Archives For Choices

The five colors can blind one’s eyes.

The five tones can deafen one’s ears.

The five flavors can dull one’s taste buds.

The pursuit of pleasures can derange one’s mind.

The hard-to-get valuables can distort one’s behavior.

Therefore, a saint cultivates himself with virtues and does not indulge himself in sensory pleasures.

He rejects those outer temptations and chooses this True Nature.

 

~ Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching

In a message for American Education week, on September 27th, 1938, Franklin Delano Roosevelt reflected on something that is very prevalent in our present day.

As we all know, we are in an election year, and boy has it been a doozy. Mostly a knockout, drag out battle since the beginning no matter what side you are one, it would seem the perfect presidential candidate is far from sight.

But why is this? Where is the unity? Where is the vision?

Debate after debate, speech after speech, what have we learned about each candidate’s stance, besides how much they dislike their opposing candidates? I am afraid not much. Whether it be climate change, civil rights, or overseas relations, all we have seemed to learn is how not to handle classified emails and incite a fear of others within our country. Fingers are being pointed instead of hands being extended in greeting or friendship. Instead of finding commonalities we have managed to point out differences.

It’s been such an extravagant show, that our neighbors overseas have been either finding humor in our situation or fear of what may happen. Especially since some of those neighbors have a stake in what the outcome will be.

No matter the candidate, no matter your political denomination, it is important to be educated in not only who the candidate really is, but what they stand for and who they stand with. Try not to focus on man vs. woman, blue vs. red, and consider who might actually be the best fit, morally and ethically, to lead our country.

This will require some extra homework, class. Yup, that means not only getting your information from one television or radio station, and exploring other venues of CREDIBLE information.

I believe it was valiant of Mr. Roosevelt to encourage his constituents to investigate their choices and educate themselves on the issues at hand and how each candidate was planning to handle them.

So, in the spirit of the election season, please do yourself, your family, your friends, and your country a service and make an educated choice this November. Choose who YOU believe in and decide what is best for our nation and its people.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Though Theodore Roosevelt is commonly attributed to this quote, there is no known source that has been found to prove it. That being said, they are words that seem to resonate well with that familiar small articulate voice that emitted itself from such a large personality. That persona has left a legacy that echoes the philosophies and morals of the fore fathers of our nation. Out of the 43 presidents that have served our country, there are only a few that are easily recognizable or remembered, good ol’ Teddy Roosevelt being one of them.Though his early life was fraught with disabling asthma, his family regularly went on trips that found them hiking through the Alps or other strenuous activity. The fast past lifestyle not only taught Roosevelt the benefit of exercise to better his asthma condition, but also gave him the strength and integrity that inevitably led him to lead our nation.From lifestyle choices to ideals and morals, Roosevelt blazed a path in life that was based on his decisions and how he carried them out. This month’s quote is the epitome of what Napoleon Hill is trying to convey. It’s not as easy as just making a decision – like that isn’t difficult enough – but you must stick by those decisions and carry them out whether or not they turn out to be the right ones. To accompany this quote, I decided to share a lesser known moment in Roosevelt’s life that, to me, really stands for integrity and the legacy we all can impart on this world.

On October 14th, 1912, Roosevelt was on the campaign trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when he was shot by a saloon keeper by the name of John Flammang Schrank. The bullet passed through his steel eyeglass case and a folded 50 page copy of the speech he was scheduled to give that day. The bullet finally lodged itself in his chest muscle. Yet, since he was not coughing up blood, Roosevelt made the decision to give the scheduled speech while blood slowly soaked his clothes. The 90 minute speech opened with these words, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose.” He then opened his vest to expose the blood soaked and pulled out his folded speech, “Fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet—there is where the bullet went through—and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.” The severity of the issue was lessened once doctors decided that leaving the bullet in place was the best thing to do, leaving Roosevelt to carry the token for the rest of his life and inevitably aggravated his rheumatoid arthritis that prevented him from the physical life he had developed.

