Triplet ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Fame ~

He had come to the big city from a little rural community, had worked hard and intelligently and climbed high up the business ladder with unusual speed. He was, in fact, rather well-known among the businessmen in the big town.

With the means and freedom now to indulge himself, he thought of his home-town and how nice it would be to return for a visit — a visit no doubt characterized by praise and adulation of the local boy who had made the big time.

When he stepped off the train there was no welcoming committee there to greet him. this was surprising, and a bit disconcerting. the few people on the station platform paid him no heed and went on their way.

As he picked up his bag and old freight handler came up, looked at him curiously and said, “Howdy Jim, you leaving town?”

Buried Treasure ~

A farmer on his deathbed summoned his four sons and told them he was leaving his farm to them in four equal parts. “I have very little ready cash, but you will find that the greater part of my wealth is buried somewhere in the ground, about a foot and a half from the surface.
I have forgotten precisely where.” Then he died.

The fours sons set to work on the fields and dug up every inch of them, searching for the treasure the father had buried. They found nothing. But they decided that since they had dug up all the ground, they might as well plant a crop and reap a good harvest.

That autumn, after an abundant harvest, the four boys again began digging in search of the buried treasure; as a consequence their farm was turned over more thoroughly than any other farm in the area.

And of course, again they reaped a fine harvest. After they had repeated this procedure for several more years, the four sons finally realized what their father had meant when he told them his wealth was buried in the ground.

Tolerance ~

Legend has it that when Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he saw and old man, stopping and leaning on his staff. He was weary with age and travail, being a hundred years of age. Abraham received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, and caused him to sit down.

Observing that the old man ate and prayed not, nor begged a blessing on his meat, Abraham asked why he did not worship the god of heaven.

The old man told him that he worshiped fire only, and acknowledged no other God. At this answer Abraham became so angry, that he threw the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night in an unguarded condition.

When the old man was gone, God called out to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. “I thrust him away, because he did not worship you.” God was silent, then answered, “I have suffered him these hundred years, and you could not endure him for one night-when he gave you no trouble?”
–Jeremy Taylor

Just stand aside and watch yourself go by,
Think of yourself as “he” instead of “I”
–Strickland Gillilan

An Intermezzo List ~ Early Morning Thoughts

When I was teaching in India, my speech students were required to start what I called an Idea File. Basically, it was a collection of their speeches, quotes, stories,pictures and such. Ostensibly, it was for later speeches, but the hidden agenda was that later on, they would be able to look back and perhaps find something they needed to make a choice or find/offer comfort.
Before going further with my thoughts on choice, I’m posting a morning intermezzo list. I’ve included a number of quotes from Denis Waitley, one of the most sought-after keynote speakers and productivity consultants in the world today. And he believes very strongly in personal choice and the responsiblity for those choices.

As near as I can tell, he’s also discovered as Linus told Charlie Brown (one of my favorite moments): Life is more than a bumper sticker.

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.
–Denis Waitley

If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.
–Denis Waitley

Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on your own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon.
–Denis Waitley

Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.
–Denis Waitley

Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.
–Denis Waitley

Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.
–Denis Waitley

Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.
–Denis Waitley

Change is the essence of life.Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.
–Denis Waitley

Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.
–Denis Waitley

Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.
–Denis Waitley

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.
–Charles R. Swindoll

Remember you’ve got a choice. When you feel you can’t handle something, you can either choose to feel miserable and helpless, or maybe put your life in someone else’s hands to sort out – if they can be bothered. Or you can decide to take charge , take full responsibility for whatever’s happening, even if none of it seems to be your fault, and decide to turn poison into medicine
— Geoff from the book, The Buddha, Geoff and Me

tomorrow: choice, maps and territories

1st picture by Eric Lindgren

Early Morning Thoughts ~ "But they made me…" (continued)

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.
George Eliot

As I looked back over the two(1) posts(2) I’ve done about choices, the reality of making these decisions personal becomes more and more important. I’m not talking about the choices that have the distinct road maps with the flashing signs saying: “turn here.” But rather, the ones that are subtle, hidden and not so obvious. And, while they are subtle, hidden and not so obvious – they have ramifications that carry far beyond what we might think.

Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel, we can see it ever widening to choose the things we want to do, to take the wisdom we’ve learned and create something.
–Liz Carpenter

And, these choices are unsettling, there is no doubt of that. I don’t like uncertainty. I put up with ZZ for the length of time I did partially because the choices I faced were not clear-cut and hanging heavy with the possibility of failure. Of course, when I was placed in a situation where I had to make decisions quickly and with little or no thought – I made some poor choices.

Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.
–Jim Rohn

But based on what I had faced over the past few years (I posted some heavy posts called Poison to Medicine that deals with that) I admitted where I made the choices, and work to change the ones that need changing – or – at the very least influence their outcome. This meant going deep within and really listening to what was within me. Of course, there were those that wanted to help – and I appreciate that. Ultimately however – the choice was mine. I was in a place where even if I had said “But look what they/he/she/you made me do!” would not only seemed hollow, no one (including myself) would have believed it. A speaker once said that the subtle choices ultimately should fall into three categories: Good … Better … Best …

For what is the best choice, for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve.

