My father advised that I educate myself about the values of others so that I could make more monetarily valuable trades in the future. But what did I value?
I used to know. That was before I let myself drown in other people's opinions.
I still have my Kirby Puckett Cards. I don't even care what about their monetary worth. They're a piece of my childhood. Childhood heroes. I can't put a price on that. It's worth too much.
Today I want to challenge you to look back to the things that brought you joy. For me the things that jump to mind are:
Playing Video Games
Reading the Hardy Boy mysteries
Birthday Parties and Sleep Overs
As I got older, I liked different things
In High school I learned guitar, got involved in theater, and began studying different Philosophers--both ancient and modern. My senior year of high school I took on leadership positions
Drama Club President
Key Club Board of Directors
that launched me into a successful college career.
National Communications Coordinator
Slovak Culture Club - Marketing Chair
Hall Council President
Rock and Roll Performer at the underground Unplugged and outdoor festivals
Snow Court Prince
Cardboard Box Maze Maker
Ice Hockey Team Captain
Campus Activities Board Volunteer
After college, I took a decade to study how people view work and began developing methods for teaching leadership skills. After much intentional study I've figured out which activities still hold the most value for me. Now I spend time every day intentionally seeking after the the activities that are important to me.
I encourage you to take some time to explore the things that have been important to you in your life.