Last updated: March 02. 2014 8:33AM - 815 Views

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“Oh wad’s the power the gift e ge us to see ourselves as ithers see us.” This is Robert Burns talking in “Ode to a Louse” in England centuries ago but doesn’t it apply oh so much here today? How can 3 individuals see the same object and see 3 different things?

I see myself as middle of the road and happy, while my chocolate Lab thinks I can do no wrong, while my wife, at times, thinks the opposite. What’s up with that? Doesn’t it all go back to the controversy of “is seeing believing” or “is believing seeing?” Is everything as we perceive it, or do we just think it is as we perceive it?

At an early age, I learned to think for myself. Yes. You need to follow certain rules of conduct with respect to others and authority but when given the opportunity, try it your way. Where would we all be if our forefathers never saw a need for change? As a freshman in football, I learned many valuable lessons for life and I discovered myself. I found that it’s more fun to hit than be hit, and I found that I could control people bigger than me if I hit them low. This levels the playing field. They were born bigger than me, but maybe I was born quicker or smarter. At that point, I realized to never accept failure at face value. If you dig a little deeper, u will find a way to turn failure into a challenge that you overcame and that’s success. If it weren’t potholes and detours, life’s highway wouldn’t be much of a challenge, now would it?

What success or reward is underachieving? This is the bully syndrome, where someone picks on someone smaller than them. Why, because they are bigger and assume you won’t fight back. Psych 101 tells us they are underachievers or cowards inside wanting to look big on the outside. Freshmen football told me that the best answer to a bully is not verbal, it’s physical surprise. With no warning, put them on the ground level, the playing field. This is line-backer mentality and it works in all walks of life. That bully is suddenly shocked at the outcome of his actions. Things were not as he perceived them and you won’t hear from him again. What you will hear from is your conscience and you will like what you hear.

Bullying in today’s world is everywhere. It’s on the street, in the hallway, on the Internet, or anywhere we go. It may be severe or it may be subtle. I have had 3 kids and I now have 3 grandchildren. I have told them in the past, and don’t feel a need to change now, the solution has to come from within. It’s a state of mind. If you believe in yourself and you follow through with proving to the bully that they won’t want to try it again, they won’t. That is a win, win situation, isn’t it?

Isn’t this the way we all want our children to feel about themselves? Don’t we want them to be self-sufficient and never live in fear? Yes, it takes preparation, like athletes, working out, martial arts or however you need to prepare yourself physically to be who you need to be mentally. This is why I have always promoted sports. This develops physical attributes as well as a mental state of mind. While you’re working on building muscle, you’re also enhancing your mental self-image. The Internet and video games will develop strong thumb muscles and create a false image of reality and yourself. It’s all in how you prepare and perceive yourself.

If all the above fall short in your first encounter with the bully in your life, remember that’s why God made ash and hickory trees. They provide the ball bats and ax handles that become the equalizers for farm boys to level the playing field. Life is too short to be bullied.

This is all thinking outside the box and it’s all determining your own destiny. With kids, bullying is in the news and the results are tragic. We live in an age where we’ve forgotten that pioneers were born with an ax in one hand and a rifle in the other. We’ve forgotten how to fend for ourselves. Unfortunately, many don’t have Dad at home to instill these thoughts or values.

I’m writing this about the bullying that we see happening to kids, but once again, let’s think outside the box. The reality of bullying is unfortunately carrying over into life in other forms, later in life, but the answer is the same.

When life throws us a curve with overpowering or overwhelming personalities in college, at work, or in the neighborhood, how do we deal with it, or do we? My experience has been that whether the bully is a kid, co-worker, or neighbor, you aren’t the first he’s tried this with, his reputation precedes him and you are being tested. Your future and your image as perceived by yourself and others will be determined by how you handle this pivotal moment. If you watched Ralphie handle this in The Christmas Story you will know that when he came to grips with this, his life was forever changed, for the better.

This isn’t limited to bullying. As life challenges occur, you will either define the moment or it will define you. Life may try to tell you that you can’t go to college, or you can’t have the job, wife, or life that you want. My suggestion is to listen to that only long enough to analyze where it’s coming from and alter it to suit your needs. Think outside the box, be all you can be, and do it your way. Success is at the intersection of the preparation and opportunity.

What does this have to do with sports, landscaping, school, family, and life? - Everything

Dudley Wooten can be reached at 740-820-8210 or by visiting wootenlandscaping.com.

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