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