One of my absolute favorite quotes is from Dwight D. Eisenhower. If you have been a subscriber for long you may have heard me use it before. Eisenhower said that, "The history of free men is never written by chance, but by choice - their choice."
What a powerful truth. We can, and do, write our own history. That is, when our life is nearing the end, we can look back and see that the history we leave behind, the legacy that we leave for our children, is the accumulation of the choices we made all along the way.
As I think about this, I realize that some may view it from the back end and it may seem hopeless, but we can be proactive about it and decide now that we will begin to make choices that will bring us to our desired end.
Before I talk about privilege, opportunity, and responsibility, I want to make something perfectly clear, and it is something that you must embrace if you are going to see your life continually improve and change for the better. I believe that...
Anyone can have as much money as they choose to.
Anyone can weigh what they choose to.
Anyone can have the job they choose to have.
Anyone can have the level of peace that they choose to have.
Anyone can do anything they choose to do.
They ability for us humans to choose is incredible, but it also brings with it philosophical truths as well. Primarily the power to choose brings with it privilege, opportunity and responsibility. When we see how all three of these play out in our lives, and when we discipline ourselves to make the choices that will bring us to our desired outcome - watch out - because you will be UNLEASHED!
The Ability to choose is a Privilege. Dogs don't have it. Cows don't have it. Trees and flowers don't have it. The only living creatures that have the ability to choose are humans. All of the rest of living creatures live by instinct, or in the case of trees, flowers etc, they live wherever they are planted (I guess they must have to develop a great deal of contentment!).
Have you ever viewed your ability to choose as a privilege that you have been given? That is one of the more motivating factors in my life for being disciplined and making choices. Exercise your privilege today. Make choices today that will make you, your family and your community better off!
The Ability to choose is an Opportunity. Every one of us has the opportunity to improve ourselves. There are too many stories of people who have lost 200 pounds, left behind fortunes while only earning $20,000 a year and multitudes of other success stories for me to believe otherwise. In fact, I myself have seen it in my own life. What an opportunity! Yet many believe that it is impossible - that they don't even have the opportunity. Not true at all. Take advantage of the opportunity you have every single day of your life to change - because you can!! Make choices today that will make you, your family and your community better off!
The Ability to choose is a Responsibility. We do not live our lives in a vacuum. We live them in the context of our families, our communities, our businesses and the organizations we belong to. We have a responsibility to make right choices that will positively impact all of those around us! I have four children. The choices I make each day, maybe even every moment, will affect them for the rest of their lives. Do I have a responsibility to them? You bet! I want to discipline my life in such a way that they become all that they can be and that our family and eventually the families that they will start, will become great!
When I think of choices that changed history, I think of Rosa Parks who made a choice that would bring her into the forefront of America's news of the day and eventually the history books. One day, Parks, an African-American, decided that she would not give up her seat on the bus to a white person. She made a choice. It was undoubtedly one she had thought of for sometime. It was her privilege as a human to make this choice, regardless of what others thought and regardless of what the outcome would be. It was an opportunity to make a statement and to stand up for what was right. It was her responsibility to generations of minorities who would come after her to make this choice. She did, and America changed.
Like Rosa Parks, and countless others who daily make choices that produce change, it is those who will dare to dream of a better life, those who will risk failure, those who will make the right choices who will change themselves, their families, their businesses and organizations and yes, even their world! The ability to choose is an incredible privilege, an outstanding opportunity, and an awesome responsibility! Use it!