Throwback Thursday: “It’s All About Choices”

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”                                                                                                                                    H. Norman Schwarzkopf  

Life is all about making choices. It’s about reaching decisions and being prepared to live by those decisions. I’m not talking about the countless day to day choices we make through the course of our life, in the big picture they are inconsequential and have little effect on our journey or our true purpose for living. These lesser choices and decisions are nearly automatic and require little or no deliberation.

nMY32XVThen there are those life changing choices we are confronted with, choices that have the power to rock our world and make a difference. Those decisions that cannot be taken lightly and must be made with diligence. The choices we mull over for hours on end. The ones we analyse, scrutinize, ruminate and ponder. The ones that eat us up into the wee hours of the morning, haunting our every waking moment and invading our dreams. I remember several times in my life standing at the bathroom mirror looking at my reflection and trying to make a decision. Call me crazy, but sometimes I’d stand there talking to myself debating the pros and cons of a particular decision, but then these are the decisions that might make or break us, so we feel compelled to make the right choice.

Well I’m here to tell you that when it comes to making major life choices, there is seldom a right or wrong, there is only the choice you make and the results and consequences that accompany your choice. If you’ve thought about it long and hard, weighed your options, are comfortable with your decision and are able to live with it, then you’ve made a good choice and that’s all that really matters. Only others will view your decision as right or wrong and what other people think simply doesn’t matter. If your decision works out for the best, wonderful, if it doesn’t, then you learn from it and move on.

The only right or wrong of the matter as it applies to you has to do with the decision making process itself. The right thing to do is to weigh your options carefully and take the time necessary to make a good decision. The wrong thing to do is to make a choice too quickly. A rash decision could be a disastrous. Take an adequate amount of  time, but don’t take too long. If you put off making the decision for too long there’s a chance you could lose the opportunity to make that particular choice forever. Indecision is an opportunity killer my friends, don’t fall victim to it. Don’t be one of those procrastinators who let opportunity slip away.In my own experience it isn’t the important decisions I’ve made that I find myself regretting, instead it is the decisions I didn’t make in a timely manner and the opportunities that I missed because of it, that I regret the most.

Just a Thought…

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Throwback Thursday: “Patience Young Grasshopper, Patience.”

Long before David Carradine gained ever-lasting notoriety for his “accidental” death while in the throws of autoerotic asphyxiation, he was actually a fairly decent actor. No  A-lister by any means, but a strong B for sure. How he wound up naked, hanging in the closet of a Bangkok hotel several years ago is no mystery. Carradine liked to party. He liked to push it to the limit. You can bet there was plenty of drugs, alcohol, and young Thai girls.

I first saw Carradine back in 1972 in a new television series called  ‘Kung Fu’.  In it he played Kwai Chang Caine, an orphaned half American half Chinese  raised by monks, who was forced to flee China after killing the a member of the Emperors family who had killed his master teacher. Each week as Caine travels through the old west looking for his brother he encountered individuals and situations in which his Zen-like training as a monk and skills as a Kung-fu master come in very handy in settling disputes and righting wrong.

What a great show! I used to love Kung Fu and looked forward to it weekly.  What I enjoyed most were all the flashback sequences in which Caine recalls the days of his youth, specifically the time he spent with his monk master and key lessons he was taught. It isn’t often that a show can offer it’s audience insight and “words to live by” as ‘Kung Fu’ did, a quality missing from most television shows today, but that was 40 years ago and times have certainly changed.

Central to many of Caine’s life lessons is the virtue of patience. Whenever he questioned the master about a particular method or gets impatient with the time or steps involved in achieving a particular result, he questions “But master, why–“ and the master would cu him off with a wave of his hand and reply with the now well known phrase, “patience, young grasshopper,” which is what the master always called his young student.

A typical lesson would go something like this:

Master: “I have three treasures which I hold and keep. The first is mercy, for from                     mercy comes courage. The second is frugality, from which comes generosity to                     others. The third is humility, for from it comes leadership.” —                                            

Caine:     “Strange treasures. How shall I hold them and keep them?  Memory?”              

Master:  “No, Grasshopper, not in memory, but in your deeds.”                                              

Caine:    “But Master how can I—” (cut off by the master)                                          

Master:  “Patience Grasshopper, In time you will learn…”

And Caine did learn and eventually went off on his own. Hopefully some viewers came away from the show having learned something as well.  If we could  simply have learned some degree of patience or its importance, then the time spent in front of our TV sets was well worth it.

