Trinity of Choice

Verily, it is almost a religious experience to ask a simple question and to receive a simple answer.

Why is it that so few people know what they want?

Why do they complain about who and where they are?

Why are they reluctant to provide the answers to questions?

Listen carefully to one-hundred individuals and about five of them are happy, content, and at peace with the world. The other ninety-five will be complaining about something. Why?

Happy people take full responsibility for the: Who, What, Where, Why and How of their existence. In fact, they understand their life is the result of every single decision they have ever made.

We get what we allow. If there is something in our life, we put it there. If there is something missing from our life, we have purposefully kept it out. By the selective process of Yes and No, we have made our life, exactly, as it is, or isn’t.

The really whiny individuals of the world will counter with an argument that they didn’t decide. I thank you for the opportunity to state the obvious: A decision to not make a choice is still a decision.

When given the opportunity to choose, we can:

Do the right thing.
Do the wrong thing.
Do nothing.

That’s the trinity of choice. Imagine a fork in the road: Left, Right, or Paralysis. Imagine an elevator: Up, Down, or Stuck. Imagine a simple question: Yes, No, or Maybe. You get the idea.

Do the right thing.
Do the wrong thing.
Do nothing.

Doing the right thing garners inherent rewards.
Doing the wrong thing reveals inherent risks.
Doing nothing does nothing.

Do nothing, be nothing. Do nothing, get nothing. Do nothing, go nowhere. Do nothing, answer nothing. Do nothing, accomplish nothing.

Zero times anything results in a zero-sum game. Life is so much more fun when seasoned with the Rewards and Risks of action.

When facing a choice, make it.

Do something, even, if it’s the wrong thing.

Better, yet, do the right thing!

www.kimfoard.com

Here We Are

New Year 2011

Last night, at the end of one year and the beginning of another, I was reminded of the expression: Wherever we go, there we are.

I felt a tap on the shoulder while standing in the crowded Bull & Bear Saloon of Red Lodge, Montana. Dancers were kicking up their heels to the music of Wild Bill and the Coyotes. There were only a few tables to hold drinks and conversation. The rest of us were engaged in the bump and shuffle of tight quarters.

As I turned around expecting a polite disclaimer of accidental contact, my eyes met those of someone intent on conversation. Always up for a little social banter with a complete stranger, I listened as she said, “My kids sent me over to ask you to dance.”

Assuring her that I love to dance, I asked for a first name. About the time Becky and I headed for the dance floor, the band plucked the final chords on the last song before a break. Just my luck! Oh, well, accepting that things do happen for a reason, this must be perfect timing for a little conversation before we waltzed into the New Year.

For the next ten minutes, I heard the story of two husbands, four kids (2 by 2; ages 22, 18, 11, and 7) and a pending adventure in Alaska. Yep; as Becky exclaimed, “I need to go find myself, because I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!”

Upon hearing that oft stated phrase, I always wonder, “How can you find something for which you don’t know to look?!”

As dysfunctional as the story-line was, I did have to admire her honesty. Earlier in the evening, I had noticed this woman in a group of Twenty-somethings. She was ordering shots of Tequila and leading the way into oblivion.

How sad.

Sacrificed on the altar of Selfishness were at least two “committed” relationships, four children and all hopes of a family life. Now, I understand, there is surely more facets to the Rest of this Story. What I do know for a fact: We get what we allow.

If we don’t know what we want, that’s exactly what we get: The result of a decision by someone else. That’s what parents do for, and to, children. And, they do it for all of the right reasons. Young children are, too, immature to decide for themselves.

About the age of 12, though, is the Age of Reason; we all start to think for ourselves. Then, in the teenage years we begin turning those thoughts into words and actions (some pleasant; some less than). Sooner, or later, we learn that our actions have consequences.

Society is fairly forgiving in our young adult years. Parents and others will listen to the whining and rationalization about how the world must be picking on the poor, saintly, martyr. Eventually, though, it becomes obvious that:

Wherever we go, there we are!

It is by our individual choices that we find ourselves, exactly, where we are at this moment. No one forced us into our decisions; no one is that powerful. In fact, even God recognizes the importance of free will. We are given opportunities; it is up to us what we do with them.

Becky’s children didn’t make her push through a crowd for the purpose of asking me to dance. Becky made that choice. Her children didn’t ask to be born into a broken home. Becky made that choice. I am absolutely positive those same children don’t want their mother to seek the thrill of a new adventure in Alaska, as she leaves them behind in Montana. Becky is making that choice.

Yes, her tone was that of a teenager as she complained about the past, expressed uncertainty of the present, and looked forward to finding herself in the future.

My amusement of the immaturity surely expressed itself in facial expression, body language, tone of voice and the actual words, playfully, teasing Becky about her choices. Soon, the, real, young adults were looking for new entertainment adventure. Their leader accepted their offer as an appropriate exit strategy from our conversation and off they went, in search of the unknown, by the unknowing.

www.kimfoard.com

The Want To

To The CloudsA dream without fuel is simply a fantasy. The propulsion forward into reality is only possible with a force more powerful than TNT. Rather than blow up the bridges behind us to ensure motivation, we can leave them in place for the benefit of others and continue our journey, forward. We will use the one true force of accomplishment, TWT: The Want To.

Playing not to lose is entirely different from playing to win. Fighting to stay alive is a poor substitute for living to make a difference in the world.

While on the battlefield, it may be necessary to blow up bridges to protect a flank and motivate troops to focus on a forward objective. In our civilian arenas, let’s focus on leaving the past and ignoring the temptation to go back, by using a force greater than the physical. It is often given lip service and is known by its many names: Commitment; Self-control; Willpower. We will examine the powerful force of The Want To.

Those limited to physical resources will, always, be at a disadvantage to the individuals harnessing higher powers.

Character vs. Brute Strength
Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.

Vulnerable to Attack
A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Lack of Focus
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.

By now, it is obvious that the inherent power of “The Want To” comes from a mental, emotional, and spiritual commitment to a single choice; by choosing one, we forego all others.

When asked to give a definition of the word Commitment, many are visibly puzzled and perplexed. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the analogy of a skydiver relieves the tension and provides an image to explain commitment.

Simply: the skydiver is either in the plane; or, out of the plane. While those anchored to the ground want to debate the merits of “Try, Maybe and Fence-sitting”, there is never a “third” option. The choices are: In; or, Out.

At the moment our skydiver leaves the plane, there is no going back. They are committed to a rendezvous with the ground. Now, there are, still, two choices: Smack hard; or, land safely. Except for those with a death wish, the singular focus becomes one of enjoying the trip and executing a graceful touchdown.

Commitment

Until one is committed
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas
And splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision
Raising in one’s favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material assistance,
Which no person could have dreamt
Would have come their way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

(—W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition)

Those individuals with a life wish understand the importance of injecting The Want To into their decisions. They are able to live the Australian expression of, “No worries mate!” Their focus is on seeking, first, those facets of life more important than the physical. The lesson they learn: Easy is hard; hard is easy.

Doing right is harder than doing wrongBuilding is harder than destroyingAsking, Seeking, and Knocking is harder than Whining, Hiding, and Pouting. Those fueled with TWT know that all of the physical goals and conquests will be theirs, too!

www.kimfoard.com

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