Though this month’s Quotesense is not meant to be a history lesson refresher; there is no need to go over all the notable choices he has made, after all this brave man made making decisions his life. It was this moment in history that shows me the correlation of decision making and the integrity that goes along with it. Though every day we have shortcomings that set us back in life, our decisions to persevere and never give up while remaining confident in our choices are ever so important. Those victories give us the fuel to find our way in life and blaze a path that others want to follow.

 

By: David Joseph Leingang

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”
~ Rumi

Do you lack desire?
Do you dread getting out of bed in the morning?
Do you get to excited for Friday and dread Mondays?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you might want to reevaluate your life this coming year. I doubt that the Grand Overall Designer (G.O.D.) placed you on this earth to be miserable. So why do so many people seem to be?

One reason, or the main reason, is what Rumi stated in this quote, if your work isn’t your desire, it really isn’t in your heart. And if something really isn’t in your heart how much do you put into it?

That’s why companies pay people a salary, so they will do something that doesn’t add to their desire. Most people’s work isn’t what they desire to do so the money they receive will help them achieve their desires. That’s one reason why people volunteer and work without pay, they have a desire to add value to others or a worthy cause.

When people have no goals in life, have they given up on the possibility of fulfilling their desires and achieving their dreams?

Sometimes I think that there really are dead people walking amongst us. Their dreams are dead and they move through life emotionless. Their bad habit is thinking “they can’t” instead of “I can do what I love to do and get paid to do it.”

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with working in a job that you like because it gives you the resources to pursue your desires. Most people start there, jobs help us find and hone the skills needed to pursue our desires. If the job you’re in doesn’t even do that, it gives you no happiness, well, you need to decide if it’s worth being one of the walking dead.

Find desire in what you do or do what you desire. It’ll make for a happier life.

What happens if something is out of alignment? It either doesn’t look right or it doesn’t feel right. If your back is out of alignment then you’re in pain until you either take something for the pain to cover it up or see a chiropractor for a realignment. If your car’s tires are out of alignment then they wobble, yet sometimes it doesn’t happen until we increase the speed.

So if alignment is so important for material things to run efficiently, why don’t we align ourselves with what our true strengths and values are?

If our strengths are not aligned with our job, how efficient can we really be? Will we ever be more than average?

If our purpose isn’t aligned with our daily activities, do we get frustrated with life because we feel like we’re “missing something?”

If our values are not aligned with someone else, how long do we spend time, or enjoy spending time with them?

If our priorities are not aligned with our responsibilities, how long will we be able to keep the job, or relationship?

In order to have full alignment within your life, you really need to do some work. Here are a couple of thoughts to get your wheels to stop wobbling;

  1. Find out what your strengths are. You can use a number of different assessments depending on what you’re looking for, or better yet do a number of self-assessments to discover who you really are.
  2. Examine the environment you’re in. Does your job frustrate you? If so why?
  3. Are the people you spend time with growth oriented or content with average?
  4. Do your actions consistently reflect what your values are?

When I was doing the research on the word alignment there was a number of websites that referred to the game Dungeons and Dragons. Having never played the game I wasn’t sure why the game focused on this aspect.

It seems that when you play you represent a certain character and you try to actually align your own personality to specific creatures in the game. A creature’s general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil. You can use a number of assessments online for developing your character’s identity. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

Doing the alignment test my character would be considered a lawful good character, a stereotypical “crusader” who is fair but firm, one who brings good to the most people while doing a minimum amount of harm.

That’s a great assessment if you want to start role playing games, but what about in the game of life? It can basically start the same way, but without the assessment. It requires reflection, meditation and honesty.

An alignment method that morally competent people generally do is to first write out what your principles, values and beliefs are. When you feel comfortable with those answers discover what your purpose is, what goals you want to achieve and your other wants.

