People have a multitude of excuses for everything. Excuses for failure. Excuses for committing crimes. Excuses for bad relationships. Excuses for lying or unemployment or just plain laziness. You’ve heard them. I came from a broken home. I had a rotten childhood. I was bullied. I’m not smart enough. It wasn’t my fault. While all of these are unfortunate circumstances and they do have some bearing on how you approach life experiences, at some point a decision must be made. Will you let the past dictate your future?
I know people who have purposed to fulfill their potential – to set goals and achieve them – despite what has happened in their past. They’ve overcome obstacles that many would say were impossible. And they’ve succeeded.
When you look at the behaviors of successful people, you see a pattern. They are joyful and positive and creative. They look at what is and what can be instead of what is not. They make their own decisions about life instead of simply accepting what others tell them. And most importantly, they are successful because they believe they are successful.
I’ll say here that it’s impossible to be successful if you are negative. Your attitudes affect your behavior. Totally true. But it’s also true that your behavior determines your attitude. You make the choice to be positive or to be negative. Every time you put on an attitude and go through the motions, you trigger the emotions you create and strengthen the attitude you wish to cultivate. Positive or negative.
We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our race, or the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. But within the whole realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: with purpose or adrift, with joy or with joylessness, with hope or with despair, with humor or with sadness, with a positive outlook or a negative outlook, with pride or with shame, with inspiration or with defeat and with honor or with dishonor. We decide that what makes us significant or insignificant. We decide to be creative or to be indifferent. No matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. In the end, our own success is decided by what we choose to do or what we refuse to do.