Along Twin Ponds Road

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By Ray Willis

When is the last time you “sold yourself short?”  If you’re not familiar with that particular phrase, when is the last time you may have talked yourself out of doing something, because for one reason or another, you didn’t think you were up to the task at hand? 

I’m almost sure that you’ve experienced this phenomenon. I believe we all have.  This feeling that we may not somehow be good enough to perform a new challenge or a certain task goes all the way back to Biblical times.  In chapters three and four of Exodus, God had to convince Moses that he really was the man to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and eventually to the “Promised Land” in Canaan.  

Moses felt quite inadequate and used quite a few different excuses, even that he did not possess adequate speaking/communication skills: “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue”  (Ex. 4:10). 

Most of you know how important Moses became.

Whether or not we have underestimated our own self worth or our ability to perform a job or task that is new or unfamiliar, it really pays off when we are able to experience the joy or exuberance possible from having achieved or accomplished successfully whatever it was that we had pursued.

Yes, most of us have had positive attitudes when undertaking a new job, task or adventure and have also experienced failure.  We also know what it feels like to get up, however defeated or demoralized we might have been, and try again and finally succeed. Ah, how sweet it is!

As a teenager I ran the 400-meter race.  Roger Tryon was Southington High’s best at that race. He had long legs, was fast and possessed the attitude of a champion.  Somehow, I was content to be No. 2 man behind Roger.  It never entered my mind that I might be able to beat him.  I went through most of my life wondering if I could have. (Maybe I can get him to race at our 50th high school class reunion next month.)

In most of the races that Roger and I ran we would usually place first and second and beat the track team we were up against.  In 1958, in fact, we were part of a Southington High track team that broke a medium-size school state record in the mile relay.

One day we had a track meet against nearby Cheshire High.  Roger could not run and I was expected to take his place and win the race.  There could be no thought of being content with second place for this race!

I was a wreck. How in the world was I going to beat Cheshire’s best 400 man?  This column does not allow me the space to give you all the details.  The bottom line was that, somehow, I won this race.

A few years later I would worry about not being smart enough to enter college after having been in the service 8 years.  I had sold myself short again.  The University of Hawaii accepted me into its Department of Education.

ABC Evening News recently conducted  a year-long study of four men who had been let go by GMC.  All had years with the company and were given only severance pay.  Rather than feel sorry for themselves, these four all had the initiative, confidence and drive to enter school to retrain for another occupation.  Congratulations!

No matter what our backgrounds are or what kind of upbringing we may have had, we owe it to ourselves to not give up on ourselves and to look ahead to the joy and good feeling that one is capable of experiencing when we succeed at a task we had doubted we could perform. (Yes, Terry, I am also thinking of you and the writing I’m sure you’re capable of producing.)

God bless you, readers.