Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Your Life Is Defined By The Choices You Make Every Day

A death or severe illness in your family.

Getting let go from your job.

Your spouse cheating on you.

A devastating natural disaster hits - destroying your world.

Physical abuse from a loved one (or even a perfect stranger).

What do all these things have in common? They are devastating events that will shake the foundation of your life, often changing who you are - permanently.

Let's face it - bad things happen to every one. Whether it is one of these events or something else. And unfortunately, they usually come at the most inopportune time (or so it feels). But can you ever think of a "good" time to have your day / your life interrupted by bad news?

Truth is though, it's not the bad news that knocks you off kilter - it's how you respond that sends you for the loop - changes who you will become. But it doesn't have to be that way - you can either choose to allow this event to define who and what you are, or you can make it just another event in the course of who you are going to be.

It's said that our only real freedom exists in the moments between the stimulus and response. I believe that. Simply stated, it means that life is DEFINED by the choices we make with our lives - with our actions and our thoughts. And those aren't the always the big choices, but also the small ones that occur each and every day - between the instant that an event occurs (good or bad) and the time you respond.

No one can define that choice for us - except us!

There was a movie that Tom Cruise was in a few years back that typified this idea - the idea that life is a choice (that we choose our own destiny). That movie was Minority Report. The movie's underlying theme was Freedom to choose your own destiny - and whether or not it really existed.

In Minority Report (set in the future), the Police Force had a new tool at their disposal. They had "Precogs" that could predict violent crimes before they actually occurred. With this information, they were able to "see" when and where a murder was going to take place and act on the intelligence to stop the crime. They would arrive on the scene, just prior to the act of violence, and arrest the individual before the act actually took place.

The interesting part of the plot was the early supposition that the Hero, Chief John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, had about "choice". He believed, as most did in the movie, that people had no choice / will in their lives - that they acted as they did, because it was fated. But as the movie progressed, roles were reversed and the hero was placed in the position to choose his own destiny. He had to make a choice to either follow what the future predicted for him, or choose his own destiny.

Too often we fail to recognize this God-given freedom that is CHOICE. It's there every day, whether we realize it or not. Every thing you did and will do today is your choice - don't forget that. Yeah, bad things happen (you can count on that), but how you respond is ALWAYS your choice.

There are two simple things that you can do to keep you moving forward and keep you on track in spite of the events that occur around you:

1. Take your time in responding - especially when you see the criticality of the choice. Give yourself time - very few decisions need to be made right here and now. You always have time to think.
2. Review you Vision regularly - to keep your choices consistent and guiding you to the end you wish to create, review that end (your Personal Vision) at least daily if not more often. Treat it like your personal constitution, making sure that all the decisions (or at least most of them) are leading you to that place you wish to be - when it's all said and done.

Choose wisely!


  1. Not too long ago, I was asked to speak to a group of ladies about finding joy in life... I used the following quote to start off the discussion: "Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do." ~ Richard G. Scott

    This quote was so powerful (much like your post above) ... Our ability to choose how we respond is one of the greatest gifts God has given us! Thanks for your great insights and wisdom. Choose wisely - great way to sum it up! :) With each choice, we become ...

  2. JJ:

    One again a poignant post that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. I am reminded over and over again that it is the choices I make everyday that will decide my future. I am blessed to have you as my coach, my mentor and my friend. That is a choice I will continue to make everyday.

    And I will continue to work on improving one thing everyday as well. I will make 10 phone calls tomorrow, in fact I will make 15 to make up for the 5 I missed today. Thanks for helping me to regain my purpose, focus and passion on a daily basis. I truly feel that the daily coaching model you have developed is playing a critical role in my progression towards success. How else could a mother of 8 children with Chronic Fatigue and coming out of an abusive relationship possibly do everything that I am doing already, let alone strive for the great successes I see in my future?

    Love ya!

  3. Wendy, great quote from Richard G. Scott. It neatly wraps every thing I was saying into a compact, succinct, simple statement. :)

    If you keep giving me all this great feedback, I will keep writing.

    Have a great day,