Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chasing My Dreams with My Feet on the Ground

Tyler requested that I post a link to this video on his blog! Click on the blue words below:

Chasing dreams with my feet on the ground
A lot of people ask me why or how I am so happy and upbeat all the time. On balance one can safely assume that I have a smile on my face! Truly I just enjoy life. Now this gift wasn’t magically imparted upon me by some genie in a bottle ( at least I'm pretty sure..) but I do remember having a very distinct experience that helped me understand life and goals a little better. My sophomore year I was a mediocre student at best (Even that is a stretch). Without a doubt my #1 priority was football, and my only college aspirations were to go somewhere where I could play football. My work ethic was unexceptional at best & "the future" basically was setting a goal for my next max bench press. I figured that I would worry about career goals after my illustrious football career. I was determined to be the 1st 5'7 180 pound defensive lineman for BYU or some other Division 1 team. This all changed at a youth conference in 2013. 

For those who aren't familiar with what a youth conference is, it is a 3-day weekend filled with service, dancing, speakers, girls, and more dancing. I was pretty excited to dance my heart out and meet new people. I can assure you listening to older folks talk to me about what they did as a teen in the 70's wasn't at the top of my priority list for that weekend. Luckily for me, however I managed to stumble out of the refreshment line and into a class taught by a man named Chris McChesney. He was one of the most dynamic presences I have been around! He really engaged the entire audience and I myself was entranced by his passion and enthusiasm for not only what he was teaching- but life itself. I am not too receptive to pre-written speeches & I could tell that this man was speaking out of his heart and not off of a paper.. One thing I can say I was blessed with from the Clancy gene pool is initiative. So being the outgoing person I am I decided to go up to him afterwards and just get his name. 

What started out as an exchange of information became a riveting hour long conversation with us finding lots in common. I could write for an hour telling you about our conversation but what impacted me most was what he told me as we parted ways, he said “When you find your passion in life, whatever it might be.. You chase it, you grab hold of it and never let it go, never forget you are in charge of your future & no one else.”I don’t think I have ever been hit with a statement quite as hard as that. His hortative call truly hit its mark. from that point on I became a man on a mission. 

When I got home from the conference I cleaned my room cleaner than its ever been. Although that sounds insignificant it became indicative of the new direction I would take my life in. .I went from getting by in school to the honor roll. I went from a reader of political literature to a writer and speaker. Most importantly I left the crowd of followers and became a leader. I call it chasing dreams with my feet on the ground. 
Being a dreamer and a doer. 

Proactive really is a cliche term nowadays. In my opinion proactivity isn’t reading an article about public opinion on gun control, Proactivity is going out into the community and discussing the issue with locals. Back home this become one of my favorite activities and a great learning experience for me as I met and talked with citizens from not only the United States but places such as Ghana and Norway. Part of chasing your dreams with your feet on the ground is setting tangible and concrete goals. For example, if I wanted to be student body president that was my vision - my dream. Now a goal would be to commit 20 students every lunch period to vote for me. All of the little goals you set work into the larger picture. 

It is interesting for me to see that although some claim to be a member of a certain political party, when push comes to shove we all want the same things we have the same vision - we just go about a different way of achieving them. All too often I am saddened by the fact that we forget we are all on the same team, fighting for the same cause. Many see a dark and dismal future for our country. If you turn on the radio or watch any news station there will undoubtedly be a story of some disenchanted teen screwing up. If you have lost faith in our generation it might be understandable….But I’ve got news for you. I have met several young people on my mission here in Colorado Springs that have a strong sense of patriotism and a commitment to honesty & accountability. 

In the summer of 2014 I had the opportunity to meet an innumerable amount of young men and women who are enthusiastic about fixing America’s problems. At Boys' State I had the opportunity to debate with other high school seniors on hot button issues where there is not a clear right or wrong. It taught me to respect others’ opinions, even if I strongly disagree with them. 

That summer I was also lucky enough to be selected as the SC state representative to the NRA YES in Washington DC. At the NRA Summit we took part in an array of events ranging from touring a Civil War battlefield to debating American foreign policy. I learned a lot from my peers and well known speakers from the likes of US Senator Marco Rubio and Chris Cox from the NRA. Most of all however I was ecstatic to be able to witness and be in the presence of so many brilliant young scholars and thinkers, each with their own unique opinions on
how to leave America better than we found it. 

In our society today there is no shortage of American critics. Some of these pundits ought to have a big countdown clock to doomsday behind them when they are speaking. The words of a well known soliloquy come to mind as I am out here serving a mission and witnessing the world from front and center. 
The verse comes from the Man of La Mancha and it goes like this

It is the mission of each true knight...His duty...
nay, his privilege!
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow 
To run where the brave dare not go;
To right the unrightable wrong

In closing, I would like to leave you with a message of hope.
There are plenty of young people out there just like me who are
determined to make the world a better place and
want nothing more than to see our great nation continue on the
path of greatness.
I give you a pledge today that American Exceptionalism
is not dead, in fact it is far from it.
With Love, Elder Clancy

Ice skating

At an indoor Climbing wall

Elder West and I with SANTA!

BBQ time!

One of the elders with a ham radio

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