I have been struggling to properly formulate my thoughts surrounding this post. Not simply because of the nature of the topic and its implications; but because I do not consider myself “good at it”.
It struck me when I heard a friend of mine, after losing her husband, stand in front of a large group of mourners and state that she is “Choosing not to ask why” these events unfolded the way they did. She went on to explain that she and her husband had been working to eliminate the “What if?’s” from their vocabulary. In a moment of sorrow, she consciously chose not to ask why her husband was taken from her and her children. That takes strength. It takes conviction.
In that moment, I was reminded how our choices have a profound influence on our life.
This goes beyond the decision to pursue one career versus another. It goes further than the type of people you choose to associate with. The impact of our choices, as it relates to our hardships and the adversity we face, define us.
The reason I do not consider myself “good at choices” in this context, stems from the fact that I have mainly managed life’s challenges. I have taken the lumps life has handed me, and more often than not I have done one of three things:
- Shy away from it (or quit). In turn I learn nothing, gain nothing, and lose an opportunity to grow and become stronger.
- Take on challenge, turn it around, and find a way to live with it. Learning only how to manage as it pertains to the situation: without growth.
- And most rarely: I embrace it. I funnel life’s challenge and actively engage in changing my thoughts and my actions. Permanently.
The true power of choice, the one that can have the greatest overall effect on our life, comes down to how we act and grow when we face an obstacle of significance.
Take a moment to reflect on those who you deem “Most Successful” (in life success, not necessarily financial success). I am willing to bet they fall into the third category when it comes to adversity.
There is a happiness strategy that tells us to wake up every morning with a positive thought, be thankful for the day, and repeat self-assuring phrases. I have found that can only get you so far. What I have begun to realize is my happiness is still determined by a positive mental image; however, the crucial difference stems from how I react when I face a challenge.
Here is what I mean: Ever have those days when the last thing you want to do is go to the gym? You know you should, but every fiber of your being is keeping you on the couch. How do you feel when you can muster up the drive to get up and go? From my experience, those days where I fight myself, push through my road blocks, and go; I feel more energized than after any other work out!
Going to the gym cannot begin to compare to the hardships many of us face/have faced, but I would argue that the more challenging the situation, the greater the positive impact if we harness our adversity.
Renee, after losing her husband, had many choices. She is choosing to trust in a plan outside of her control, and only controlling what she can. She is making a statement her children can and will admire. Renee is embracing her adversity: by her actions and her attitude, she is influencing the lives of those around her.
What will you choose to do?