The third of the seven words in my acronym “SUCCESS” is “Chosen. Being chosen offers numerous opportunities for growth as well as a few rewards. Being the first kid selected in a choose-up game on the basketball court at the neighborhood playground or being elected president of a professional association conjure up great feelings of pride and joy. Each of us can easily identify with being chosen for something meaningful to us. What I’m referring to here is more about why we are where we are and how we got here. (If we can ever really know that!)
The subject is not about being chosen. It’s about taking responsibility for the direction, actions and judgments we have “chosen” that contributed to our present personal circumstances today - good, bad or indifferent! Success is about what we are doing now and/or planning now for the future so why talk about choice in past tense? Well, that’s fairly simple. The old adage still rings true today; if you want something different in the future you must do something different today; you must do something other than what you’ve always done or you will continue to get what you’ve always gotten.
Ever since I heard the definition of insanity – “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” I have tried to apply its underlying message of change to my everyday life. In that, I have found not only a great peace but the reality and interconnection of change and success.
If we want to be successful we must be willing to change. If we want to change we must know ourselves and who we really are and what needs changing in order to reach our goals. We must acknowledge the value of self examination and the acceptance of the accompanying consequences of our choices, decisions, and judgments.
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To examine our past in its context, learning what worked and what didn’t and applying the results; the consequences, good and bad alike, we offer ourselves a greater potential for growth towards success, but more importantly significance.
Recognizing and coming to terms with the error of our ways also allows us to dismiss those moments in time that are no longer of value to our present and consequently our future. Yet, we must use our personal histories to seek out those moments where our chosen paths have either led us astray or victoriously in the direction of our destiny. We can learn from painful and joyful consequences alike, no matter how extreme, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves and forgiving of ourselves.
I am not, by any means, suggesting that one should spend their entire life looking back. Quite the contrary, I am suggesting we spend present moments in reflection in order to determine our actions for today. This is, of course, just one method of forward thinking; sort of back to the future type daydreaming. In the past few years I have spent a significant number of hours reflecting, journaling, and writing about then present day reflections that have produced both fond and tortuously painful memories. However, I will say that each hour I spent earnestly self examining the paths I have chosen revealed many blessings in disguise and contributed to handsome dividends in my present joy and future happiness despite some bitter disappointments along the way. Had I not permitted myself the reflective time, I would have missed many virtuous revelations.
There is, at least in my humble opinion, a significant difference between choices and decisions. Unfortunately there is not enough time to discuss them here in this article except to note that choices are abundant and seemingly infinite in their frequency while decisions, by their very definition, dwindle in frequency when they are executed and therefore finite.
Since 1987, when I first began journaling, I have chosen the direction for my life from many alternatives or choices. From those varied choices I have chosen thoughts, actions and quite often, due to a propensity for procrastination, inaction which has ultimately resulted in arriving at a very different station in life today – at this very moment. Some of the actions I chose were exhilarating, some very self-defeating. What I learned was not unique to me. There is an abundance of literature replete with stories, factual and otherwise, learned by others long before me and by greater men than me.
Simply, to seek the wisdom of God is supreme and if we are to focus ourselves on any one thing, loving God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves is a choice. Keeping that choice in the present and at the forefront of our daily lives creates unlimited possibilities and opens doors that no man can shut. In this case we choose to be chosen because we have been chosen to choose.
Shalom my friends and peace be with you,