Unfortunately in our fast paced, highly technological society, patience is a virtue seldom seen. Everyone is in a hurry, rushing around like ants to get where they’re going, so they can carry of business. After all,  they have taken the time to plan and arrange things with the greatest of care, God forbid anyone or anything get in the way of their mission, or they’ll have hell to pay!

However, the unexpected or unforeseen has a way of ruining the best laid plans, and that  where patience comes into play. We all have our share of troubles and trials, whether it be physical pain or mental weariness, disappointment or annoyance. These are unavoidable situations we all have to contend with. We would all like to be free of these situations, but that will never happen Thy are just part of our life, part of the trip. So like my wife is fond of saying “Deal with it!”

And just how do we deal with it? By practicing patience, that’s how. Patience can help you bear your cross or crosses more easily. It is the key to peacefulness in trying times of trouble or annoyance. Okay so your stuck in traffic you hadn’t counted on or can’t find a parking space, or the doctor is behind schedule and you’ve been waiting over an hour and are getting upset or even angry. If the receptionist apologizes one more time and asks you to be patient you’re sure you’re going to explode! Oh well, deal with it! Come on, nothing should surprise disappoint or annoy you anymore. Shit happens!

In times like these, you are capable of becoming your own worse enemy. Your negative reaction isn’t going to change anything. Becoming upset, angry or annoyed isn’t going to make the traffic move any quicker or cause the doctor to suddenly catch up. You know damn well that your anxiety will only serve to cause you even more stress. Throwing a tizzy-fit will change nothing. You will only succeed in making  a bad situation worse.

We’ve got to remember that “it’s not all about us.” The world doesn’t evolve around us. We are in control of ourselves, we choose how we will deal with situations. God has given us all the ability to willingly suppress our feelings of annoyance, anger, or irrationality and be more patient with ourselves and other. It’s all about making the right choices. We all have our crosses to bear, so bear them well, just as Christ bore His, without contempt or complaint. He simply dealt wit it, Can you?

Just Saying…

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“Today is the Tomorrow You Worried About Yesterday!”

Without fail, tomorrow always follows today. It’s a given. How much time do you spend thinking about or worrying about tomorrow? How much time do you spend planning for tomorrow? Maybe you’re a procrastinator like me and are always putting things off until tomorrow? Or maybe, just maybe you’re a party animal and you’re living like there’s no tomorrow!

Whatever the case, most of us take tomorrow for granted, we simply expect that we’ll be here to experience it. But that’s an awful big assumption, being here tomorrow is not a given. Do you realize that approximately 6750 people die each day in the United States. 6750 people who experienced today will not be here tomorrow? That’s right, and of those about 540 or so will go to bed tonight with hopes, plans or dreads of what tomorrow may hold, and simply not wake up. Not a pleasant thought, I know, but true. Assume nothing. Nothing is set in stone. In one of my favorite Steven Segal movies there is a line about assumption that says it all. “Assumption is the mother of all f*** ups!” and that it is.

tomorrow-300x274I’m always putting things off till tomorrow or some future date. I’m really very good at it.   I remember one of my first bosses had two small framed posters on his wall that read  “Today’s greatest labor saving device is Tomorrow” and “Tomorrow is usually the busiest day of the week.” How many of us say “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “It can wait until tomorrow,” many of us I’ll bet. One of the founding father’s (not sure which one, Jefferson maybe or Ben Franklin) once said something like “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” True words of wisdom,  especially if you wind up being one of those 6750 with no tomorrow. Pablo Picasso rephrased it best when he said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” Think about it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t waste away today, use it up, make the most of each and every minute, make it count! Tomorrow is not guaranteed and is never exactly what you supposed it would be. Tomorrow is simply another today and is whatever you want it to be. Each day is what you make it! And stop worrying about tomorrow, don’t be afraid of the unknown. Remember that each day is a gift from God. Have faith that He will show you the way and make things right. That’s not an assumption, that’s a fact!

When I was a kid my mom used to sing this song to us called :The Bible Tells Me So” I leave you with  the words, as they are quite fitting.

Don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
Just be real good today
The Lord is right beside you
He’ll guide you all the way

Have faith, hope and charity
That’s the way to live successfully
How do I know, the bible tells me so

Do good to your enemies
And the Blessed Lord you’ll surely please
How do I know, the Bible tells me so

Don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
Just be real good today
The Lord is right beside you
He’ll guide you all the way…

Just a Thought…

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