Tag Archive for: choices
Counselling many of the missionaries as they return home, reminded me of this experience from a few years ago. I’ve shared it before, but it is time to share it again….
It was 2002. Setting off in the early hours of the morning, I knew it was going to be a very, very long day.
In fact, not one that I was particularly looking forward too. Following a client visit in Dumbarton, I arrived in Campbeltown around lunchtime. However, the journey down along the A83 that day was absolutely stunning – Scotland at its very best!. I was there on a sales visit with a supplier, who was demonstrating a new CCTV system to a large new potential client. It was only 175 miles from home, but it had taken over 4 hours to get there. After another 4 hours of demonstration, it was time to turn around and head home. By this time, it had gone 6pm. There wasn’t much of a rush hour down there, in fact I decided that I would take a leisurely drive back home. I didn’t have any real haste. The lessons learned over those next few hours were unquestionably a pivotal point in my life.
My Journey home
As I started back up the A83, the sun started to set. My thoughts turned from the demonstration of the afternoon, to much more important questions – such as “What am I doing with my life?”, “I’m not in the least bit interested in CCTV – so why am I driving for hours on end selling this stuff anyway?” “Is this just all about the money?”
As the light started to fade I pulled over to look over the sea towards Northern Ireland to view the onset of the night sky. It was a beautiful clear evening. As I was reflecting on all those questions and more, I witnessed several shooting stars as well as the Northern lights (for the first time), in all their majesty.
I gazed heavenward, it was a quite remarkable, inspiring light show.
I stood for a while fascinated by the beauty of creation. Those few moments had a real impact upon me. I started for home determined to face the future with much more faith and to embark upon a career journey that would enable me to get up every day and really love what I was doing.
That career journey has taken lots of twists and turns over the ensuing 21 years. There have been numerous difficult decisions. Lots and lots of personal procrastination, other seemingly more important priorities, along with mega doubts & fears within myself that I could actually do something that I loved.
The journey also included two redundancies, a challenging selection of opportunities in between, mixed with a real belief that I could eventually take the leap of faith, face the fear of the unknown and start on my own.
A supportive family – who put up with me long enough and encouraged me to turn the dream into a reality. Supportive colleagues over many years, who helped me to understand the capabilities that I had been gifted with and developed over a long period of time. All of whom helped me develop my faith and take that step into the unknown. Thank you one and all.
“Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain
Still take me back where my memories remain
Flickering embers go higher and higher
As they carry me back to the Mull of Kintyre”
These are the words from the third verse of Paul McCartney’s – Wings #1 Hit record – The Mull of Kintyre. I have often reflected upon my journey that day and these words have always inspired me to reach for higher ideals, values and purpose in life.
So, it is with all of us – don’t settle for the mundane – in fact never settle for it!
It is important for each of us to have those meaningful conversations with ourselves and nearest and dearest about happiness and what makes each of us tick! If you are stuck in an unhappy career, perhaps its much more to do with your personal motivators.
Now is not the time to revisit Herzberg’s Motivation theory – around incentives and hygiene factors – but I wish to encourage you to look deep inside yourself and question the reason and purpose of your work – is it meaningful – is it what you really want to do? Looking inward is the critical step, to face up to your fear. Now is the time for faith – not fear!
I love this quote from a wise leader Boyd K. Packer, he stated… “Faith, to be faith, must centre around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness.”
One of my favourite poems is by Christopher Logue.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.
As you consider your challenges at home, at school, or in the workplace – reflect upon those things that really matter most.
Face up to your fears, look inside and take those first few steps into the darkness – you can do it!
That’s a question I’ve asked myself several times recently.
Most mornings for the last 4 weeks, I have added three teaspoons of honey to a mug of hot water.
Following my heavy cold, I’ve had an annoying cough that has lingered way too long!
One morning, in an effort to increase the efficacy of my magic healing concoction, I decided it may be a good idea to add a sugar cube.
One or two I thought?
One morning I tried one.
The next morning, I tried two.
And the result of my experiment?
Sadly, it didn’t help my cough, it only made feel a little guilty about adding more sugar to something that was already sweet.
The next morning, it was back to honey only.
We all make hundreds of decisions every day, some big and some small.
While some of these choices turn out great, chances are that not every decision will be a good one.
We’ve all made choices that we wish we hadn’t.
We all make mistakes, plenty of them in fact.
We never really lose anything when we make mistakes, maybe we do gain experience, hopefully some wisdom and perhaps some compassion for others when they make similar errors.
Bad decisions aren’t all that bad after all, especially if we learn from them.
In fact, you can benefit from all your previous bad choices right now.
And the lesson learned?
Honey is sweet enough!
Every wrong decision has a lesson to teach.
It can be painful to examine your wrong choices.
Do you know what’s even more painful though?
Making the same mistake again.
What have you learned from your unwise choices?
“Can’t we do it just this once President?”
Small choices, big consequences!
The question reminded me of this piece from a long time ago by Richard L. Evans.
“There is in our language a dangerously disarming phrase by which people often persuade other people to compromise principles.
It is the phrase “𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞.”
“Just this once” has a siren-like lure.
It is the forerunner of the phrase “Just once more.”
It is the beckoning voice of a false friend that leads us from safety to a false position, first “Just this once,” and then “Just once more.”
“Just once more won’t matter.”
“Just once more, and then I’ll quit.”
And so, we sometimes move from one false step to another, often deluding ourselves into thinking that this is the last time.
In some social and personal matters, many of us live somewhat this way.
We may know, for example, that we are living our lives at a pace we cannot keep up, but we hate to refuse a friend. Thus, we are led from obligation to obligation, and each time we say “yes,” we tell ourselves that we are saying it “Just this once” and that tomorrow will be better.
But tomorrow is seldom better except as we have the backbone to make it better.
In matters of eating and appetite, people often go from one indulgence to another, always saying to themselves, “Just this once, Tomorrow I begin to diet.” “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.”
“Just this once” becomes especially serious when people persuade other people that a principle is a matter of frequency rather than a clear-cut matter of right or wrong.
It is true that a onetime offender is looked upon with more leniency than a frequent offender. But stealing “Just this once,” lying “Just this once,” deceiving “Just this once,” or any other act of immorality urged upon anyone “Just this once” is a dangerous doctrine.
“Just this once” is a long step, but “Just once more” is an easier step, and so men often forget their own fetters from link to link.
If it isn’t right, let it alone. Don’t do “Just this once” what shouldn’t be done at all.”
Listen out for the phrase in your own life – you may be surprised how often it occurs.
Consider your actions carefully, and the consequences that may occur.
How will you respond next time?