Posts tagged #faith

The Biggest Failure

            January 31, 2017 marked exactly three years since I took one of the biggest leaps of faith ever in my life. With that one decision, I let go of stability, comfort, and the only career path I had known for thirteen years. I chose to walk away when many people and even myself knew that there were many more years left for me to impact the lives of students, lead teachers, and move up the educational ladder. However, in my heart, I knew there was more for me.

            Some say ambition can be lethal because it causes people to dream big, take risks, and be different from the status quo. I can agree with that assessment, but for me, ambition is more.

            Ambition is tied to a person’s passion.

            You know that desire that wakes you up in the morning ready to take on the world. Passion; that fire that can’t be quenched by mediocrity and simply living life going through the motions.

            There are many people who live life simply going through the motions, and it’s a shame, because is that truly living? Many people entered the New Year a month ago with the expectation that 2017 would be better. Why? Was it simply because we ushered in a new year and closed the book on 2016?

            A new year means nothing if you enter it with the same mentality. What is a new year going to do for you if you still think the same way and in turn act the same way? Our beliefs determine our actions. Therefore,

            If you believe your life can’t get better, it won’t.

            If you believe you can’t make a difference, you won’t.

            If you believe your students can’t learn, they won’t…and it’s not because they are incapable of doing so. Rather, it is because your negative belief in them keeps you from giving your best. You can’t control them, but you can control you. But, again, why would we give our best when nothing good is going to come out of it, right?

            I don’t want to fail, so why try?

            I don’t want to look stupid, so why give it a shot?

            I don’t want to be laughed at, so why risk?

            I must admit that I have wrestled with the same thoughts. It hasn’t been easy for me going from getting a steady paycheck to making sure I close a deal to make certain I have the necessary means to provide for my family. I don’t say that for you to feel sorry for me. I say that because I know what it is to enter a new year thinking that a new year itself is going to make things different. It doesn’t. You make things different.

            As I finished 2016, I finished it with the mindset that I will get continue to get better. I will continue to risk, dream big, work hard, and try. Why? Because my ambition, my passion drives me to make a difference. Therefore, I will continue committed to that path.

Some of the Plano Senior High School students.

Some of the Plano Senior High School students.

            See, if I had given up and not tried, I would have never had the fortune to serve the youth and youth leaders of the Western Shoshone tribe in Nevada.

            I would have never had the chance to serve the educators of Pearsall ISD and challenge them to see the greatness not only in their students, but also in themselves, because they truly matter.

            I would have never had the opportunity to serve 200 plus students at Plano High School by sharing my heart, and hearing their cries and needs for hope in a future that sometimes seems uncertain to them.

            You can make a difference today right where you are at in your job, your community, and family. Stop worrying about whether it's going to fail or not.

Do the best you with what you are given and share the light inside of you.

            If you fail, you get back up. Some would say that I’ve failed since I left my position as a school administrator because I don’t have the leadership title anymore, the income I used to have, I’m not on T.V., and social media doesn’t really know who I am yet. But that’s far from the truth because the biggest failure in life is knowing there is a longing inside of you, but never having the courage to pursue it.

The biggest failure in life is simply not trying.

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Don't Stop Believing

The following is an excerpt from a reflection I wrote on eternal3.com back in January of 2010. Almost five years have passed and for me, what I wrote then, is a reminder to keep believing. Regardless of time passed and difficult circumstances you may be facing, we must always believe that we can live out our dreams.

Someone once wrote, “In order to achieve you must believe,” which leads me to conclude that success begins in you. That statement makes it seem easy. I wake up one morning, look at myself in the mirror and say I’m going to be a wealthy man! Yet, is it really that easy?

It can be. If you truly put your mind to do something AND work at it, then you can become wealthy or whatever else you put in your mind to become. Yet, the reality is that most people either: a.) Can’t fathom believing that they can achieve or prosper or b.) Want to achieve or prosper, but are lazy and don’t want to work for it.

Don't stop believing!

Yes, there is a blessing for you.  You may have to fight to get it. You may have to work countless hours to attain it, but regardless of what you think, your “it” is out there.

One of the greatest men in the Bible is David. David is considered by many theologians to be the greatest king Israel ever had. Before David became king, he was taking care of sheep, which wasn’t a prestigious job, but he was faithful at it. In fact, David once killed a lion that was trying to harm his sheep. I would have let the lion enjoy the sheep. Who am I to deny the king of the jungle his delicacy of eating lamb? That was not David. He took his work seriously, but even with his work ethic, David was overlooked.

When the prophet Samuel was looking for a new king for Israel he went to the house of Jesse. Jesse showcased to Samuel seven of his sons, and deliberately overlooked David because he was young and thought he was not fit to be a king. Yet, David was the one Samuel was looking for.

When a giant named Goliath taunted the Israelites for forty consecutive days, David was the one who was brave enough to challenge Goliath. However, people doubted that David could take care of the giant. Goliath laughed at him, and King Saul tried to give David his armor because he didn’t think David could defeat the giant. Yet, David didn’t need the king’s armor. David slew the giant with a sling and a rock.

After slaying Goliath, David became well known, but with fame and recognition, came jealousy and betrayal. King Saul now wanted him killed. The people who followed David betrayed him and wanted him stoned because things didn’t go the way they had planned. David was not deterred though. With no one by his side, David, “encouraged himself in the Lord.”

Perhaps, you have been overlooked and that has caused you to stop believing in what you want to accomplish. Maybe people have viewed you and your dreams with doubt and that has destroyed your desire to further pursue your dreams. It could be that those whom you trusted upon have betrayed you and their betrayal has left you heartbroken. Being overlooked, doubted upon, and betrayed can kill you and your dream, but it doesn’t have to. You must do what David did. You must encourage yourself.

Understand, sometimes you have to be your greatest supporter and biggest cheerleader. You have to be the one that tells yourself, “My dream is going to happen. My vision will be fulfilled.  Nothing will stop me!”


What will you say to yourself today to provide you encouragement?


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A.C. Cristales is a motivational youth speaker, leadership consultant, and author.  He has been working with students, educators, parents and youth workers for more than 15 years. 

Posted on November 11, 2014 and filed under Blogs.