Hello and good day!
A married couple strolled through the park holding hands. "I've been researching some more," said the wife. The husband girded himself for the conversation and prepared to stay present.
"What have you found out?" asked the husband. "There are so many options. It is hard to know what is real and what is a scam," said the wife.
The two had decided to go on a diet together.
They weren't far overweight, but they had reached a point where a decision needed to be made. Would they continue to drift slowly upwards, or would they attempt to draw a line in the sand?
In truth, the husband would have been fine with drifting upwards slowly.
He'd never considered himself to be a particularly handsome man and he understood from a young age that he'd have to get ahead in the world strictly on personality and accomplishment. Nobody would ever swoon in his presence.
After raising his children, and remaining a faithful husband, and working long hard hours to support his family, he liked the idea of eating as he pleased.
The wife on the other hand was both beautiful and intelligent and had always prided herself of carrying off both at the same time. She was the one primarily interested in staying fit and the husband agreed to go along with whatever regimen she decided upon, for moral support. He did not, however, sign up for multiple, drawn out, detailed conversations about the pros and cons of each option.
His understanding was that she would choose, and he would do as he was instructed. The husband was capable of great discipline and decisiveness. But he tired easily of conversations that went over the same territory again and again. Over the years though, he'd grown accustomed to this routine with his wife, and was able to fight back impatience when necessary.
"The one I like, I mean, the one that makes the most sense to me, also takes the longest," said the wife. "How long?" asked the husband. "It says that we can only expect to lose two pounds a month," said the wife. "How much did you say you want to lose?" asked the husband.
"20 pounds," said the wife."Ten months. That's not bad," said the husband. "I don't know. Ten months of dieting? That sounds like a long time," said the wife.
They walked on in silence, each thinking about what ten months of dieting would be like.
"What's the fastest option?" asked the husband. "There is a juice fast that says you can lose ten pounds in two weeks. But almost everybody says that you put the weight right back on," said the wife. "Ten months sounds very reasonable to me. I vote for that one," said the husband.
"Ok. I want to do a little bit more research though, and then we'll decide," said the wife.
"Do as you like. But for the sake of your dear husband, please remember that I have already voted for the ten-month plan. Once a vote is cast, you can't vote again. My voting is done. But I will go along with whatever you decide," said the husband.
A sixteen-year-old boy approaches his Spanish teacher after class. "Mr. Ruiz? Can I talk to you for a second?" asks the boy. "Sure. Come over here to my desk. I'm going to drink coffee while we talk," said Mr. Ruiz. Mr. Ruiz walked behind his desk at the front of the room and sat in his wooden chair. He twisted the top off a thermos and poured coffee into a mug that read "I Heart Costa Rica."
"How can I help you son?" asked Mr. Ruiz.
"Mr. Ruiz, I want to get really good at speaking Spanish. Based on what you know about me from class, how long do you think that will take?" asked the boy.
Mr. Ruiz took a sip of coffee and swallowed it slowly, thinking. "You are a good student. Very good. If you were to apply yourself and take outside tutoring and find ways to become immersed in the language, I think you could become fluent in two years," said Mr. Ruiz.
He lifted the mug to his lips again, awaiting the retort.
"Two years! That long? Two years? Really?" asked the boy.
"How old are you son?" asked Mr. Ruiz.
"I'm sixteen," said the boy.
"I'm a Spanish teacher, not a math teacher. Maybe you can help me out. How old will you be in two years?" asked Mr. Ruiz. "In two years? Eighteen," said the boy.
Mr. Ruiz nodded.
"And how long do you plan to live?" asked Mr. Ruiz.The boy thought for a moment. "At least to 100," said the boy.
"Good. Very good. So, if you spend two years now, you'll be eighteen and then you'll be able to speak Spanish for the next eighty-two years. You'll be able to travel all over the world and talk to Spanish speakers. That sounds like a good deal to me," said Mr. Ruiz.
He took a long sip of his coffee, finishing the rest of the cup in one slosh, and then served himself a second steaming cupful.
"I know...." said the boy.
The boy's words trailed off and he drifted away into an impromptu daydream, imagining himself on the beach in the Dominican Republic, a nightclub in Columbia, an open market in Mexico. He could see himself speaking and laughing and making friends and meeting local girls.
A wistful smile began to form across his mouth.
Mr. Ruiz sat watching, drinking his coffee, enjoying how the boy was envisioning the potential fruits of his labor. But then the boy shook his head and came back to reality.
"Two years though, Mr. Ruiz. That will take forever! Thanks anyways Mr. Ruiz," said the boy. The boy packed his backpack and headed out into the hallway.
"Que pena," said Mr. Ruiz to himself. His next period was free, so he put his feet up on the desk and settled into a nap. Even after two cups of strong Costa Rican coffee, he was tired enough to fall right asleep.
Other than love at first sight, it is almost impossible to achieve an important goal quickly. There are 2,000 hours in a full-time work year, adjusting out for two weeks of vacation. The 10,000-hour rule posits that it takes 10,000 hours to gain mastery in any skill. That means five full-time years to become a true master at just about anything.
This is the reality of taking on any new challenge.
It is important to know that going in, so that you don't quit too early. This is as much a reminder for me as it is for anybody reading today.
Everything meaningful takes time.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!