Wide receiver and team captain Matthew Slater of the New England Patriots scored the first touchdown of his 12-year career with the NFL recently after recovering a blocked punt. After the game, Slater told reporters, “I think everyone dreams of scoring a touchdown at some point, and after 12 years, I was dreaming about touchdowns less and less than I was early on.”
Here we have a highly accomplished man (Slater has three Super Bowl rings and has been named to seven straight Pro Bowls) admitting that as his career progressed, his dreams diminished, even though his performance is legendary.
Unfortunately, life can do that to us. Most children are starry-eyed, curious, trusting, inquisitive, joyful, filled with dreams, and creative. But as we age, things tend to change. Why? Because many people who have negative experiences in life choose to allow these experiences to harden them. People choose to stop believing, choose to stop dreaming, choose to stop hoping, choose to stop opening up their heart, choose to stop trusting.
The problem with this? These people are your co-workers. Imagine how much more difficult it is to create an amazing workplace culture when that environment is filled with people who have given up on their dreams. People who don’t believe. People who don’t trust. People who now see the glass half empty, when as a child they saw the glass overflowing.
WHAT CAN I DO? As you make decisions about who to hire, who to ask to be on your committee or team, and even who to befriend, take into account how ‘hard’ a person has become. Life can be filled with joy or filled with anguish. Who you choose to surround yourself with has a major bearing on how your life is going to turn out. If you choose people who are hardened, your life will be harder. If you choose people who still possess childlike qualities, your life will be easier. The choice is yours.