From time to time I find myself reflecting on an event that occurred in my past, such as leaving home for the military, the birth of my children, what I had for breakfast this morning. You know, important things. And as I grow older some of those memories are not as sharp in focus as they had been, but they are still part of my journey. It leaves me pondering, “Why?”
The brain is an amazing tool. It can hold on to so much stuff that it truly affects how we look at the world and our place in it. You know what I’m talking about if you have ever talked with someone that is so down that no matter what you say to them, they will always find something “wrong” about it. Or conversely, some people will always find a “truth” in what was said. In either case the person is “right” in his/her assertion of the “facts” and how they apply to themselves. (My only caution is; be wary of anyone who seems to “always” be in a good or bad mood. That’s extreme. Life has its ups and downs. And be especially wary of anyone that can turn on a dime from being in a good mood to a bad one – that’s bipolar!)
I’m not a big believer in “pre-determinism” and that our lives are already planned and we are following a set course that will not vary. However, I can’t help but wonder at times if I truly had a choice to make different decisions and where my life would be at this moment. The problem with this kind of thinking is that there is no way to prove it otherwise and to try would be futile. I do know that when I’ve made a decision that I used whatever information available to me at the time to make a choice. And that choice was the best possible outcome for me. Unless of course the decision was based on fear, and that’s never good.
The biggest fear I have is fear of the unknown. I’m not alone is this fear. Casual conversations with friends and colleagues has revealed that they also suffer from the same fear. What is interesting is how they (or myself) have used the fear to motivate them to move past it and do more. “If your fear doesn’t serve you to do better or more, it’s time to change your fear into working for you.” I once heard if you look at your life as unfolding before you like a road in the dark with only your headlights (beliefs) to reveal the way two hundred or so feet at a time, but can “trust” that you are on the right path, you will always be successful, and your fear of the unknown should diminish.
At two hundred or so feet, you still have time to react to things before they become major issues as long as you keep your eyes (and mind) on the road. Let’s face it, we are all on a long dark winding road and yet we still move forward unknowing what is around the corner. What’s more powerful (in my opinion) about this metaphor is that it has never failed anyone. The most successful people in life (if you measure success in terms of money), have failed more often than ten other people combined. And they are the first ones to admit that they had fears but moved past them or used them to become successful.
Success isn’t just about monetary gains either. I measure success for myself in a slightly different way… When I get up in the morning and can place my two feet on the ground and have my health, I am completely successful that day. The only thing that will interfere with my success that day will be me and my fear and my response to that fear. I can’t honestly say I haven’t made bad decisions, but I can admit to learning from my mistakes. I know I’ll make more mistakes, but also know they’ll be fewer and further between. I have my health, two wonderful children, a loving home, and my career is going great. This is my journey.
The path or road you are on is your own. No one else is responsible for your destination except you. Trust your instincts, be grateful and thankful for all that you have, be kind and helpful to others, and never give in to your fears; instead use them to motivate yourself to do more. Don’t worry about if you can’t remember what you had for breakfast. It doesn’t matter in the long term.
Copyright 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.