When comparing two people of similarly disadvantaged backgrounds, why is it that one remains mired in misery and the other rises above it? Likewise, when comparing two people each starting out with great abundance, why is it that one rises to even greater heights and one ends up broke? The answer is found in the choices they make: choices in response to opportunity, choices in response to adversity; and the choices made in daily living. These begin with choosing an attitude. Jim Rohn calls these choices, setting the sail.
“What guides us to different destinations in life is determined by the way we have chosen to set our sail. The way that each of us thinks makes the major difference in where each of us arrives. The major difference is the set of the sail. The same circumstances happen to us all. We have disappointments and challenges. We all have reversals and those moments when, in spite of our best plans and efforts, things just seem to fall apart.…In the final analysis, it is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives, it is what we choose to do when we have struggled to set the sail and then discover, after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed directions.”
The wisdom found in this metaphor is not new nor is it a closely guarded secret. Here are more examples:
“We choose what attitudes we have right now. And it’s a continuing choice.” — John C. Maxwell
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes.” — Victor Frankl
“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” — Deepak Chopr
“Circumstances do not make the man; they merely reveal him to himself.” — Epictetus
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” — William Jennings Bryan
“There’s a need for accepting responsibility – for a person’s life and making choices that are not just ones for immediate short-term comfort.” — Buzz Aldrin
“It matters not what a person is born, but (whom) they choose to be.” — J. K. Rowling
“Thus, and not otherwise, the world was made. Either something or nothing must depend on individual choices.” — C.S. Lewis
So, if one’s destiny is truly a choice why do so many people settle for mediocre lives? That’s the $64,000 question. While pondering that, I’ll leave you with an inspiring parable about attitude.
There once was a woman who was undergoing chemotherapy. She
woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only
three hairs on her head.
“Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So, she did and she
had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had
only two hairs on her head.
“Hmmmmmmmm, ” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle
today.” So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she
had only one hair on her head.
“Well,” she said, “Today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.” So,
she did and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there
wasn’t a single hair on her head.
“Hooray!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”
© Copyright August 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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