Primary Choices in Life

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

— Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker and writer

image from http://www.faithingyourblueprint.com

image from http://www.faithingyourblueprint.com

When I read today’s quote, I felt a bit troubled. Observing the world around me, I notice many people making a third, and yet very undesirable choice in life: the choice to be the victim. This is where individuals, organizations, and sometimes even nations, blame others for their current conditions.

Waitley points to two better choices for us to consider as we journey through our days. As the serenity prayer suggests, it is often helpful to simply accept those things we cannot control or influence, and of course, accept and take responsibility for those situations about which we can do something.

EXERCISE:

What choices are you currently making in your professional and personal life? Where would greater acceptance of your responsibility to change for the better make the biggest difference?

“Be sure to taste your words…”

“Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.”

— Author Unknown

Image from behappy.me

Image from behappy.me

Did you know that there are professional tasters for wine, tea, beer, coffee, and even vodka? These discerning taste specialists are charged with evaluating flavors, aromas, and other general characteristics of beverages. Fundamental to the tasting process is actually spitting out most, if not all, of these liquids.

The words we utter throughout our days, too, have various qualities. How sweet, sour, salty, or bitter are the words you use in your professional and personal life?

EXERCISE:

How would taking more time to taste, and perhaps reformulate, your words before you spit them out into the world help you achieve the relationships and results you desire in life?

“If you could kick the person…”

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Photo from ibosocial.com

Photo from ibosocial.com

Personal responsibility and accountability are two very important qualities of those who tend to be the most successful in a coaching relationship. People who possess these characteristics know they are the proverbial athlete on the field of their own lives, and only they can put points on the scoreboard.

I often observe, to the contrary, many people playing the victim, putting much, if not all, the blame for their lot in life on others.

President Roosevelt’s statement makes it clear: We, alone, control our thoughts and actions. Hopefully we use them to influence our world for the better.

EXERCISE:

Where would a bit more self-coaching and taking greater responsibility for your current place in life make the biggest difference in your professional or personal life?

“If you want your children to…”

“If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”

—Abigail van Buren, American “Dear Abby” advice columnist

Photo from Flickr by thetaxhaven

Photo from Flickr by thetaxhaven

As one born in the middle of the Baby Boom, I find it very interesting to discuss with colleagues and friends the attitudes and general work ethics of the various generations currently in the workforce.

Although there are benefits to all points of view and perspectives, this quote from “Dear Abby” (whose real name was Pauline Esther Phillips) is a good piece of wisdom and coaching for parents, and for business professionals bringing in the next generation of workers.

EXERCISE:

Examine your own developmental journey, personally and professionally. When has assuming personal responsibility, or having it placed on you by a parent, mentor, or organizational leader helped you become a more grounded person?

“I have an existential map. It has…”

“I have an existential map. It has ‘you are here’ written all over it.”

—Steve Wright, American comedian, actor and writer

Photo from Flickr by Zen Sutherland

Photo from Flickr by Zen Sutherland

Steve Wright is a comedian with a very quirky sense of humor who definitely sees life through some unique glasses.

His quote makes me think of the phrase, “wherever you go, there you are.” What makes this useful is that we can take even more responsibility and accountability to influence our world simply because we are an integral part of each situation in which we find ourselves.

Instead of being affected by our circumstances, we can become the cause of them.

EXERCISE:

How can you apply your own presence and capabilities wherever you find yourself to improve your existential world?