I love words. I love quotes. I love short combinations of words that strike a chord with me, motivate me to be my best and stretch me toward my true capacity and potential.
When I was a fairly new Christian, I went to a meeting near my home town of Palm Springs, California to hear Florence Littauer (passed away in 2020 at 92) speak. I believe I had read one of her books and wanted more from her. I’m always open and eager to learn and this was one more opportunity to do just that.
As is often the case when I hear a speaker, I get one great idea— lots of ideas, but usually only one great one. As the years pass I forget most everything else that was said, but that one.
It has been too many years since I heard it to recall the exact words Florence used, but it was something like this:
Our minds are like a filing cabinet with ten drawers. The average person uses only two of them during their lifetime.
I’ve never forgotten that statement which I heard probably 60 years ago. Here are some random thoughts about how this idea has (and continues) impacted me:
I was a little sad thinking that I’d been given the possibility of ten drawers but was only using two of them.
I’m more than likely living way below my true potential by not making use of all that God has given me.
I’m capable of a lot more than I think I am.
What is my brain really capable of? I’d like to begin finding out.
It’s challenging and stimulating to me to think that I have eight drawers unused just waiting to be tapped. What a gift!
I wonder if those I call geniuses have simply discovered how to use more drawers than I have.
Perhaps I will probably never use all ten, but what would my life look like if I used six or seven rather than just two?
If I have unused resources in the brain God gave me, why wouldn’t I go for it rather than just be content with a few?
I was deeply motivated when I first heard Florence say it, and still aim at 82 to push myself to the limits to see what God does.
This thought of only using two of the ten has lead me to be a committed life long learner and push (in a healthy way) myself to be more than I am.
My primary source for brain-stretching is reading. By His grace, since I first started keeping a record, I’ve read an average of 34 books a year over the last 25 years. I focus mainly on leadership-related issues in the world of: Sports, business, government, the military and the church. I can’t begin to tell you all I have learned, applied and shared with others through the years.
Every time I watch a video or movie, read a book or article, listen to a sermon, I’m taking notes: Thinking, learning, growing and, with His help, applying and sharing what I’m receiving.
I have also committed myself to memorizing a lot of scripture from both the Old and New Testaments. I am quite amazed at what my brain can hold and recall as I pursue this spiritual discipline.
I don’t know how many drawers are currently in use, but I speculate it’s much more than two. Thank you Florence for challenging me.