Now comes the hard part, you need to align your thoughts, emotions and actions to get what you want in order to achieve your goals while living your purpose. You do this all while maintaining your principles, values and beliefs.

Basically, if you want something and you get it by violating your values, your wheels will be wobbling like crazy.

The ultimate alignment is with your higher self, one that most people never strive to reach. It takes patience, knowing who you really are and believing that the answers you seek are within yourself. It’s realizing that when you are emotionally distraught or your body is in pain is a signal that you are out of alignment with your higher self. The article Aligning with your Higher Self explains the concept better than I can, so please check it out.

Are your wheels wobbling, are you emotionally distraught and under extreme stress? You may be out of alignment with your purpose, violating your values or just know that you’re on this planet for something more important then what you’re currently doing.

Take some time this month to give yourself a realignment.

Legacy, an ideal that I think most of us don’t think about or think we’re important enough to think about. What are we actually leaving behind after we pass away.

Legacy is more than just your name on the side of a building or a trust fund to help people go to college or even a park named after you. A legacy is built around the person’s character first.

Sure, donating money is important, what else are you going to do with the excess, spend it on yourself. Then that’s what you’re legacy will be, a person who thought of themselves and their own desires before helping others who may need it.

Legacies start by developing your philosophy about life. I think of Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy of giving back to mankind more than he received. He never patented his inventions which in turn helped others improve upon them and make fortunes. A few are the Franklin stove, bifocals and yes a flexible urinary catheter. Not to mention being the ambassador to France during the Revolutionary War and for putting his neck in a noose by signing the Declaration of Independence.

Legacies can also be shattered, like Bill Clinton stated, “You know, it’s just one small step from legacy to lame duck.” Think of what legacy Bill has left, the incident during his Presidency tarnished his legacy, that chapter will always be in his life. But Bill continues to build his legacy, after all, his next step may be as the “First Gentleman” if that would be the opposite term for the “First Lady.”

Some Presidents like Jimmy Carter didn’t do well in office. His legacy is being built afterwards through his support of Habitat for Humanity.

Legacies are built on your daily habits, if those habits are bad then your legacy may be bad. Sure you may have given a lot of money away, but nobody really liked you, then what kind of legacy will that be.

The legacy of a person is the only thing that lives past their death. Are you known as always being late or on time, always busy or able to lend a helping hand, always moody or able to lift others moods? It’s really about how you treat others.

What are some of the things you can do to build a legacy for yourself? John Maxwell in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership outlines these four points in the chapter, “The Law of Legacy;”

  1. Know the legacy you want to leave. Are you accepting your life or just living it. Are you creating your experiences or are you just letting them happen to you. Find and live your passion.
  2. Live the legacy you want to leave. Once you find your passion, live it. Work on it every day and soon you will become it.
  3. Choose who will carry on your legacy. If you own a company, who will take it over when you’re done. If you have kids, will they reflect the life you lived?
  4. Make sure you pass the baton. If you’re really passionate about something isn’t it just natural to find someone as passionate about it as you and then encourage them to pursue it also.

I grabbed these points from one of Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tips on “How to Leave a Legacy;”

  1. Believe big. Your possibilities are only limited by your own beliefs in how great you can be.
  2. Keep your eye on the ball. Find your passion and stay the course. What are your strengths and how can you use them to follow your passion?
  3. Do something. Nothing happens until you get off your behind and do it.
  4. Use focused persistence. Focus on the top 20 percent of your priorities which should give you an 80 percent return. (Puerto’s Principle)
  5. Overcome your obstacles. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t do something. Don’t let your own fears cause you to fail before you even begin.

Some good steps to start with if you’re interested in living a legacy worth leaving.

For some people their legacy doesn’t fully develop until after their death. They’ve either left their wealth for others to enjoy or their debt for others to tend with. They’ve either left shattered relationships or loving friendships. They either kept their knowledge and experience or they’ve shared it with others.

