The two most important things I know, I learned from my dad. They’ve stayed with me because they are truth. They have shaped who I am and have helped me reason through almost every event in my life. It’s not just me, I see it run like a ribbon through the lives of my siblings and now my own children. It’s powerful. If everyone lived by these truths it would change the world.
Number one, “You are not a victim. Ninety-nine percent of what happens to you is a direct result of a decision you made.” Other than being an innocent victim of an outright crime, or natural disaster, you are where you are because of a decision you made. I don’t care what it is. I can literally sit down and think of every bad thing that has happened to me and trace it back to a choice I made.
No, I didn’t have a choice about some of the things I experienced as a child because I didn’t make some of the choices that concerned me or where I was at the time. I didn’t have the control over certain events that have shaped who I am as a woman. This brings me to the second lesson.
Number two, “Never feel sorry for yourself.” No matter how bad you have it, there is always someone who has it worse than you, and often, they are not feeling sorry for themselves. Every single day has good and bad in it. We can embrace either one, which brings us back to making decisions.
Don’t get me wrong. I like to embrace the bad things when they happen and I feel sorry for myself and cry and say, “Why?” Then, I think about how I got to where I am. I move on to think about all the wonderful things I do have. I blow my nose and gear up to make things better or embrace the growth that I’m in store for. I believe it’s healthy to feel bad about stuff and work through it. I feel it’s unhealthy to stay in those places, or let them become our identities.
We were never promised happiness. Seriously, no one ever promised that, it is not a part of the life-start-up kit. We only have the right to pursue happiness, and pursue it we should. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Make the choice to be happy.
Very often we live in the fall-out of other people’s bad choices. This is where we get a little muddy on the subject. It’s important to look at what part we did play in the circumstance. There will be a time when we will have to own stuff we don’t want to. Like knowing something broken in us brought the people who hurt us into our lives. Or knowing our home is gone because we bought a house in a flood zone. Or realizing we are in jail, or now have a record because we chose to break the law or to try that drug the first time. I know for a fact that before every single negative action I’ve taken, there was a small flickering thought in my head as to weather or not it was a good idea. Sometimes I’ve done it anyway, and I reaped the rewards, or should I say, the consequences. This is how I know the difference between a good and bad decision, I’ve made a lot of bad ones.
I’ve seen men and women who, honestly, I felt never even had a fighting chance because of where they were born or how they were raised. They’re circumstances are overwhelming or too hard to fight because of total lack of resources or opportunity. I’ve also seen people who, in spite of every possible deficiency they lived under, rose up and overcame. I think what it comes down to is choice. If you really feel like being inspired look through a few of these links: Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, Corrie ten Boom, Five homeless people who beat the odds. Ben Carson, and my dad, Dale Carrison.
Today is your day to make a choice on who you will be, what you will do, and how you will live. Make a good one.