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  • markmccuen


Our Lives are the Result of Two Things

— Choice & Failure —

The choices we make in the midst of failure

are what determine the successes of our lives

Every step we take is our decision

Sometimes, we make good selections

and things go well

Unfortunately, those divine moments

are few and far between

If you are like me, something usually goes wrong. It can be a big problem that stops my plan, or just a small snag in my strategy. In any case, it was not the plan.

Whatever change popped up; it always requires a new choice.

When things go wrong, some might resist the change and give up and call it a failure. When we resist change, we cannot change the world.

What do you do with the unintended consequences that life throws at you? How we cope with change is what determines who we are. Simply put, it is the choices we make after a failure that impact our future and determine the path of our life.

There are no accidents. The choices I make are mine, and your choices are yours. Who we are in life, what we will become, and how we will be remembered, are the direct result of the choices we make.

It is our desire to make the right decision that leads us into uncertainty. What if we make the wrong choice? Take the wrong step? What will happen?

So often, indecision leads us to do nothing. However, doing nothing is a decision.

Trying to figure out and plan for every potential failure never works.

It seems the bad things I thought might happen never happened. Instead, it was always those unexpected consequences that jump up in the middle of my best thought-out strategy that knock me off track,.

Over the years, I have learned to turn my focus to dealing with the real problems in my path, instead of the ones that I thought “might” happen.

As I would start a new initiative, my approach was filled with questions. Not questions about the bad things that could happen, but those beautiful “what ifs” that are the substance of every great project.

Armed with more questions than answers, I began my quest to seek advice from people who had been down the road that I was planning to take. It was their stories of the real goblins and pitfalls that would teach me what to look for.

Sure, I would create my own demons and obstacles in my head as we would talk. However, my torments were just thoughts, not reality.

Most times my thoughts were scarier than the real ones I was learning about. It took me a long time to figure out that my fears were like smoke. They seemed real and substantial, but in reality, they couldn’t stop me from walking through the smoke, continuing down my chosen path.

Once I had made a deep assessment of all the real things that might happen, I would add them to my “what if’s” to begin to layout a blueprint of my plan. Inevitably, I would have a list of pros and cons.

It helps me to think of the pros and cons like traffic lights for my plan. They aren’t there to stop your progress or change your plan.

The traffic lights in your plan are simply guides for your path. Sometimes the cons are bright red lights that tell you not to go down that road. Other times, the cons are yellow caution lights that tell you to slow down and pay attention. Pros are usually bright green lights that confirm your path and direction.

However, just like real traffic lights, the timing between green lights is important. Going too fast or too slow can sometimes turn a green light yellow or red.

Once the pros and cons are known and added to the overall goal, the direction and purpose of your plan will become crystal clear. With that, all that is left is one more choice. Are you committed to your plan? Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Commitment is the thing that turns a promise into reality.”

The art of commitment is all about perseverance and persistence steeped in accountability. Once you know what your plan is, and you have sought expert advice that gives you a clear understanding of the pros and cons of your plan, all that is left is for you to commit to your plan and make it a reality.

Your commitment to a well-thought-out plan is the most important step and the only thing you need to make it happen. It is your commitment that will embolden you to walk through the perceived bad demons we conjure up in our minds. After all they are just smoke on your path.

It is also your commitment that will carry you through the real problems that pop up. Every problem is small when you know it is just another choice to be made. Like my dad always said. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

No matter what is in front of you, it’s your choice to accept failure or to choose to persevere and walk through your fear to your goals.


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