Isn’t it a shame to see someone’s passion die when they do? All great movements in the world really start out with one person who is passionate about that idea. It stays alive because they have the ability to light that passion fire in others, I think of Mother Teresa as an example.

Not only the successful and wealthy leave a legacy, everyone does in some way or another. When you pass away will the church be full of people who cared about you or attended by those who feel obligated to go, or need a free lunch? Doesn’t it depend on how many people you’ve added value to? People take the time to remember people who took the time to remember them.

What can you do daily to live the legacy you want to leave?

“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.” ~Mary Ann Brussat

I really like this quote, especially this time of year when spring is reminding us how something that looks dead comes back to life to be even better than the previous season. I look outside my window now and see the trees and bushes sprouting forth with new life and the grass is turning green. Well except where my two dogs took care of business or dug holes looking for peanuts that the squirrels hid last fall.

The birds are gathering nesting material to bring new lives into the world, the squirrels stop looking for food for a couple of minutes to ‘play’ with their partner.

If spring is the time when nature renews, when is yours?

Is it the same time as nature, when the birds fly back north and the flowers start to bloom? Maybe it’s in the fall when things slow down and it’s time to get ready for winter and learning since you stay inside more?

Maybe you’re happy with who you really are. Is that the way you feel or is that the way you want to feel. Everyone can improve in something or learn something new.

I think that some folks don’t renew because it’s either too hard or, why bother. Is it hard to believe that the reason why we don’t is because we don’t believe we can?

What happens in nature when there’s a devastating disaster like a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or fire? The renewal of life can be seen quickly after a prairie fire, but not after the other disasters. Is it because mankind is affected? How would nature renew itself after these major disasters?

Have you ever had a personal disaster that made you renew yourself? People face disaster all the time. It seems like the ones who embrace it and become better for it are much happier in the long run than those who just keep complaining about why it happened to them.

How do you react after major disasters? How do you renew yourself after encountering problems?

© zimmytws - Fotolia

© zimmytws – Fotolia

Do people believe that everything of lasting value has to be achieved through some level of sacrifice?

Do you think the common perception is if you need something then you have to find a way to struggle or pay large dollars for it?

It’s back to your attitude and what you feel you’re entitled to, isn’t it?

I laugh to myself when I listen to someone complain about not having something, but not willing to do what it takes to get it. They think that someone should just give it to them. I bet they had a great childhood, until Mom and Dad couldn’t give them what they want.

Now those same people are in the work force wondering why they can’t get a raise for just showing up. The next time you see a parent NOT giving into their kids demands tell them thank you for raising responsible kids.

One of the wealthiest families in America’s history learned this lesson to late.

Cornelius Vanderbilt built his wealth from a $100 loan and when he died in 1877 he left his family more money than what was held in the US Treasury at the time. One of his sons doubled to fortune, but it stopped there. The family spent the money on mansions and living the life of high society. The Vanderbilt’s held a family reunion in 1973 attended by 120 family members, not one of them was a millionaire.

The lesson here is even if you have the resources to give to someone, do you? I think the key is how someone acts when you expect them to sacrifice something before they get it. Especially when they know you have it to give.

Do they get upset and angry, if so they may be use to getting what they want without having to sacrifice.

When I think back through life whenever I didn’t sacrifice time, money and pain, I never achieved my goals. When I was in the military I studied for months for the advancement exams, and received additional qualifications to make me more competitive. When I wanted to lose weight it didn’t come in a pill but in a regular exercise routine. When I retired from the military I couldn’t get a job as a janitor, I went to college and received a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s degree. I say these things not to impress you but to impress upon you, all lasting success comes from sacrifice. (I’m still waiting on the success)

Think of one thing that was successful without someone giving something up, at the very least the time to do it.

The crazy thing is, sometimes it takes as long to complain about something then it would take to do it, but we still don’t want to sacrifice something for it.

