What I Have Learned… So Far – Gratitude

Inspiration into Action | Happy Living“Contentment alone is enough. Indeed, the bliss of eternity can be found in your contentment.”
(Lao Tzu)

I used two literary devices throughout my book, Turning Inspiration Into Action. One is called Lightning Bolts and the other MBG Life Lessons. Lightning Bolts are those moments of sudden inspiration that led to the significant transformations of my life. MBG Life Lessons are the most important things I have learned along the way. I use my initials (my full name is Matthew Brian Gersper) to highlight the fact that these are my life lessons and I do not presume that they should apply to you or anyone else.

Today, I introduce the first of a new blog series called, What I Have Learned… So Far. These lessons are essential tools which have guided the way to the life of my dreams, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. I do this with the hope that they may be useful to you, and to demonstrate how you can draw your life lessons from your personal transformations. To get us started, here is the first: it’s all about gratitude.


MBG Life Lesson: Your day belongs to another’s dream.

During the summer of 1984, as I was training for the Los Angeles Raiders, I received a piece of advice that transformed my life. I had just been cut from the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, and I wanted desperately to play professional football. I was seeking help. I was looking for magic. I wanted someone just to tell me what to do to succeed.

One of my lifelong friends, Mike Finn, was playing for the St. Mary’s College football team in Moraga, California. His position coach Randy McClure was a former professional player for the Houston Oilers. I asked Mike if he would make an introduction. His coach was gracious and agreed to meet me. During our conversation, I asked him about his career, and how he made the leap from college to the pros. I asked him what advice he could share that could make a difference for me. Of course, there was no magic he could offer. He told me to keep doing what I was doing. He reminded me that at each step of the game, through four years of high school and four years of college, I had done what was needed to succeed. He told me to keep working hard, to trust in my abilities, and to be myself. As we parted, he shared a quote that has profoundly impacted my life.

“Your day belongs to another’s dream.”
(The author is unknown to me)

Coach McClure was trying to shift my perspective — from chasing more and wanting life to be different, to being grateful and accepting my life as it was. He wanted me to understand that no matter what happened with the Raiders, I was already successful in football. It was his way of showing me that many other football players dreamed of being in my situation – earning an opportunity to become a pro. He wanted me to acknowledge and appreciate what I had already accomplished.

The quote influenced me in ways that went far beyond football. It has been my reminder every day since that there are people in this world who can only dream of my daily experience as an American man, living in a country with the freedom to create the life I desire, and the opportunity to pursue my dreams. It is my constant reminder to be grateful for whatever I have at the moment. The quote helps me maintain perspective about the ups and the downs of life with humility. It was a big and important lesson for me.

My definition of perspective is getting beyond the personalization of success and failure. It means realizing that “I” am only one variable of many that may be responsible when life is in a “down” cycle. It also means not grabbing credit when life is in the “up” swing. Again, “I” am only one piece of the larger puzzle creating the current state of my life. This quote helps me shift my focus off of my ego (my head) and put it where it belongs (my heart), focusing me on being grateful for what I have at the moment. It helped me view my entire ten-year football career as a great success because of what I accomplished rather than as a failure because it ended short of my ultimate goal. It was a powerful lesson I learned as a young man that has served me well in all the transformations that followed. 


So today, I share with you the gift I was given by Coach McClure more than thirty years ago and hope it helps shift your perspective and gives you a big dose of contentment and gratitude, for who you are and what you have, now, at this very moment and remember that ‘your life belongs to another’s dream’.

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