QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL
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Living by Choice or by Chance
For those of you who have heard me speak or read any of my books, you will probably recognize a concept in this week’s quote that runs through much of my work. This is that every aspect of our lives, what we think, what we do, how we feel, how we spend our time, how we treat ourselves and others, etc., is a statement about who we are. For those looking to become more purposeful and influential in their lives, this can be a very powerful concept, and what I like about this week’s quote is that it allows us to examine the question of whether we want this proclamation to be made by choice or by chance.
Of course, in one sense, all is made by choice because our lives reflect our choices. However, when we are unaware that we are making choices, or when those choices are made by force of habit or forces seemingly beyond our control, then in many ways it feels like our lives are about as meaningful as a game of chance… or maybe even less so, because at least with a game of chance, we can lose and walk away knowing that the outcome was not a reflection of our character or skill. In other words, we may feel bad about the loss, but not about ourselves.
Our lives, however, are another matter, which explains why shame and self-doubt are so rampant in today’s world. Our lives often feel as if they are out of our control, and yet, when things go wrong, we blame ourselves and see the outcome as one more indication that we have failed, or worse, that we are failures… that’s the bad news.
The good news is that we can begin to interpret the pain of disappointment in a new way. Not as as a signal that there is something wrong with us, but as a signal that something needs to change. Of course, that can be an obstacle in itself, because many of us are so afraid of change. On one level we know that some (or many) of the choices we make don’t represent the best of who we are, but at least we know what this existence looks and feels like… we have learned to survive and convinced ourselves that “we have no choice.”
If, however, you have determined that just surviving isn’t your highest purpose, and that the choices you are making in life are not the statement you want to make about who you are, then maybe this weeks quote can offer some guidance with respect to how and where to begin to change. For example, what if we began with the small choices we make every day and committed ourselves to making them in a way that is congruent with what we would recommend to someone we loved? How would that affect the amount of rest we gave ourselves, our morning routine, our relationship with food, the way we interact with others, whether our car and work space is clean and inviting, etc.? Can you see how these small choices, made with purpose and as a statement about who we are could begin to create a foundation of purposefulness? And, does it make sense that from this foundation we might be able to look at the larger choices we make with more clarity, confidence, and creativity?
If so, I encourage you to give it a try. Remove the “chance” or unconsciousness from as many of your daily decisions as possible, and see where this leads. Who knows, as we become skilled at making each choice as if it is an announcement of who we are (“I am a person who…”) then the momentum of this more purposeful perspective could lead us to even more powerful proclamations about how we live our lives… proclamations made not by chance, but by clear and purposeful choice, i.e., “I am a person who is living my life in a way that I would recommend to someone I love.”
~ All the best, Dr. Bill