Tag Archives: choice

The 3rd Person

3rd PersonIt’s full blown election season and this one is a doozy!  Now I know that it is a “faux pas” to talk politics but I will keep it clean.  Regardless of who you personally support there is the ever-present idea that if another side is elected that the country is “going to hell in a hand-basket”.  Having heard this type of fear during many elections and never seeing it actually happen, this race may be heated but not particularly new.  The major problem that I see is not with the election but the bigger problem: the 3rd person.

At the end of the National, State and Local elections, a large majority of people will submit themselves to being victims of the 3rd person.  “They”, “he” or “she” will cause all kinds of problems in the lives of regular citizens.  This point of view leaves those citizens completely powerless and it is completely contrary to the founding principles of this country.  The very first words of the Constitution are “We The People”, not “They The Politicians”.  At a certain point, that fact got lost in the shuffle of daily life.  We do not all have to run for political office.  However the elect, complain and blame model is not progressing us toward a better life.  While it is obvious in politics, it is evident in other areas as well.  The 3rd person seems to ruin many people’s lives daily.

The boss, the guy in traffic, the gossipy bitches at work, the carbs, the alcohol and so many other 3rd persons can be blamed for where we are.  These are easy scapegoats but much like the view of politics today, this is a losing long-term strategy that leaves us powerless.  It is time to say I and WE before giving power up to “THEY”.  Regardless of how real your complaints about they are, it will get you much farther to focus on what you CAN do rather than what they are not doing.  Have the constitution of your life start with “I”.

Have a great Labor Day!

Pete

Invisible Meals

InvisibleMealI love food!  Almost too much.  This is at least one of the causes of my battle with weight loss.  Cravings for things that taste good at meal time are a daily occurrence.  Although I know all of the reasons for a healthy diet, the struggle still exists.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.  The other day I started to give some real thought to this dilemma.  At that time I realized that most meals are invisible.  It’s not that we can’t see them at all but rather that they only exist long enough to serve their purpose.  After they are gone, they are generally forgotten.

If you were asked, I’m sure you could probably remember what you had for dinner, lunch and breakfast yesterday.  However unless you eat the same thing each day or have a schedule, the memory of your meals probably only goes back a week or less.  Even take a special meal like Thanksgiving, you probably remember what you had but don’t remember whether the turkey was dry or how many helpings of mashed potatoes you had.  The power of a meal is the power of an instant.  Based on our national problem with obesity, it is easy to see that we have a problem with getting past those instances.

Choosing what we want most over what we want right now is the key to overcoming this issue.  It does not just relate to food and weight.  It is a failure to fully decide what we want before the instant of temptation comes up.  Being prepared to react to those temptations with a steadfast denial by saying with your actions, “I already chose differently.”  It is not easy!  Without a doubt, this is most likely a fight against years or even decades of habit and desire.  Depending on the habit, like me, you may be carrying around a large reminder of all of those momentary choices with almost no memory of the “joy” that they brought.

So if the memory is going to fade of these instances and you know they will, can you start to make a better choice?  Can you choose to not be overwhelmed by now in the service of later?  Whether it’s food, sex, anger, distraction, beer or any other vice that you may have, make your choice before the moment arrives.  Then carry that decision into tomorrow.  You are not a machine!  This will take time and practice but remember that your present desire will eventually fade in your memory.  Most meals end up being invisible.

Have a great week!

Pete

Shipwrecked

OarsMy son and I have taken a few trips down the Musconetcong  River in an inflated two man boat.  The first two trips were successes.  On the third trip, I completely misjudged the river conditions.  We ended up popping the boat, walking much of the trip (in and out of the water) and my cellphone ended up getting waterlogged.  The trip was not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.  As usual we were dropped off at the river several miles from our house and then left to make our way home.  The low water levels did not become a true problem until we were about a half hour into the trip.  At that point, it is too late to turn back.  Luke and I had anticipated a few bumps along the way but we got a full on shipwreck and I’m so glad that we did.

Neither of us enjoyed the trek that we made down the river.  Half of the time we were in the boat, half we were out and eventually when it popped we had to walk the river without an exit to the road for a while.  Regardless of our poor circumstances, we kept chatting and dealing with small problems as they arose.  It was not the trip that we wanted but that didn’t mean that we had to hate it.  This was not taking lemons and making lemonade.  This was slogging and knowing it was slogging but moving forward anyway and not lamenting it.  It was something that had to be dealt with.

All too often life hands us poor circumstances.  In the natural world, lamenting your circumstances gets you nothing.  It is only in our overly cushy society that complaints do much to improve a situation.  Generally speaking, the world is not interested in your comfort, preferences or desires.  It gives you circumstances and you can choose to whine or choose to move forward.  A shipwreck is not particularly a death sentence or even a negative occurrence, unless you decide that it is.

