Mayor Mack's Lobo Letter: March

Thu Mar 31, 2016
Dear Lobos,

At different times in my life I have heard people ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” I would allege a more appropriate question to be “How can I make a difference?”

Looking at things through the lens of “What’s in it for me?” comes from a place of self-centeredness. By getting involved and looking at the situation in a different way, you position yourself to take ownership in the solution, rather than the problem. In your life, there are probably many people who you can identify as either “What’s in it for me?” or “How can I make a difference?” people. I like to refer to those “What’s in it for me?” people as Victims and “How can I make a difference?” people as Accountable.

I like to surround myself with people who are Accountable, and don’t always play the Victim. Don’t you tire of having to console someone because they feel sorry for themselves? Wouldn’t you love to see that person pick themselves up by the bootstraps, shake it off and get on with life? I try to surround myself with people who are Accountable and try to make a difference in the lives of others. I hope I am the kind of person that when I’m having a bad day, nobody knows it but me. I hope that I can carry on without making my problem the focus of my attitude. I find that when I focus on other people’s situations and challenges – my problems seem a lot less significant and trivial. I guess that is just part of the maturing process and getting older. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could master this at a young age?

It doesn’t matter if you are on the football team in high school or on the spelling bee team in the first grade. Are you worried about what the guy next to you is going to do for you? Or are you worried about what you can do for the team? You may not realize it now, but as you progress through life, I think you will find that being with people who are accountable and team oriented are much more pleasant to being around. Plus, they end up being able to motivate others to get more things accomplished. As one of the greatest football coaches of all time, Vince Lombardi said, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” There are two types of people in this world – Givers and Takers. Which one are you? Because “Givers” seldom take, and “Takers” never give.

I am thankful for people in my life that hold me accountable and do not allow me to play the role of Victim. These people remind me that no matter the situation, we always have a choice in how we handle it. We can make things happen for ourselves or wait for things to happen.

I have so many life lessons that I have learned that took me years to figure out, that I could only wish I would have learned in my youth. What a difference it would have made if I had not been so self-centered, stubborn, or bullish in my thinking? So what I am basically saying is, open up your mind, cleanse your attitude and look for opportunities to help other people. You are never too young to start and you are never too old, as well.

So, I ask the question again, “What’s in it for me?” That, my friends, is entirely up to you.

Study hard, have some fun and say your prayers Longview,

— Dr. Andy Mack is a 1978 graduate of Longview High School. A maxillofacial surgeon for more than 25 years, he is currently owner-operator of East Texas Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Longview.

Previous Lobo Letters:

•      January 2016
•      February 2016