My wife sent me this the other day. It came from one of the suppliers she uses for her massage business, but it had some interesting thoughts:

While in Italy in 1999 my wife and I just by luck happened to walk by the convent (Santa Maria delle Grazie) where the Leonardo de Vinci's famous work "The Last Supper" had just been restored. The exhibition had been closed for quite some time for restoration and tickets had to be reserved months in advance to see the exhibit. We noticed there was a line where we could wait and with some luck be able to enter the convent to see the painting, if people failed to show up at their scheduled time. In front of us in line were two art teachers from the U.S. They were very excited to view this famous historical painting. They had been in line for several hours and were anxious that they would not be allowed in. Shortly after we got in line the two teachers had to leave and were very disappointed. Not ten minutes later we were allowed in to view the work of art. It was a wonderful experience and my heart went out to the art teachers who missed this great experience. If they had only waited a few more minutes their great desires would have been fulfilled.

Over the years I have often thought about this experience. When I am ready to give up on a project or idea I reflect upon "The Last Supper" and I am motivated to give that extra effort or toss in a little more patience to bring to completion the project or idea.

How many of us when faced with a little opposition or difficulty just throw in the towel? I see all around us the impatience or perhaps the unreasonable expectations that many people experience. The meltdown of the housing market is a great example. I am not talking about those whose home value has plummeted below their purchase price. I am referring to those who purchased a home they could not afford hoping the prices would continue to skyrocket. When the interest rates would adjust upwards and the prices dropped many people just walked away from their commitments. I think you or I would get a second job to help us through the tough times and learn from our mistakes. There are too many out there who prefer the "out-stretched hand" approach. They think if they hold out their hand someone will fill it with the things they want with no effort on their part. They are like the teachers who leave the line moments before being allowed in to see the exhibit.

I just read a book entitled "212 The Extra Degree" written by Sam Perkins and Mac Anderson. The book talks about the difference one degree makes. By increasing the temperature by only one degree, water is transformed from just hot water to boiling water. Boiling water creates steam which powers steam engines.

Could you increase your efforts by one degree? What do you think would be the results of that one additional degree? Only you can answer that question and perhaps only the results themselves would be the true response. We know what the results are if we fail to increase our efforts but I like the possibilities the additional degree invites.

Thomas Edison said: "Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." I have seen people give up just when it seems a little more effort would push them over the top.

Let's together all add one more degree and stay in line so we can all see the beautiful painting that will be produced by this extra effort.