Former Chargers Quarterback, Ryan Leaf, was dubbed as the “biggest flop in NFL history.” The promising quarterback, who led Washington State to its first Rose Bowl in 67 years, called it quits a few months after his twenty-sixth birthday.
Looking deeper into Leaf’s failure is a powerful study how we tend to become what the most important person in our lives thinks about us. His coach at Washington State, Mike Price, believed in Ryan. Coach Price said, “Ryan had a temper and it wasn’t easy, but eventually he would respond and do a great job.” Leaf later said that Coach Price had been a profound positive influence on him. In the middle of his crisis in San Diego, Leaf told one reporter, “I wish Coach Price would call me.”
It’s not how you start, but how you finish
Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was. Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus was impressed with his answer and responded,
“You are blessed, Simon (which means, “reed”) son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means, “a rock”), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Matthew 16:17-18 (NLT)
Peter went from being a weak, reed-like person, to becoming a rock-solid man of God. He went from being the disciple who denied Jesus, to being the one who preached the first sermon recorded in Acts with over 3000 people saved!
Expecting the best brings out the best
A school superintendent in San Jose conducted an experiment. He brought three of the top teachers together and told them, “You’re the best teachers we have, and we are going to give you 90 of the top students and let you run with them, then we are going to compare results.”
When it was over, they learned these 90 students had progressed 30% farther than others. The superintendent then said, “I have a confession, these were not 90 of the top students, they were randomly selected.” The teachers thought about it, one responded, “Well, I guess that just shows what the best of best teachers can accomplish.” The superintendent said, “And I have another confession, you’re not the top teachers. We also selected you randomly.”
Relationships don’t grow on perfection, but on forgiveness
Ernest Hemingway told a story of a Spanish father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in Madrid newspaper. The ad read:
“Dear Pablo, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.”
On Saturday 800 Pablos showed up at the newspaper office looking for forgiveness from their father.
Forgiving someone can save a failed relationship. Believing in someone can save a failed life.