Just Flying High
I am an Eagle
I live in high country
In lofty cathedrals
that reach for the sky
And all those who see me and
all who believe in me
share the freedom I feel
when I fly.
To me the Eagle is symbolic of Flying High. On a wall near my old office, I had hung a large picture of an Eagle in full flight, wings outstretched, looking all-conquering. And under the picture there is a caption.
Accept the Challenges.
So that you might feel the exhilaration of victory
– of flying high.
We can all fly high, in our own way, if we choose to.
Each of us is a miracle of creation.
a reservoir of power
a success machine in the making
a sleeping giant ready to awaken to our potential
It is our attitude to life that determines our altitude.
As l stand here giving this speech, I am flying high. Just like the Eagle.
There have been times in my life when I was “flying high” in a physical sense. As a fifteen year old, I stood behind the pilot of a Lincoln Bomber on my first flight in an aircraft. I had always wanted to fly. As we took off from Amberley Base, I watched the wing flap up and down but I wasn’t scared, I was just plain exhilarated. I felt like the Eagle in the song and when, a few years later I spent 30 minutes in another much smaller plane as it did aerobatics, I had that same feeling again – a feeling of excitement and of immense confidence. That’s the exhilaration of flying high. But as I
have gone through life, my greatest thrills have been very personal achievements. Let me tell you about some of them.
One of my greatest thrills has been to coach Queensland Schoolboys in several National Australian Football championships. In 1968, we played Victoria at Victoria Park, Home of Collingwood. We led Victoria for most of the game only to lose it through inexperience – a great achievement considering Victoria had beaten Queensland by 20 goals two years before. We were all flying high that day.
Some years ago, I was issued with a different challenge. That was to run 7km non-stop – not such a great feat but for me at 50 years of age, it was. This “training run” began at the bottom of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. We began by running up the steps to the top of the Cliffs then over the Storey Bridge, through the city across the Victoria Bridge and via Southbank back to the starting point. Thirty-five minutes later I was there and feeling a real sense of achievement. I felt so alive, I was flying high.
Golf has, in recent years, become one of my passions. One afternoon I was playing well. I drove off the 18th tee only to see my ball hook way left across the next fairway and beyond. Between my ball and the 18th green was a huge Moreton Bay Fig tree – 50 feet high, 50 feet across, 50 feet deep. I had 2 choices, play safe and score at best a bogie or go over the tree. I chose to go over the tree. I grabbed a wedge, set myself, head down and hit through the ball and as I looked up I saw my ball flying high, way over the tree on -its way to the green. I found my ball one metre from the hole. I put it in for a birdie. I faced that challenge and felt the exhilaration of “flying high.”
Robert Kennedy expressed this same feeling in these words:
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly!”
“Faith and belief are the wings that will help us soar to our destination. It is better to shoot for the moon ’cause if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.”
This brings me back to the Eagle. There is a wonderful animated Cartoon about an Eaglet learning to fly. The nest is way up at the top of a pinnacle, hundreds of metres from the ground. The mother eagle encourages the eaglet to have a go at flying. She pushes the eaglet out. It falls, not knowing what to do. Slowly it begins to flap but it continues to fall. The mother flies down wings spread and saves the eaglet who lands on her outstretched wings and takes the eaglet back again. The process is repeated over again, a number of times. The eaglet begins to flap earlier and the mother rescues him later and later. Suddenly the eaglet realises it can fly and it begins to do so and you see it face light up as it soars away realising that all it had to do was to continue to try and success would come.
And that’s the message of the Eagle and my message to you.
Flying high is a state of mind.
It is a matter of choice.
Don’t stay oblivious to the immense capability within yourself.
Whatever you want can be yours, if you believe it strongly enough.
So keep on trying and you’ll find you’ve won,
Just grab your dream and then believe it,
Go out and work and you’ll achieve it;
If you think you can, you can!
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars
and reach for the heavens and
hope for the future
and all that you can be.
Not what we are.
John Denver’s song ends, daring us to be what we can be:-
A success machine;
A miracle of creation.
So I challenge you to accept the challenges of life and be like the eagle and feel the exhilaration of “flying high.”
Our author spent 10 years as a member of a public speaking club called Rostrum in Australia where he learnt the art of public speaking. He loved to write and perform motivational speeches as he needed in everyday life to inspire students in his Maths classes and students in his sporting teams to work hard to achieve the best possible results. Rostrum like other public speaking organisations (e. g. Toastmasters), are great training grounds for those who need to speak well in public. Rostrum originated in England while Toastmasters had its beginnings in the USA.