Health Watch/Copper Country Mental Health

During a recent stay near Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan I read how Henry Ford dealt with big barriers in life. Not everyone was supportive of Ford’s idea to transform American automobile manufacturing so ordinary people could afford cars. It was a strange idea to most and took some time for the world to get used to. Imagine him describing the first huge new factory and car assembly line concept to finance people or to craftsmen accustomed to carefully completing one new sophisticated automobile at a time in small workshops. The market was clueless. Potential customers had no idea they wanted affordable cars. They would’ve just asked for faster horses, he would later joke. So, imagine the odds he faced.

According to Ford, “obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” Obstacles can feel scary to us. Sometimes our mistakes can make us discouraged. To Ford, mistakes were merely education opportunities. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing,” he said. Ford was also optimistic that his ideas were possible. Rather than letting oneself dwell on the negative “when everything seems to be going against you,” he said, “remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

Expectations affect our health, too. Our mood lifts when our goals are clear enough that we imagine ourselves at the destination. A plan need not be globally transformative, but a plan should matter – at least to us. Want more than one plan? Then make more than one plan. Some plans might even be shared as long as we feel enough personal ownership. Plans can also change. Most important is that we make big enough plans to transform ourselves. This is key to surmounting barriers and moving forward.

What if you have no big plans? If you want to feel purpose, one way is to inventory your core values. What are six of the most important things in life to you? Health? Freedom? Happiness? Time? Family? Travel? Faith? Home? What else? Rank each value from one to six starting with the most important. Next, assign a grade to each value based on how well your lifestyle supports that value.

You may find yourself putting the least life into your highest value, which may be something you want to change. Find something you want to change? How might you make it happen? What if you succeeded? When will you start? Answer these questions and you might have a new mission.

Walt Disney, another American icon who knew how to turn dreams into reality, said “if you can dream it, you can do it.” Before his success, Disney was almost destitute, but his optimistic attitude kept him focused on discovering something else. “We keep moving forward,” he said, “opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Not every detour leads somewhere we want to stay, but staying still gets us nowhere fast. Imagine yourself living for what is most valuable. Ford said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” What do you think?

Editor’s note: Brian Rendel, MA LLP LPC NCC is a training and prevention specialist with Copper Country Mental Health Institute and a professional counselor.