All sacrifices are intentional, but over time they could become habits. Here’s some examples;

  • I’ll sacrifice dessert so I can lose some weight.
  • I’ll sacrifice my craving for sugar in order to stop using artificial sweeteners.
  • I’ll sacrifice an hour of nightly television to study in my field of occupation.
  • I’ll sacrifice my craving for nicotine for better health.
  • I’ll sacrifice an hour sleep for an hour of morning exercise.
  • I’ll sacrifice my security to follow my passion.
  • I’ll sacrifice by not getting anew car for getting a new education.
  • I’ll sacrifice being in my comfort zone for achieving significance.

Make your own list of sacrifices and ask yourself if the outcome was worth the sacrifice? If not, what went wrong? Was it really the outcome that you sacrificed for?

Because we do have to sacrifice for other people and if we only look at what they gain and we lost, then you might not like the feeling.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to help other people achieve their goals. As long as they’re willing to make sacrifices. Unfortunately that’s not the case for some.

They expect you to sacrifice for them, and it’s necessary at times, but it shouldn’t be expected.

The next exercise is to make a list of the sacrifices you need to make and why. For example, one for me is;

I’ll sacrifice my 30 minutes of ‘down’ time after work before supper to take the dogs for a walk. (I’ll wait till the ice is gone and I get my left arm back operational.)

Why? The dogs need exercise. I need exercise. I can listen to a lesson or audio book while I walk. The dogs will be less active in the evening allowing me to focus more on reading and writing. I’ll live longer. I’ll be able to enjoy my family longer (number two grandchild coming this month). I’ll be able to positively impact more people.

WOW! That’s a pretty small sacrifice to get those kinds of results. I think one of the reasons why people don’t like to sacrifice is because they don’t write out the reasons why.

Isn’t it strange, we complain at work that the boss doesn’t tell us why we need to do something different (sacrifice our comfort zone for change). But we don’t even write it down to tell ourselves why the sacrifice would give us a better and healthier life.

What do you need to sacrifice and why?

Choices, now there’s a never ending subject. We constantly make choices. We make choices not even knowing that we made a choice. Isn’t the subconscious great?

a boy's choice of a healthy or unhealthy snack

© Tom B – Fotolia

Maybe that’s why it’s so important to watch what you put into your thought process. How will it come out when it reveals itself? If you have negative thoughts, do your choices have negative consequences?

In this chapter John outlines the three critical choices that govern how he conduct’s himself.

Choice #1: My standards for myself will be higher than what others set for me.

I struggle to follow this principle and how do you set your standards higher unless you ask the other person what they expect? How many people ask, “What do you expect from me?” Maybe it’s time to start.

What happens to someone that allows others to set their standards? They eventually get fired, who wants someone working for them who they have to consistently tell to do better job.

Choice #2: Helping people is more important than making them happy.

This choice is hard for me, I try to keep the peace and make people happy. Sometimes in order to help people you need to say things that they don’t want to hear. It’s like what happens when you take candy away from the little kid because you don’t want them to over eat, it usually makes the kid unhappy, but it’s for their own good.

Now, go tell your spouse that they need to lose weight and see what happens. If they are truly overweight and your intentions are only because you want to spend time with them longer, then the intentions are right. It’s all in the delivery of the message.

Choice #3: My focus will be on the present.

The choices you made yesterday got to where you are today and the choices you make today will determine where you are tomorrow.

Isn’t this the truth, if I chose to drink alcohol and drive, the possible outcomes are;

  1. Arrive home safe.
  2. Get arrested and charged with a driving under the influence (DUI).
  3. Die.
  4. Kill someone and end up in prison.

Sorry to get graphic, but that’s the choice thousands of people make every day.

Making the initial choice is the easy part. Thinking about the possible outcomes and if you are willing to accept them are not.

Choices control everything you do, you even have a choice to breath. What choices can you make today to be a better person, so you can make the choice to add value to others?