Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Will You Choose?

Everyone has a vision for their life, something they either see themselves doing or somewhere they want to live or visit. They have dreams that they hope will one day come true. Yet, not everyone accomplishes what they spend so much time talking about doing one day because, well, most times they’re too busy talking. Several years ago I had a friend, Brian, who was great at coming up with idea after idea of ways he could make money or businesses he could start. However, he was so busy coming up with ideas that nothing was ever really accomplished. He would always begin, but never had the stamina to see anything to fruition. Sooner or later, the talking must stop and the walking must begin.

As I’ve talked with people about their dreams and why they have or have not gone for them, I have discovered three personality types in the equation.

The first group of people is the Accusers. These people blame everyone for their inability to achieve their goals and dreams, accuse others of sabotaging them or holding them back. They see their family as an obstacle, keeping them from having the time or resources necessary to move forward in their endeavors. Family is a responsibility and most definitely should come first, but they are never a wall between you and your vision of tomorrow. If anything they are the ones cheering you on the most because when you succeed they succeed.

Accusers blame co-workers of being jealous and talking about them behind their backs, giving them a bad reputation that hinders them from ever moving forward. Others have stolen their ideas or sucked up to the boss for an unfair advantage. They never see that most times they are their worst enemy. It is far easier to blame others for our failures than to take ownership of them and rise above them.

Diane had worked her way up within her company until she was a manager of her own department. She was constantly having battles with another manager who let it be known that his opinion of Diane was anything but good. The bitterness wasn’t too much of an issue to Diane while the two were equals, and everyone around saw it for the jealousy that it was. Then the other manager was promoted to Diane’s supervisor and worry set in. When Diane was passed over for two promotions, she immediately started accusing her new supervisor of purposefully trying to get her fired or keeping her from getting ahead. Her accusations became her focal point instead of improving her performance. It wasn’t until Diane stopped looking for someone to blame for her failures and took responsibility that she actually started moving forward in the company.

It's time to choose...
Accusers are generally unhappy people. The attitude of an Accuser is quite often bitter, angry, and negative, and who wants to hang around a bitter person? Of course, people’s avoidance of them leads to more accusations and the cycle continues.

The next group is similar except instead of speaking in angry tones, they have a whiney disposition; these are known as the Excusers. This group has a rationalization for everything that they’ve failed to do. There is never enough time or money or help. They have to work too much or babysit or it’s too noisy at home or… And it never ends. Excuse follows excuse and once again nothing is ever accomplished.

Excusers don’t blame people; they blame circumstances. They also tend to be a mopey lot with a lazy streak that would rival a teenager’s when asked to do the dishes. They have no real motivation, but can’t admit that to themselves or others. Therefore, they rationalize their lack of drive instead of owning up to it. It sounds better to them to say, “I never have enough time,” then to admit, “I just won’t do it. It’s too much effort.

I relate well to this group because for the longest time I was member. It took me so long to get my writing up and going because I grabbed every excuse I could to keep it from happening. I was the world’s worst typist and it took forever before the age of computers to get a manuscript prepared to mail. The boys were growing up and active and by the time we arrived at home again I was too beat to write. I couldn’t afford stamps or envelopes or ink. The list went on, but honestly, they were just excuses. I just wasn’t as hungry for it at that time and couldn’t admit it. I wanted to play at writing instead of buckling down and doing it.

It wasn’t until years later that I stepped up and joined the final group, the group that actually sees their dreams come true. In the ‘90s I became a Chooser. This group decides that it’s nobody’s fault; that there is no real reason for them to not go after their dream but themselves. Choosers choose to do the hard work and go after their dreams and desires. Positive in nature, they press onward, crossing every hurdle that crops up and pushing over every obstacle. They are ambitious and motivated and do not suffer setbacks easily.

It’s not easy by any means, but Choosers know that others aren’t going to do it for them and they don’t expect anyone to. Walking the path of their journey is the exciting part and they push forward with anticipation and determination in each and every step. Excuses are counter-productive to their course and, therefore, they steer clear of them so as not to run aground and have their dreams marooned for all time.

Life is about choices and you either choose to succeed or you choose to fail. I finally had to choose to walk away from the television, to say “No” to going out and participating in some things in order to get words down on paper and write. I had to choose to stop making excuses and get my hands dirty to accomplish my dreams. Setbacks happen; it’s part of life and the journey, but you can either choose to allow it to ruin you or choose to work through it and press forward. Either way, while the circumstances may not be of your doing, the way you react to them is your choice. I suggest you choose wisely.


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