 

 

 

Once in a Lifetime

Once in a lifetimeIn 2002 my girlfriend (now wife) and I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert.  We had a difficult time getting to the concert because she had a broken foot and was using crutches.  The general admission parking was at least a half mile walk to the entrance, so I ended up carrying her on my back for much of the distance.  As the diligent boyfriend, I wasn’t going to complain.  However at the end of the show, she insisted that we try to get a ride back to the car from security.  We were told to wait at the security station for the van to come pick us up.  Alongside us was an irate woman and her boyfriend, that were also waiting to be picked up.  Phrases like, “He can’t go out there!” and “This is ridiculous that we’re being treated this way!” were thrown about several times.  It became evident to me that I was sitting next to Billy Corgan.  Although the Smashing Pumpkins had broken up, I was still sitting next to a relatively important celebrity of the time.  Despite my realization, I kept quiet until after we’d all been picked up by the van and he and his girlfriend had departed.  At that point, I spilled the beans to everyone else in the van.

It is pretty likely that I’ll never get another chance to meet Billy Corgan.  I can live with that.  Even though I fumbled a chance to have a few minutes of conversation with a talented musician, it was OK.  I wasn’t prepared to have that particular once in a lifetime experience that night.  It was completely by chance.  Many of the events in our lives happen by chance and we need to do the best that we can with those circumstances.

The other “once in a lifetime” experiences are ones that we do by choice.  We seek them out and plan them.  Marriage is the most potent for me personally.  We spend years searching for this person.  Then we spend months planning the wedding.  After all of the research and planning, half of the people in the US get it “wrong”.  This is not a judgment that divorce is wrong or these people are horrible.  It is more of an interest in the story that they tell themselves before they decide.  Perhaps if we had a better story about this once in a lifetime event, we would not have fifty percent of people opting out.

The story that we tell is about getting married:  the party, the dress, the friends, the family, the cake and the honeymoon.  The story that we need to tell ourselves is about the journey through life with a teammate who is there to challenge us to get better.  Someone that we can rely on and can rely on us when things get ugly.  We trade the once in a lifetime experience of choosing a special person for the dream of a special day that’s supposed to carry us the rest of our life.

Life is a game of chance or a game of choice; so choose wisely.  Read the previous statement over and over again until it sinks in.  Basically every experience that you have each and every day will be “once in a lifetime”.  Are they the experiences that you are choosing?  Even if they are chance encounters, how are you choosing to deal with that chance?  In a life with basically no “redos” what do you choose to do this time?

Have a great day today!  After all it’s your choice.


 

The Love Reciprocals

At some point in the past December 25 was a day set aside to celebrate the birth of a person that represented love and forgiveness. In the present day it seems to center around the exchange of gift cards and other activities that are shadows of their initial intent. I am not inclined to be too hard on our present  day societal choices.  The reason that we exchange gifts is the emulation of the gifts of the Magi.  These gifts were important in helping Jesus and his family escape and hide from certain death at the hands of a jealous and angry king.  It has been over 2000 years and we may not have it right yet but we’re not all wrong either.

I have to believe that mankind is capable of loving his neighbor.  This not a religious thing but rather a practical matter.  The reciprocals of love are too taxing on the body and the mind.  Hatred, jealousy, anger and fear are difficult feelings to maintain.  They are destructive to the individual and society.  Although these feelings seem to happen to us, they are actually choices that we make.

So since love is a choice and hatred is a choice.  Why don’t we choose the feeling that feels good and helps the world?  Many reasons are out there but I believe the most pertinent is that we’re afraid we won’t get that love back if we give first.  It’s the paradox that will determine our outcome as a species. Can we take the first step enough that others will feel secure enough to take it?

Love is a choice.  

Hatred is a choice.  

What do you choose?

The Museum Tour Guide

My best friend and I visited the Louvre Museum in 1998.  We didn’t go to France for the art or the culture.  We went for the World Cup.  However even as uncultured twenty-two year old Americans we understood that we needed to go see the Mona Lisa and the other things the Louvre had to offer.  We could have taken one of the guided tours but we chose to go it alone.  In our whirlwind ninety minute sprint through the museum, we actually passed by the Mona Lisa twice without noticing it.  We were definitely not museum tour guides.  The guides have a path and plan to make sure that their guests see the true highlights and skip the ancillary exhibits.

What if you were both the tour guide and the museum?  Would you haphazardly show people your worst exhibits?  Would you take them down to the basement and give them a tour of the museum’s sewage system?  Most likely not, you’d do what all good tour guides do.  You’d show your guests all of the best works.

On a daily basis you need to be deliberate about the person that you display to the world.  In no way am I suggesting that you be fake or falsify who you are.  There are some people who will need to see your sewage.  However if you lead with that exhibit, expect that people won’t be back.  If you lead with your Mona Lisa, people will most likely return to see what else you have to offer.