It’s 5:00 a.m. and your alarm sounds. Do you start your day with plenty of time to read and exercise, to have breakfast and still drive the speed limit to work? . . . CHOICE . . . Or do you hit the snooze button one more time?
It’s 10:00 a.m. and you feel a headache coming on as the paperwork piles up. Do you jump to another project that appears quicker and easier to complete, while snapping at an associate that stops by to ask a question? . . . CHOICE . . . Or do you stick with the project at hand and tell your associate that you will stop by his or her office when you are ready for a break?
It’s lunchtime and you are starved. Do you reward yourself for a stressful morning by breaking your diet with a Big Mac and fries? . . . CHOICE . . . Or do you take your prepared lunch out under a tree and enjoy picturing those last 10 pounds gone forever?
It’s 3:00 p.m. and you look up from your desk to see two employees gossiping at the water cooler again, after one has just passed another project on to you. Do you get angry, mutter through the rest of the day, and take it out on your children that night? . . . CHOICE . . . Or do you get up, close your door and feel good about your efforts for the day?
It’s suppertime and everyone seems to have something to say but you. Do you stare off into space thinking about your day and all that is yet to be done that evening? . . . CHOICE . . . Or do you stop your own thoughts and consciously listen to what others are saying?
You get the point: it’s all a choice. From the moment you open your eyes in the morning until you close them again that night, you will be consciously and subconsciously making choices of what to do, how to do it, what to say, how to say it, when to respond and with what attitude you’ll respond to every situation.
Regardless of who we are or what your life’s circumstances happen to be, we are all making choices big and small all day, every day-choices that determine our present, our future, our happiness, our success, our peace of mind and choices that come together to design who we are and where we’re going. Please keep in mind that it’s always a great day to make wise choices!
– Jim Paluch
How could a man stripped to naked existence, lose his father, mother, brother and wife, lose every possession, have every human dignity destroyed, suffer from hunger, cold and brutality, live every hour expecting extermination . . . and yet, in all of this, find life worth preserving? Along with others who survived the concentration camps of Word War II, Dr. Victor Frankl discovered that man truly can control his behavior and reaction to any given situation.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Frankl explains how even in such terrible and unthinkable physical and psychological conditions as these camps, men and women can maintain a freedom of spirit and independence of mind when they recognize and act upon their final freedom–the freedom to chose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. Everything else can be taken away from someone, but not this most basic and precious human freedom–choice.
He explains that there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom, which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance. Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food, and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it became clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Frankl states that, “Fundamentally, therefore, any man can under such circumstances decide what shall become of him–mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in the concentration camp.”
Dr. Frankl was not only referring to those fortunate individuals that survived but those who may have lost their lives, yet not their final freedom to choose how they would respond to their fate. From the simplest to the most severe situations in life, afford yourself this great advantage. Remember your “Final Freedom” and make the choices that direct the future you desire.