Life is what you make it

My mother, who passed away in 1981, taught me that "Life is what you make it." I've always believed that, but until the other day, I didn't fully get it.

I was attending a management seminar at work this week. The topic was leadership and change. The instructors were consultants, hired by the new owners, charged to shake us and wake us up to the new realities of being acquired.

They were provoking us to think about the results we want to obtain in life. They were pushing us to think about who really determines the outcomes that we get in life, both at work and at home.

If life is truly what YOU make of it, then very few external things really influence your life. A tsunami, for example, such as the one that hit Indonesia last week, can overwhelmingly influence your life. You don't have any say-so in the face of a tidal wave.

Outside of uncontrollable things like that, the major influence on your life is You. Your attitude. Your actions. You control 99% of what happens. Or doesn't happen.

"Assuming it can't be done, limits what can be done" is quite true.

I'm reading a book at the moment called Flying Without Wings by Arnold R. Beisser (published in 1989 by Doubleday). He was a champion tennis player who became a quadraplegic at age 25. Despite the catastrophic misfortune that befell him, Beisser went on to a successful career as a clinical professor of psychiatry, as well as a consultant and noted author.

His story is about choice and personal power. As he struggled with the awful truth that he had lost everything that he had most valued, he finally realized that he still had life. And he still had a future. And that he could still choose.

As someone once said, "If you think you can't, you won't" or something like that.

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