By Darryl S. Doane; Rose D. Sloat; and David S. Doane, Ph.D.
A critical component of my focus may be the right choice. We once heard a story of a farmer who had an old mule. One day, the farmer is out working and hears a distressful wailing that sounds as if something terrible has happened.
Upon investigation, he discovers his mule has fallen into a large abandoned old well on his property. The mule had plummeted to the bottom and somehow landed on its feet right side up, and for the most part was unhurt but very frightened. The farmer ponders the predicament the mule is in and cannot come up with a solution to getting the mule back out. He calls in a few friends and seeks their advice. They all agree the situation is hopeless, and with much sadness, the farmer arrives at the decision to fill the well with dirt, burying the mule and filling in the well at the same time. With the assistance of his friends, the farmer begins the unhappy chore.
Now as the dirt begins to land upon the mule, something very interesting occurs. That mule also has made a decision, and its decision is to survive. As the dirt lands upon the mule, it shakes and steps, shakes and steps. More and more dirt flies into the old well and the determined mule keeps right on shaking and stepping. Well, after a considerable period of time and incredible effort on the part of that mule, the farmer and his friends are amazed to realize the mule is nearing the top of the well. Through its own efforts and making the choice not to lie down and succumb to the apparent fate decided by others, that mule had decided to stubbornly choose another solution, and that choice made all the difference in the world for that mule.
The choices we make concerning our life, the direction we will take, and the future we wish to create will make all the difference in the world for each of us. It’s not going to be easy, but with the proper effort and determination, we can shake off those obstacles we find ourselves confronted with and step ever closer to our own future. Do you choose danger or do you choose opportunity at every bend in the road life presents to you? The choice is yours to make: happiness over sadness, involvement over non-commitment, joy over despair, and so forth. The choices you make are critical to the path you will venture down and lead you to that future. Make the right choices by weighing your decisions carefully and respond accordingly.
…To be a human being is to have choice. A person is significantly influenced by his environment and by his heredity, but he is not determined. He can choose. He has the freedom, the power, the right, and the responsibility to make choices, and his choices determine the person he is. A person steers his own ship, chooses his course, and is responsible for the course he takes.
A person is the result of all his choices, both the right and the wrong ones. With a right choice, a person develops, matures, actualizes, and grows. A wrong choice is detrimental to growth. A person can make right and wrong choices, and in the course of a lifetime, knowingly and unknowingly, he makes both.
A person can’t not have choice. His only choice is what he does with choice. He may embrace choice and revel in the ability to choose. He may enjoy the excitement and challenge of making choices. He may welcome responsibility for the choices he makes. He may learn from his choices and learn to make right choices. On the other hand, a person may deny choice, which is what a person does every time he says he can’t do something or has to do something. He may blame someone or something in order to not accept responsibility for his choices. But each person has choice, and each person is responsible for the choices he makes.
Every choice contributes to who and what a person is. Sometimes a person doesn’t know whether a particular choice is of minor or major significance until after it is made. Two choices of major importance are choice of spouse and choice of career. When a person is happy with those two choices, he is basically happy, and dealing with life’s many other challenges is much easier.
Right choices, regarding spouse and career, warrant special consideration. The right choice can be difficult. A person may be confused as to what the right choice is. Or, he may know the right choice and avoid it out of some good intention. He may think the right choice will disrupt, cause hurt, or cause an outcome he doesn’t want. He may know the right choice won’t be understood—won’t be popular or financially rewarding. He may know the right choice will take courage, though he may be the only one to know the courage that is required.
A right choice may require reflection, good judgment, courage, and integrity. Even with those, choices are not always the right choices. That happens. Every person makes wrong choices. The real mistake is for a person to choose to stay with a wrong choice. The right choice is to choose again. A person has the right to self‐correct. He has the right to make a choice that furthers his growth.
Choice is the defining quality of being human. It is a power and a responsibility. A person makes choices and is responsible for them. A person literally creates himself by the choices he makes. The pro‐growth choices are the right choices.
Excerpt from “Life’s Journey—Find Your Place to Stand and Build the Right Future” by Darryl S. Doane; Rose D. Sloat; and David S. Doane, Ph.D. (HRD Press, Inc.). The book is available through http://www.hrdpress.com.
Rose D. Sloat and Darryl S. Doane are managing partners of The Learning Service, Ltd. They are co-authors of seven books through HRD Press and AMACOM (The American Management Association) and international performance-based training and development specialists. They focus on critical issues, including: exceptional customer service, sales effectiveness, leadership and managerial skills development, interpersonal relationships, executive coaching, and long-term performance improvement. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thelearningservice.com andhttp://www.thelearningservice.com/blog.