Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dare To Do Your Best - The Power Of Choice

By George M. Graham Jr.

Dr. Viktor E. Frankl was a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. He wrote the book Man’s Search for Meaning, which is the story of his three years of struggle while being held a prisoner in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

During his three years of survival, he saw and experienced first hand many horrible atrocities. Dr. Frankl said, “The one thing you cannot take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

There are numerous times every day we have to make a choice. Some of these choices may be considered as minor or somewhat insignificant while other choices can have far-reaching effects. Some choices can result in consequences of such a nature that we wish we could go back in time and make a different choice.

I find the older I get that I go back in time in my mind’s eye and wonder what may have happened if I had made a different choice than what I did in a certain situation. Unfortunately, we cannot change the past, but we can learn from it, and hopefully, make better choices in the future.

Someone once said, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have—so spend it wisely.” Every choice you make today is a cash investment into your future. Think before you make a choice and choose wisely so you won’t regret the choice you made.

Consider this—you are who you are today as a result of all the choices you have made in the past. If you are not happy with something in your life, you can make changes in your life by making new choices. Dr. Frankl also said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Exercising your power to choose can help you to overcome obstacles, help you to have a better attitude, make you open to more possibilities, help you to overcome fears, help you to take action to achieve your goals. The list goes on and on of the benefits of using your power to choose and choosing wisely.

Here is a familiar story, told as a Cherokee Legend.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

All choices will not be so obvious or clear cut as this example, but there will be those choices that will make a difference in your life or the life of someone else. Take time during that space between the stimulus and your response and choose wisely. The result of that choice will be with you a long time.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “ 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.”

I challenge you to think about the choices you make. Feed the correct wolf, the positive one, and as you incorporate this practice into your life, it will assist you as you Dare To Do Your Best.