Friday, March 20, 2009

We Do What We Want

The more I experience a life less ordinary, (which I am quite grateful for) the more I realize people do exactly what they want to do; it’s just a matter of how much they want it. No matter how grand or how mundane your life is, for the most part, it is the way it is because you made choices that got you there and because you continue to make choices that keep you there. Timing and circumstances certainly play a major role in our life journey, but ultimately, I believe our “destiny” is what we make it.

People easily get self consumed, worried and pessimistic. We are quick to be controlled by fear and fear of failure is generally at the top of the list. But history proves that the people this world considers to be “great” are the ones that took the biggest risks; people that were driven to the extent that they would no longer let fear control them. These are the people that have paved the way for the rest of humanity.

Perspective is important. It’s easy to make our own little worlds and lose perspective of the big picture. Francois de La Rochefoucauld once said, “It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.” The more we get wrapped up in our self-absorbed worlds, the easier it is to turn those excuses into our reality. They comfort us. To say something is impossible lets us off the hook, even in our own mind. But the great men and women of this world became great because they spent their lives defying what others swore was impossible.

If it is important to you to work out daily, you do it. No time schedule or number of children or lack of money or anything else can keep you from it. It is only a matter of how much you want it. And though your list of excuses might sound grand to you, remember those stories of our heroes that ran marathons and won Olympic event with missing limbs, heart problems, or coming out of destitute poverty. There is almost always someone (or even a large group of someones) that has made a decision to not let those excuses stop them from achieving their dreams.

If you want to work out, lose weight, a better spiritual life, better relationships, a life with meaning, or whatever it is, you will attain it if you want it badly enough. And if you do not attain it, it is because your “I should” never became an “I must”. It simply was not important enough to you to stop your old habits and form new ones. You chose to let life get in the way, and you continue to let it direct your future.

No matter where you come from, the education you never obtained, the family you never had, or the circumstances you are in, you have the power to change your destiny at any given moment. No plans are necessary. You just stop doing what you’ve always done and take steps in the direction you want to go. The rest tends to happen fairly organically if you keep pushing.

Part of the peace and fulfillment of life comes with being appreciative of the journey. We have to realize that our perceived “failures” can just as easily be viewed as “necessary stepping stones towards success”. It’s a state of mind. If you can view your “failures” as valuable lessons that would not have been learned any other way, and an opportunity to learn, your journey becomes a lot more tolerable and even enjoyable. It makes sense that way.

From the way we treat people around us, to our jobs, and ultimately our life journey, it is a series of choices we make based on what is most important to us. If you want to lose weight badly enough, you lose it. If it’s not quite important enough for you to discipline yourself and change your habits, then it’s just that; not important enough.

With this realization comes a lot of responsibility. It’s a lot easier to just say, “that’s impossible” or “I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t have the money”. But thousands of great people have decided that those are just excuses to give up. They decided a life of meaning and fulfillment was more important, so they took it. And they didn’t plan for it. They just made the decision and started down the path. And they committed to making that decision every second of every day.

The next time you create an excuse for not doing something you say you want to do, for not following your dreams, or for why you were defeated, remind yourself that we all do exactly what we want to do; it’s only a matter of how much we want it.

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