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As a boy, my Dad used to take me and my sister Wendy across the road to the park to fly our kites. He had made them for us using brightly coloured tissue paper and sticks, and boy, did they fly high! This morning, I heard a really good talk using kite analogy, and I just had to share it with you.

The boy feels his kite tugging hard at the cord in his hands, and he asks his dad if he can let it go. After all, the boy reasons, if he lets it go, it will fly higher and faster without the restriction. He is disappointed when his father replies that it won’t be the case, however his wise  dad allows him to release the kite in order to teach a principle. The boy releases the cord, and of course, the kites falters for a few seconds and then turns sharply and plunges to the ground. These days, it’s probably plastic and won’t break, but in my day it would have been smashed beyond repair from that height.

The first analogy and lesson is that we need resistance in order to improve. We fight the weight of gravity when lifting weights to grow our muscles, fire is used to heat iron to make it stronger. The Romans used fire to harden the wooden spikes they embedded in their moats to impale their invading enemies. Churchill said that kites fly higher against the wind. We grow wiser through turmoil. We learn by our mistakes and in hard times. Rough sandpaper on rough wood results smooth wood. US Marines say, “Sweat is weakness leaving the body. Embrace the pain.”

The second analogy is that of guiding principles, values, and commitments, represented by the cord holding the kite. Someone said that chosen discipline is real freedom. In today’s world of “anything goes, as long as it’s not traditional values, roles and principles,” situational ethics, the perversion and distortion of traditional values and male female roles, and immorality, those with strong values and self discipline will rise above the morass and do well in life and in business.

It’s been said that wise people do what others won’t do now in order to have what others won’t have in the future. In the Bible, we read,  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” A small percentage of people are truly successful in any area of life and business. If it’s quick, easy, popular, and cheap, it’s probably the wrong choice.

I have often written that one’s philosophy determines what one will achieve in life – it’s all about choices. I talked with Wendy the other day, discussing the lives of some of our cousins. We grew up poor. Most of our cousins’ families had a lot more money than we did, yet what they became and achieved in their lives had little to do with the amount of money or the kind of education they received. Life is full of choices. As the Buddha said, “Make your mind a castle.” A castle is to protect us from invasions by our enemies – enemies represented here by those who would distract us from our purpose and urge us to dilute our resolve. Keep that kite cord tight.

Surround yourself with disciplined people who share your values. Hold yourself to high standards. Compromise is poison. Choose the right way as often as you possibly can. A small choice today can make a huge difference in your life later, because choices are like planting seeds. Plant acorns, not weeds. Your kite represents your goals, aspirations, hopes and dreams, and many people are affected by how high it flies or whether it will crash to the ground Fly high. You can.

Robin Elliott   LeverageAdvantage.com