These divisions appear to make the choices even more difficult, but in reality they make the road map more clear. First – they free me to not worry about where the pitfalls may lie. Had I listened to what I knew I would not have made the lesser choices I’ve made in the past. I would have taken the time and the energy to listen within and to see what would have possibly be a better option.

There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.
–Denis Waitley

I have mentioned the other night “poor Mr. Quinby” who had really sound ideas, but it is difficult to find direct mentions of him in this day and age. Part of the reason is that with many good and sound ideas, people took what was a good idea and took it far beyond what was the original intent or what could be support by actual experience. He charted choices, and realized that when I look at a choice ONLY as in the following:

That is GOOD or BAD
You should THINK or FEEL
Tell Me YES or NO
This Belongs To YOU or ME
Do You Love ME or THEM

I was limiting and in a sense, harming the decision making process. When many magicians do card tricks – the “pick a card, any card” type, very often the choice is forced. I will pick the card I’m supposed to – this also applies to my personal subtle choices:

Most of us have been raised with the “forced choice” of ONLY two choices — but parents, teachers, siblings, lovers, therapists. Very often neither choices is useful as presented, and allows us only the unpleasantness of a double bind choice.

is the common functional issue.
is the common dysfunctional issue.
But over and over, it comes back to the over-riding thought – we are personally responsible for the choices we make.

Right now you are one choice away from a new beginning – one that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be.
–Oprah Winfrey

more on this tomorrow

Early Morning Thoughts ~ Choice Thoughts

Continuing yesterday morning’s post on choice,
here are some other peoples thoughts:

George Eliot:
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

Denis Waitley:
There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.

John Wayne:
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran:
We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.

Frank Swinnerton:
We would rather be in the company of somebody we like than in the company of the most superior being of our acquaintance.

Leo Buscaglia:
What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.

Edgar A. Guest:
You are the person who has to decide. Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside; you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind. Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.

Gene Roddenberry:
A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away.

William Jennings Bryan:
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

For what is the best choice, for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve.

Jim Rohn:
Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.

Wayne Dyer:
Heaven on earth is a choice you must make, not a place we must find.

Neil Peart:
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Liz Carpenter:
Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel, we can see it ever widening to choose the things we want to do, to take the wisdom we’ve learned and create something.

Napoleon Hill:
It is always your next move.

Jean Nidetch:
It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.

Frederick Bailes:
Man’s power of choice enables him to think like an angel or a devil, a king or a slave. Whatever he chooses, mind will create and manifest.

Oprah Winfrey:
Right now you are one choice away from a new beginning – one that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be.

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

Early Morning Thoughts ~ "But They Made Me…" (part 2)

On Tuesday I started a post on choices and the ones we know we should make — even though we might not want to. What seems to be gaining prevalence is an inability to accept responsibility for those choices. What started the posting was the news report about a major AIDS/HIV organization suing the manufacturer of Viagra for causing people to participate in unsafe sex. My reaction was quite simple – gay or straight, we are personally responsible for the choices we make. We know about unsafe sex, we know that putting our hands through glass will cause cuts, we know that pouring a hot drink into our laps (or our children’s laps) will be painful and may cause burns. To stand and say that someone/something made us make the wrong choice is a weak argument at best.

But what about the subtle choices…the one’s that don’t seem that obvious? This calls for going within, and listening to what is within us – regardless of our belief system. It’s the listening to the inner self that allows more guidance on the subtle choices. I’m not sure that the four outcomes statement we learned in Science class applies to subtle choices:
I know that the subtle choices can cause a great sense of insecurity and unease. And that’s because the outcome isn’t readily known. I have to admit that what I am familiar with can not provide an answer that is guaranteed. And I have to focus on, what is for many of us, unfamiliar territory in making those decisions. Of course, I want to avoid the unexpected and undesired outcome, but there is almost no guarantee that can be avoided … unless,
I make it a guidepost to weigh options carefully – and to listen within as I make the choice.

Listening within sometimes is quite difficult. With all that is around, and all the demands on time, energy and personality…I have difficulty hearing/listening to what is within. To what sometimes is the infuriating small voice that gently prods, softly leads and sometimes merely points. And, alas, it’s also the realization and acknowledgement that the choice I make is totally my own and I have to look honestly and openly at the results.

When I force a choice on someone, or have a choice forced on me – the outcomes are seldom desirable or worthwhile, And quite frankly, if I’m having a choice forced on me, or forcing someone to make the choice I want them to make – it usually comes down to manipulation. The manipulation may be subtle (and usually is) or overt and annoying. However, I always have the choice to no longer “play the game” and usually can make the choice I feel is the correct one. Remember, I’m talking about the subtle choices – not the ones such as a work situation where it’s the “my-way-or-the-highway” kind of “offer.” (Although, there sometimes can be interesting ways to turn those situations.)

A speaker once said that the subtle choices ultimately should fall into three categories:

Good … Better … Best …

Tomorrow, a look at those categories and an introduction to poor Mr. Quimby who has been degraded and made fun of, but actually had the right idea about making choices.

More tomorrow…

fourth illustration – Listening Within by Morte137