Some years ago, there was a young man who “ tried out for the high school varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5’11 he was deemed too short to play.”* How frustrating to be excluded from playing based on a physical characteristic that a person can’t change.
Also some years back, there was a kid who understood that people are unable to change the weather. During January, it most often snowed and was windy and frigid, as in subzero cold. He soon realized that there was nothing to do about January weather besides keeping the heat turned up and bundling up when he went outside. What was he to do? The weather was responsible for what the weather did, not him.
In the forward to Prisoner Of Our Thoughts by Alex Pattakos, Steven Covey shares this quote he once read:
Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and happiness.**
In the past, I have often thought that responsibility was a thing to be avoided. This is because I wasn’t taking the responsibility to “choose my response,” but instead feeling that I had to respond to the circumstances life presented me in set ways.
The more of life that we say is completely beyond our control, the less power we have to transform.
After dealing with setbacks, the guy who was too short and the kid who was freezing in January both actively chose how they created their lives.
In fact, years later they are still writing about that kid who was rejected by his high school basketball team based on his height. For example, “the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, ‘ By acclamation [he] is the greatest basketball player of all time.’” * In addition, this man is a household name. His name is Michael Jordan.
And what of that kid who was shivering in January and depressed about the snow. After living in South Dakota most of his adult life, that kid finally took responsibility for the weather he chose to experience in January and moved to San Diego, California.
I’m quite pleased with this kid’s choice because that kid is me.
Isn’t it exciting that we have the freedom to choose how we respond to the circumstances of our lives, even the ones that seem unchangeable and beyond our control?
** Prisoner Of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work by Alex Pattakos, Berrett-Koeler Publishers, 2010.
Game of the Day
What do you want to choose today?